In 2014, Parkview Medical Center realized that it needed to reduce its readmission rate significantly while also fixing a communication gap between home health care agencies and other post-acute facilities. To address these issues, my director and a team of other leaders joined together to pilot a new transition care center that went live in 2016.
All industries are having to adjust to the increasing power of customer voices and on-demand consumer trends. In the world of healthcare, this makes patients the decision makers who hold the most important perspective.
In behavioral health, social determinants is something we look at, but many of us haven’t made it a part of our everyday language. We know social factors have an impact, but because of how broadly defined they are, finding the next steps to take can be difficult.
There is no shortage of social determinants of health (SDOH) that can present roadblocks for patients in Kalispell, Montana. Our vast landscape means that patients may live some 30 miles from their providers. With limited access to public transportation, many patients are left struggling to attend regular primary care appointments. We also live in a zero vacancy area, making it nearly impossible for some of our patients to find affordable housing.
Healthcare IT should always be about the patient. To that end, interoperability is the cornerstone of this patient-first perspective — as an important support mechanism for the timely and effective exchange of information critical for delivering patient care.
As most of us in healthcare know, interoperability is not quite where it needs to be for our patients. While technology can make everyday life much more agile, sometimes it seems like IT is leaving the patient experience behind.
I was rounding with a colleague in the pediatric area of The Valley Hospital, in Ridgewood, New Jersey, when we entered the room of a young boy with his mother sitting by his bed. As we entered, we explained that we were visiting pediatric patients to see if they were interacting with the newly-installed GetWell Inpatient™ solution, GetWellNetwork’s interactive software that uses a bedside TV to get patients and their families more involved in the care process.
Ample evidence indicates that improved patient engagement is better for doctors and patients. With EHRs and government regulations, the rise of patient portals has been dramatic. A recent AMA study says that 92% of hospitals offer the ability to view medical records through an online portal (compared to 43% in 2013). But availability of an online portal doesn’t mean patients are accessing or getting value from it. How can we help patients move from simply looking up lab results, requesting refills, and checking schedules to more active and meaningful engagement? One technically simple, but remarkably powerful answer is to have clinicians share their visit notes with patients. It’s something we call OpenNotes.
As care providers, we do everything we can to ensure that our patients have the best possible outcomes. However, we tend to think we have a lot more control than we actually do.
These days many of us use patient portals, or are at least familiar with what they are. These tools allow patients to schedule appointments, easily access their medical information, pay bills, request prescription refills, and even message their physicians. They are also becoming increasingly important to providers in preparing to meet the latest Meaningful Use requirements.