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.
In this installment of our thought leader podcast series, I chat with Cheryl Adams, RN, BSN, MBA, Home Health Administrator of Sparta Community Hospital (Sparta, IL) about home care and the significant role it plays in population health. During the podcast, Cheryl discusses Sparta’s successful deployment of a telehealth program along with some creative patient engagement approaches they’ve implemented to help patients follow their care plans and prevent inpatient readmissions. You’ll also hear about how Cheryl has seen healthcare evolve in her 30+ years in the industry, including a discussion on the changing expectations of patients as we shift to consumer-driven healthcare.
My journey to becoming an e-Patient activist for facial differences and antibiotic resistance started in 2004, when a car accident in South Africa left me with severe abdominal and facial injuries.
Through multiple surgeries and consultations with doctors, I became aware of the lack of online resources in health, and began working to address that. I was a marketing and design professional for 18 years, enabling me to audit the web and discover that many healthcare professionals [HCPs] didn’t have websites, which was why it was so difficult to find them.
Do you know that 82% of patients using a patient portal believe they are receiving better care? The explosion of health portals and wearables in recent years has given patients the power to actively engage in their care.
These technologies benefit caregivers as well, providing them with proxy access to see what is happening with the care their family member is receiving. It also streamlines communication with providers, which promotes effective transitions of care. When transitions of care break down, it can result in higher readmissions, medical errors, increased ED visits, and a poor patient and family experience. Engaging patients with these tools reminds them about their appointments and promotes communication between clinicians and their patients.