News Feature | October 11, 2013

Cleveland Clinic's Plan For Patient Engagement

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Patient Portal

Patient engagement is a key element for meeting Meaningful Use, Cleveland Clinic striving to accomplish both

Directing patients to take control of their own health is a daunting task, but the Cleveland Clinic has implemented ways making patients more responsible. According to Healthcare IT News, “A few years ago the (Cleveland Clinic’s) leadership took a comprehensive look at how patients engaged its services, focusing primarily on the impacts the overall patient experience had on care outcomes.”

The results, according to David Levin, MD, chief medical information officer at the Cleveland Clinic, "was a series of initiatives that helped define what we wanted to do (with patient experience), as well as how to measure the impact of the changes."

Levin and Lori Posk, MD, Cleveland Clinic's medical director for its MyChart personal health record, told Healthcare IT News about “five key changes in how patients interact with the organization” which “have led to dramatic improvements in the patients' experience.” Included are:

  • Open Access Scheduling - making it easier for patients to see the doctor was the first step in getting patients into their appointments and face to face with doctors
  • Patient Education - Levin says “being sure that patients understand what's going on with them, as well as what's supposed to happen next” is the key to ensure ongoing engagement
  • Open Medical Records Policy - since October of 2012 the organization has been rolling out increasing access to electronic patient information, beginning first with lab result. From January to September of this year 3.5 million lab results and images had been made available to patients electronically
  • Two-way Messaging via Patient Portal - According to Levin, easy information sharing makes portals the best way to keep lines of communication open with patients, “In a world defined by healthcare reform, we see a big role for this kind of communication in coaching patients and eliminating unnecessary office visits.”
  • Patient Reported Outcomes - patients can enter their own data into records and providers can track patient progress between office visits

These aren’t the only ways the Cleveland Clinic is engaging patients, they also have multiple smartphone apps that patients can download. MobiHealth News writes, “Most of Cleveland Clinic’s apps offer particular services. Cleveland Clinic Cancer Trials, for example, helps cancer patients find clinical trials and stay up to date on existing ones. The Heart Story app serves as an interactive newspaper series that details 26 hours inside the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center. The Cleveland Clinic Innovations app offers information about the technologies under development by the provider and also keeps users up-to-date on the progress of spin-off companies that started out as a part of Cleveland Clinic.”