News Feature | November 15, 2013

Interactive Patient Engagement Benefits Physicians And Patients

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

HTO HIE

Patient engagement is key to reducing readmissions and providing patients the best experience possible

Patient engagement not just a requirement for Meaningful Use (MU), it provides tangible benefits for providers and patients as well. For example, patients who are engaged in their health are more likely to monitor chronic diseases or take medications and less likely to end up back in the hospital. Reducing readmissions is good for providers, since new penalties can total more than a quarter million dollars per occurrence.

At the upcoming Achieving Patient Experience Excellence Summit, JoAnn Trybulski, chief nursing officer, University of Miami Health System, will discuss interactive patient engagement through informative consultations and educational practices. The Summit is put on by International Quality & Productivity Center (IQPC) and aims to drive “real results through extraordinary case studies, strategies, and tactics to develop and implement a successful high impact patient-centered care program.”

In addition to the methods that will be discussed at the Summit, there are other ways providers can interact with their patients, and they are more diverse now than ever because more and more patients have access to the internet. Some of the most valuable tools are smartphone apps, since reminders can be easily sent directly to patients, and they can easily contact providers with questions and concerns. One app helps patients stay on track with prescription medications and hopes to keep patients out of the ER through medication adherence and communication with a pharmacist.

Patient education is also a part of Trybulski presentation, and a survey from Xerox reveals patients are confused by electronic health records (EHRs) and how to use them. Two out of three patients surveyed feel their doctors have not involved them in the transition to digital records. Charles Fred, president of health care provider solutions, Xerox, summed up the situation by saying, “Patients will soon have more access to their personal health information than ever before, but they need to be educated by providers on how this will empower them to take charge of their own care.” If providers expect patients to become involved in their health, they also need to be involved in the transitions and education of how to best use the new technology being made available.

Interacting with patients benefits both parties in such ways that some say the future includes patient generated data as a solution to the problems EHRs present. Convincing patients to enter and update their personal health data would prevent mistakes in the ED and ensure accuracy about birthdates, allergies, and medications that may be missed by a busy ED staff. If the future of patient engagement is to play out the way providers prefer, providers have to take the time now to interact with and educate patients - not just to meet MU, but to truly better the healthcare system.

To learn how you can tackle the key challenges associated with improvement of HCAHPS scores, costly readmissions, workflow efficiencies, and patient satisfaction, register for the Achieving Patient Experience Excellence Summit here.

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