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Using EHR to Deliver Superb Medical Website Personalization

Posted on February 24, 2016 I Written By

By: Uladzimir Sinkevich

Content personalization is a powerful tool for building trust on a medical website, making patients feel special, privileged and taken care of. Based on visitor preferences, search intent and behavior during previous visits, it offers a tailored user experience, such as personalized messages, promotions and services.

Generally, medical resources tend to provide users with a certain level of personalization through a private patient portal with access to their EHR/ EMR, appointment scheduling, diagnosis information, examination results and other features.

However, the public realm of the website (including service descriptions, articles and more) can benefit from using EHR-based information, too. The resource can actively guide patients and suggest relevant information backed by selected health data entries.

Both patients and caregivers can benefit from an EHR-based content personalization.

EHR Based Website Personalization

Particularly, patients receive:

  • Personalized promotions
  • Overview of services related to their conditions
  • Targeted messages (health tips, reminders, articles)

In the course of a long-lasting relationship between a patient and a provider, an EHR contains diagnosis with dozens of lab results, images as well as examination and treatment records. Summarizing these entries, the medical website can help build credibility by offering patients accurate information.

On the flip side, caregivers benefit from two advantages:

  • Gaining more loyal patients
  • Improving population health

One of the most important KPIs for health organizations is the level of a population’s health. Achieving a higher level of a population’s well-being is easier when caregivers place a major focus on preventive medicine. While patients have a more personalized user experience on a medical website, they tend to care about their own health and thus prevent diseases.

Now, there is a catch. HIPAA restricts the use of the protected health information for marketing purposes. The privacy rules, however, allow clinical websites to personalize functionality to tell patients about the “services essential for quality health care”, for example:

  • Previews of pages with health plan guides related to patients’ current health plans or conditions
  • Shortcuts to new service descriptions according to patients’ health records
  • Personal reminders and/or discounts relevant to recent patients’ checks and procedures

However, most of the EHR data is useless for website personalization.

Thus, a medical website needs an algorithm that will collect a short health record overview with the elements valuable for personalization only. At ScienceSoft, we call it a “Health Profile Builder” algorithm. Its job is to sort out the massive amounts of personal information in EHR and extract the key data inputs, such as lab results, X-rays, discharge summaries and other. Then, the “Builder” can answer the following patient needs, such as:

  • Information needs
  • Care needs
  • Examination needs
  • Treatment needs

So, let’s see how it works. A patient with a chronic condition, say, diabetes, has a long history of blood/urine glucose tests, pancreatic/liver ultrasounds, MRI results and more.

EHR Based Website Personalization 02

The “Builder” extracts the diagnosis information via the ICD-10 codes. Based on this and other data from the EHR, the algorithm detects possible complications and provides particular personalization options. As risk factors for diabetes include neuropathy, high blood pressure, retinopathy, skin complications and more, the website offers:

  • a discount for the next consultation
  • a free blood pressure check
  • an article about neuropathy and foot hygiene

This information might be a just-in-time act of care for a person with diabetes, as patients with chronic conditions tend to underestimate the actual severity of their disease.

Open Dialogue with Patients

Personalized website content can help a healthcare organization create the effect of visiting a doctor’s office, thus building a trustful relationship with patients. As using EHR-based information is just a small part of the content personalization topic, you can read more details on how to customize the user experience in one of our latest blog posts. We encourage you to follow the link and let us know about your thoughts in the comments.

Posted on December 26, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you haven’t been to for a while, go and check it out. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that was built by a company and not the government. This is true all the way down to the Blog featured on the home page. I applaud Todd Park and the others at HHS who took a different approach to how a government website should look and feel. They even have a scrolling set of stories about patients and benefits. You’d think they have something to sell us.

Well, I guess they do have something to sell. They are definitely trying to sell us on ACA (aka Obamacare) and the benefits that come from Obamacare. Although, the tools that I found most interesting were the Insurance Options Wizard which walks you through all the options you have to getting insurance. Not to mention a whole set of tools to try and help people understand using insurance. Although, I’m pretty sure most of that’s not going to be read. So, hopefully it’s got a good dose of search engine optimization applied so that it will show up in search engines where it might get a chance at being read.

We’ve written about the “Comparing Care Providers” part of before. It’s pretty gutsy for a government organization to go there at all. Certainly they are taking a pretty high level approach to their “comparison” but we’ll see how much they dig into it going forward. Will those doctors that are part of an ACO that’s striving to be reimbursed on the quality of care be listed different than other doctors? It will be interesting if tools like these start to differentiate which patients go to which providers.

I do wish that the website did more to get patients involved in their healthcare. Here’s what I said in my “All I Want for Christmas…” post on EMR & HIPAA:

More Empowered and Trusted Patients – Imagine where the patient was a full participant in their healthcare. That includes being trusted and listened to by their doctor and a patient who thoughtfully considers and listens to their doctor. This is not a one sided issue. This is something that both patients and doctors can improve. There are as many belligerent patients as their are arrogant doctors. We need a good dose of humility, care and trust re infused into healthcare. I think they only way we’ll get there is for the lines of communication to open up on an unprecedented level.

Seems like is one place that could help reach this goal. I guess in some ways the physician comparison engine could work towards this. How cool would it be if they listed which of the physicians used EHR and which EHR that physician used? Reminds me of “Got EMR?” ad campaigns I first wrote about about 6 years ago.

EMR or Not, we’re quickly heading to a world where doctors are differentiated on the technical services they provide their patient. Doctors are starting to be judged by their medical website and the services they provide on that website. Do they accept online appointment requests? Do they accept online payments? Can the patient communicate electronically with the clinic? Can the patients receive their patient records electronically?

It will start with a handful of doctors and then start to spread. Plus, it will be accelerated if or some other website starts to highlight those doctors who offer these type of services and those that don’t.