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Reality of Patient Engagement Infographic

I always love a good infographic. Boston Technology has put one out that looks at patient engagement. Which of the numbers on the infographic pops out to you?

Realities of patient engagement

April 23, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Planning a Successful Patient Engagement Strategy

On social media and at events like HIMSS, we hear a lot of discussion about this new trend called patient engagement. While there are certainly new tools to help an organization engage the patient, I don’t think it’s fair to say that patient engagement is a new strategy. Patient engagement has always been considered a good thing in practices and healthcare organizations.

The challenge is that we’ve never rewarded those who actually did engage the patient. Healthcare reimbursement has actually discouraged patient engagement despite providers natural desire to want to engage the patient. Every doctor I know would love to sit down with a patient for an hour and really engage them in their health. Unfortunately, we don’t pay them to do this.

While I don’t think we’ll see an over night transition to hour long visits with our doctors, the move to value based reimbursement will finally start rewarding providers who engage deeply with their patients.

The next question doctors should ask is where to start when it comes to patient engagement in this changing landscape. This whitepaper on 5 Elements of a Successful Patient Engagement Strategy would be a good place to start. It provides a realistic strategy for your organization to consider.

The whitepaper also has this great quote from Leonard Kish:

“If patient engagement were a drug, it would be the blockbuster drug of the century and malpractice not to use it.”

Those practices that choose to not have a patient engagement strategy are going to fall behind. This won’t be an issue right away, but it will catch up to many practices who don’t see the coming change.

April 2, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

#HIMSS14 Highlights: Enthusiasm for Patient Engagement

Patient engagement solutions abounded at HIMSS14, though their levels of sophistication varied. Like many other commentators, I felt this was a big jump in interest over last year. It will be interesting to see if this level sustains into 2015, and how the same products will mature come HIMSS15 in Chicago.

The theme of engagement was heard most loudly in several educational sessions I attended. I was happy to pre-register for an Orion Health / ePatient Dave event; and make time at the last minute to attend a live demo of the new Blue Button Connector, and a brief presentation by Regina Holliday, founder of the Walking Gallery.

I believe ePatient Dave (aka Dave deBronkart) has been at this awhile, but the Orion Health lunch and learn I attended was my first opportunity to hear him tell his story live. And what a compelling story it was! It certainly resonated with the audience of about 75, and I couldn’t help but wonder why he wasn’t up on stage in a “From the Top” session. The theme that ran throughout his presentation and audience questions was the need for online patient communities, and the subsequent need for providers to let their patients know about them. Websites like PatientsLikeMe.com and Sharecare.com were brought up as interesting resources.

epatientdavewp

I headed from there to the exhibit hall, where HIMSS had set up a very nice learning gallery, complete with comfy chairs, swivel desktops and a nice presentation area. Lygeia Ricciardi spent a good 20 minutes going through the new Blue Button Connector website, which you can find here: http://bluebuttonconnector.healthit.gov/. While not a true, live demo, she did offer several screenshots, and was very forthcoming about the ONC’s plans and goals for the site. Apparently they see it as almost a marketing tool, similar to the Energy Star label you see on just about every appliance these days. The Blue Button symbol will hopefully come to be recognized as an endorsement of easy access to patient data. She was frank in saying that it’s not a panacea, but will be a powerful tool in the hands of consumers, and developers who choose to take advantage of its open source code and bake it into their own apps.

bluebuttonwp

It is literally a connector. The new website simply allows patients to connect to third parties that may house their medical records, such as payers, pharmacy, labs, physicians or hospitals, immunization registries and health information exchange portals. Knowing I already have a provider that participates in Blue Button via their athenahealth patient portal, I went through the “Physician or Hospital” steps to see how the Connector worked. I didn’t see my physician listed, so I’ll likely send an email to bluebutton@hhs.gov. The Connector is in beta right now, and Riccardi mentioned they are very interested in gathering as much user feedback as possible during this process, so I encourage you to check it out and drop them a comment or two.

I was back at the Learning Gallery the next afternoon to hear Regina Holliday of the Walking Gallery speak, and she did not disappoint. Like a preacher that just can’t stay in the pulpit, Regina passionately talked about the power patients have when they come together and demand change. It was my first time hearing her speak live and I was not disappointed. It was a powerful sight to see close to 30 Walking Gallery members stand up at the end of her session and show their jackets. Why they were not on a larger stage in front of a capacity audience is beyond me.

walkinggallery

That’s it for my notes from HIMSS. Next up on my conference dance card is the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Conference, taking place April 7-8 in Las Vegas, and hosted by Healthcarescene.com. I hope to see you there!

March 7, 2014 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Value of Meaningful Use – Perspective from EHR Executive at simplifyMD

The following is a guest blog post by Michael Brozino, in response to the question I posed in my “State of the Meaningful Use” call to action.

If MU were gone (ie. no more EHR incentive money or penalties), which parts of MU would you remove from your EHR immediately and which parts would you keep?

Michael Brozino
Michael Brozino
Michael Brozino, CEO of simplifyMD

If Meaningful Use were no longer a requirement, we would keep our software the same. I say this because there is nothing in our system that was built within the requirements of Meaningful Use that weren’t deployed with the intent of improving patient engagement, enhancing public health, promoting health record portability and improving software interoperability. The fact that 100 percent of our users who have chosen to attest for MU have been successful is certainly a benefit, but we don’t see much reason to remove any functionality unless the user’s benefit diminishes significantly and it becomes too expensive to support and implement.

Rather, if MU disappeared, we would hope that the entire healthcare industry or government would implement centralized, universal healthcare data exchanges and/or hubs to ease interoperability and promote uniformity. Features such as personal health records, electronic delivery of labs and receipt of orders, syndromic surveillance data, state immunization records, clinical decision support rules, secure patient messaging, and many others could have been easily implemented if the government fully committed to putting them in place. By only going halfway, standardization is left to a group of players that by their very nature are opinionated and independent.

ePrescribing, for example, has thrived because a central hub exists to allow competitors to quickly join the network. Competition between these organizations is now about who delivers the best user experience, the best customer support, and who adds the most value to their product. If such a central exchange were created for the interoperability requirements in MU, we would have already surpassed the goals of Stages 2 and 3 by 2014.

See other responses to this question here.

February 11, 2014 I Written By

What’s Imaging Got to Do with EMRs?

I’ll continue documenting my New Year’s resolution / Blue Button pledge journey next week so that this week I can share a recent interview I did with Yassin Sallam, National/International Sales Director at BRIT Systems. A Twitter encounter turned into a very interesting post-RSNA conversation about the evolving relationship between medical imaging and EMRs.

In our current world of increasing interoperability and patient engagement, how do medical imaging systems interact with today’s EMRs?
For several years, medical imaging systems have provided the ability to interact and launch from EMR portals. However, in many cases the set-up, maintenance and cost uplift requirements prohibits extension to the patient. At times, even simply extending access to trusted partners within a health system or medical community is cost prohibitive. Plus, IT organizations are concerned about the increased probability of security breaches when widely extending electronic access to patient information.

Today, medical images are readily accessible from EMRs via URL links. Different vendors implement different schemes for security, however, so the integration can still be time consuming and expensive.

The industry has certainly recognized room for improvement, namely via patient portals. In my experience, portals consistently make the list of top-five priorities a healthcare CIO seeks to address. The emphasis is often on scheduling, appointment confirmation, lab results, and radiology reports. Technology available today allows for cost effective, efficient and meaningful image enabling platforms.

What role do (and will) imaging systems play in HIEs?
There are approximately 217 HIE networks in the US, and they range in maturity and list of priorities. Image access is an inevitable value-add for these health networks. Whether a provider is looking to reduce cost, or a patient’s exposure to radiation; transfer a patient from one surgical team to another; provide access to a second opinion; expedite therapeutic decisions to shorten the length of stay; or better manage population demands, the availability of medical imaging is an important factor. Platform infrastructure and industry standards can achieve functional, cost effective interoperable imaging systems.

Creating image access and enabling interoperability with EMRs and other hospital IT systems is the foundation of browser-based solutions. BRIT Systems hopes to add to the momentum of representing images at the forefront of patient records with our interoperable solutions.

I’m intrigued by the article you sent me regarding the Radiolopolis Radiology Network. When I think of social networking in healthcare, radiology isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Why do you think social networking can be a vital part of today’s community of radiology practitioners?
Radiologists work under the pressure of producing quick turnaround, high quality, concise and accurate reports based on what they see in images. The quality of the report may be perceived to rely solely on the words of the radiologist. Consideration should be given to the holistic workflow, which includes: the procedure ordered, at times by the referring physician with no consultation of a radiologist; equipment utilized; skill level of the technologist operating the equipment; quality of the hardware used by the radiologist to view the images; and THEN the words of the radiologist.

Radiologists practice in a wide range of environments. Most do not have the support of specialists or peer consultation accessible in the short timeframe needed to meet service-level agreements. Social media is an outlet, when configured by Radiolopolis, for purposes of a practicing radiologist, that can assist in higher confidence reporting.

Also, we’ve all seen those beautiful ultrasound baby pictures. They give a whole new meaning to baby’s first picture. Who wouldn’t want to share those friends and family?

January 13, 2014 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Patient Engagement Strategies Must Start with the Patient

The following is a guest blog post by Matt Adamson, vice president of product management for ACO and value-based health at ZeOmega

Healthcare providers are preparing to engage patients at a deeper level than ever before as they strive to achieve quality and savings metrics required of accountable care models being implemented across the country. However, a critical, lingering question remains – will patients participate? Patients have grown accustomed to seeking out healthcare information on their own, with the top five healthcare websites logging more than 78 million unique visitors monthly.[i] While this is clearly a positive sign that must be leveraged to move the needle even further, the answer could lie with the addition of the care coordinator that exists in most accountable care and medical homes.

A patient portal is seen as the most likely way that care providers will interact with patients outside of resource intensive office visits or telephone conversations, but any technology adoption must be accompanied by monumental shifts in attitudes among both physicians and patients in order to be successful. Physicians already are strapped for time and few are reimbursed for patient engagement beyond the traditional face-to-face interaction. Likewise, patients may hesitate to “bother” their doctors with questions or access their personal healthcare information online.

Care coordinators could serve as the bridge that connects physicians and patients, bringing them together at a clinical connection point. Relatively new in the healthcare system, care coordinators generally are nurses with care management experience who can help put conditions and diagnoses into the appropriate clinical context while speaking with patients on their level. The patient portal would provide another avenue for patients to communicate with the care coordinator, who would serve as the liaison to the physician when appropriate.

Meaningful Use Drives Push for Patient Engagement

Patient engagement will be a critical consideration in achieving Stage 2 Meaningful Use. Now extended through 2016, Stage 2 includes objectives to improve patient care through better clinical decision support, care coordination and patient engagement. Patient engagement metrics will require that more than 5% of a practice’s patients send secure messages to the provider and more than 5% of the patients access their health information online.[ii]

The Medicare Shared Savings Programs (MSSP) and the Partnership for Patients community-based care transitions program both have measures related directly to demonstrating an enhanced communication experience between patients and physicians that can lead to recognition and additional revenue for practices and hospitals. The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home certification also includes elements related to patient engagement. One of the critical certification factors requires contact with at least 50% of patients to develop and document self-management plans and goals.[iii]

Beyond regulations and certifications, patient engagement is also being shown to help meet the cost savings aspects of accountable care. Patients who are more engaged have fewer hospital stays, adhere more often to prescribed medical treatments, recover faster and are more satisfied with their care.[iv]

Engaged patients are also more successful at managing chronic illness than those who are not. More than 40% of Americans are living with at least one chronic disease, which overall cause seven in 10 deaths each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Getting Patients Involved in Their Own Health

As clinicians work more closely with patients who are trying to manage chronic illness, it is important to note that the time patients spend with physicians, nurses and other care providers represents a very small percentage of the overall time spent managing conditions or treatments. The patient and other caregivers are largely responsible for adhering to care plans and making the necessary lifestyle changes to accommodate chronic conditions. Patients who are educated about their conditions and engaged in the process will more likely succeed in keeping their chronic conditions in check.

So using a patient portal or similar technology would seem a rational, logical way for patients to learn more about their conditions and interact with care providers in a secure, HIPAA-compliant environment. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as that. With all of the rules, metrics and evidence that are mandated for the clinician community, there are no such rules in place that require compliance for patients.

A portal would allow patients to contact their doctor any time, day or night, to ask a question or relate treatment information. But few doctors are trained for or desire that type of high-touch interaction, especially since reimbursement for that type of interaction is rare. The United States also is facing a rather serious primary care shortage in many areas, one that will be exacerbated as up to 30 million uninsured obtain coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So what’s the best use of physician time – diagnosing and treating an increasing number of patients or answering questions by secure email?

Patient portals and other technologies that Meaningful Use is bringing into common usage will not move the needle toward smarter health choices on their own. The technology has to be helpful and interesting for patients, providing them with an easy way to connect with care providers when they need help and to get updates and reminders when needed.

This is why the idea of using care coordinators in the role of engaging patients when not in the physician office or receiving direct care is gaining traction. The goal of care coordinators would be to guide patients and help them to navigate the healthcare system so that they stay on track with their treatments between physician visits. Care coordinators would have a direct link to a patient’s physicians, bringing them in only when needed.

Secure messaging and emails could provide an easy way for patients to submit questions or take action when they are ready to do so. Platforms that can connect and share the nursing care plans between the care coordinator, caregivers and the patient could be highly effective, especially if there are issues resulting from chronic or acute conditions. This seamless connection would allow the care coordinator to pass along educational content and become part of a two-way mechanism for tracking medications in a manner that allows patients to update and print the list.

From there, embedding incentive management and gaming features into the portal would provide a reason for the patient to keep coming back to continue the engagement.

Technology platforms built to enable the connection between the patient and the care coordinator could be the missing pieces of the puzzle that would allow patients to become more involved in their health and allow the promise of patient engagement to become a reality.

December 18, 2013 I Written By

Making Meaningful Use of Hospital Social Engagement Strategies

My latest healthcare field trip took me to the Health 2.0 Atlanta Meetup group, a blossoming community of startup professionals, investors and folks like me who want to stay abreast of innovation happening on the fringes of our industry. Previous events have been dedicated to startup showcasing, but this most recent meetup turned the tables by gathering a panel of marketing executives from three of Atlanta’s most well-known health systems – WellStar, Piedmont and Emory.

I think if this panel had gotten together last year, or even two years ago, all the talk would have been around how to market their EMRs to current and prospective patients. (WellStar and Piedmont are on Epic, while Emory is on Cerner.) EMRs were mentioned once or twice. The big theme that seemed to run throughout the series of moderated questions was … wait for it … patient engagement. More specifically, all three panelists stressed the importance of using social media as a patient acquisition and retention tool. As Sandra Mackey, Executive Director of Marketing at Emory, so succinctly stated, social media is no longer a “need to have,” but rather a “must have.”

Matt Gove, CMO and SVP of External Affairs at Piedmont, noted that he has been able to demonstrate solid ROI from the health system’s social media efforts, connecting the dots between Piedmont messaging in Facebook feeds to booked appointments and revenue-generating procedures. Both Piedmont and WellStar have turned to third parties like Brightwhistle, Tailfin and ReachLocal to help them pinpoint the best places for social messaging. Gove’s efforts have been so successful that he has focused more staff on social media management, and now integrates social media into more campaigns than ever before.

All three panelists seemed to agree that marketing spend going forward won’t be on big media like radio and T.V. ads, but rather on messaging that reaches a patient’s inbox or Facebook feed. Mackey noted that people are growing up on social media now, and they wouldn’t dream of going anywhere but to their social networks for healthcare recommendations. Her comment directly correlated to Gove’s simple wish for physicians to do their jobs well. A positive experience lends itself to stories that can be shared among patients’ social networks, potentially garnering that hospital exponential exposure and brand recognition.

I wonder how hospitals will adapt their social engagement strategies over the next year. What will be top of mind for hospital marketing executives in 2014 and beyond? Give me your take by leaving a comment below.

November 22, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Don’t Count on Your EMR to Master Patient Engagement

So said one tweet in the recent stream from the Health IT Leadership Summit, an event I’ve been heavily involved in organizing for the last 10 months.

rptweet

That particular statement came from the morning keynote by Jeff Arnold, CEO of Sharecare. Arnold, who also founded WebMD, spoke to the power of social networking and analytics as part of a broader patient engagement strategy. It was a sentiment expressed in nearly every session I attended that day, by hospital and vendor executives alike.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised by the importance engagement played in the Summit’s sessions and networking discussions. It’s certainly the topic du jour of industry media and seems to weigh heavily on the minds of healthcare providers. Everyone wants to know, how do we do this? How can we get patients to truly engage, beyond tracking a few numbers on the latest digital health gizmo? How can we get providers to engage as well? Sending and receiving secure emails is great, but effective patient engagement that directly affects outcomes could be so much more than that.

lftweet

If sessions and conversations at the Summit were any indication, the key will be to combine traditional patient data (like that found in an EMR), with data mined from social networks, and then filter that through big data tools for predictive analysis. Much easier written or tweeted about than achieved, I assume, but it’s a positive sign all the same.

watweet

That’s very true, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a CIO who says they DON’T care. After listening to several hospital executives speak at the Summit, I got the impression that they care immensely, but aren’t quite sure where to turn for technology and processes that will enable their organizations to interpret engagement data into actionable knowledge.

Take a look Storified Twitter insight from the Summit via “#HealthITSummit Sessions Spotlight Social’s Role in Patient Engagement,” and then let me know via the comments below which healthcare organizations seem to be heading in the right direction when it comes to social analytics and patient engagement.

November 14, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

8 Elements of Total Patient Engagement

A major trend in healthcare today is the shift to patient engagement. As part of this trend, I did a video interview with Dr. Nick recently where we discussed some of the shifts towards patient engagement in healthcare. If you enjoy healthcare IT, you’ll enjoy the full video discussion.

After doing that I interview I came across this whitepaper called 8 Elements of Total Patient Engagement. It takes a really in depth look at 8 areas of patient engagement:
1. Understand how to synthesize and deliver actionable information to patients
2. Facilitate engagement in all settings across the continuum of care
3. Activate patients at their convenience
4. Integrate seamlessly into IT systems and workflows
5. Deliver results down to the individual patient
6. Measure and provide clinical and financial outcomes
7. Backed by an organization with expert knowledge and experience
8. Support the near-term and long-term objectives of the organization including supporting IHI’s Triple Aim

Check out the full whitepaper where it digs into all 9 areas of patient engagement. Certainly meaningful use stage 2 has legislated the start of patient engagement as one of the measures. However, we’re only at the start of this shift. I with many others believe that increased patient engagement will lead to better care and can even been a financial benefit to doctors. Plus, we’re close to the point where the financial benefits of patient engagement will be legislated as well through quality reimbursement.

Much like we went through a shift in EHR from asking “whether we should do EMR” to “how we should do EMR.” I think we’re also going from wondering “if we should do more patient engagement” to “how we should do more patient engagement.”

September 20, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Hands on Hospital CEO, EMR Everywhere, and Post It Note Patient Engagement – Image Edition

Each week I try to take a look at some interesting tweets in the healthcare IT and EMR space. This week I decided to take it to another level where each tweet includes an image. I think you’ll enjoy the following tweets.


I love a leader who’s hands on. Obviously there’s a balance, but there’s so much value in being a leader who’s in the trenches with your staff.


Yes, I see EMR everywhere as well. I guess that’s part of the job. I’ll be in NY in November in case any readers will be there as well.


We’ve definitely made patient engagement too difficult. I’m working on a project that’s nearly done that could help make patient engagement simple. We’ll see how it goes.

September 15, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.