PatientEngagementHIT

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Patient Engagement Key Healthcare Innovation Trend, CHIME Says

Patient engagement technology adoption is essential for organizations building out their IT footprints, according to CHIME.

patient engagement technology

Source: Thinkstock

By Sara Heath

- Healthcare organizations are making improvements in patient portal optimization and inpatient patient engagement tools, but more work needs to be done to personalize the patient experience, according to the CHIME Most Wired Trends Report.

Released this week at the CHIME CIO Forum, the Most Wired Trends Report outlines different patterns the organization identified while compiling its Most Wired Hospitals rankings.

“One of the key objectives of the Most Wired program is to drive change in the industry with the goal of improving patient safety and outcomes,” William Spooner, chair of the Most Wired Board of Governors, Drex DeFord, a member of the Board of Governors, said in a statement. “Each participating organization received a benchmarking report to help them assess their strengths and gaps, but we wanted to go beyond just the participants. The trends report is designed to help any healthcare organization identify opportunities to improve and advance our industry.”

Previous iterations of the Most Wired lists, which were until now published by Hospital & Health Networks, aimed to highlight health IT innovation at individual organizations and how technology has advanced their transformation to more value-based and patient-centered care.

Under CHIME’s administration, the Most Wired list will also look to identify gaps in health data and technology use and adoption, the organization wrote in its report.

READ MORE: Moving Beyond the Portal with Patient Engagement Technologies

“With the ever-growing need to improve healthcare, the research now adds a new emphasis on measuring key areas that can help advance the industry as well as on gathering information about organizations’ technology strategies (which include not just technology adoption but also the refinement of processes and the development of people),” the report authors said.

“With this new focus, this year’s research and future Most Wired research can help identify gaps in healthcare organizations’ technology adoption and strategies and highlight areas in which the industry has opportunities to make progress.”

Chief among those areas includes patient engagement and telehealth technology deployment. Organizations have continued their work to make healthcare engagement easier for patients, the report noted.

“Offering these capabilities is critical to successfully engaging patients, but it is only half of the solution to a challenging puzzle,” the report authors wrote. “The second part of the solution is encouraging patients to engage in their own care. Patients must actually use the offered technologies in order for meaningful outcomes to be achieved, such as reduced healthcare costs and increased patient satisfaction.”

Currently, inpatient engagement technologies are not very built out. Although 81 percent of organizations offer inhouse browsing, email, and entertainment capabilities, the rest of patient engagement technology lags. Fifty-two percent of organizations have adopted patient satisfaction surveying and 47 percent have deployed staff performance surveys.

READ MORE: Docs Say Patient Engagement Technology Drives Education, Experience

Fewer than one-third of organizations have adopted inhouse meal ordering based on dietary restrictions, tools to allow patients participate during the discharge process, environment control (such as temperature or lighting control), or capabilities for viewing of traditional whiteboard information.

Thirty-four percent of organizations give providers tools to help patients adopt technology and 27 percent have real-time patient engagement monitoring.

Patient engagement in the outpatient setting is more developed, the report showed.

Organizations are using technology to drive patient education, help patients become acclimated to hospitals, and improve patient knowledge about certain procedures.

Over 65 percent of organizations use introduction to care services (72 percent), introduction to care environment (70 percent), educational materials during visits (68 percent), secure email messaging with care teams (67 percent), and procedure education videos (65 percent).

READ MORE: Patient Engagement Technology Comes to Forefront in Healthcare

Fewer organizations have deployed tools that help patients after they receive care. Only 45 percent of organizations give patients access to medication videos, which could be essential for patients prescribed an opioid pain killer or who have a history of low medication adherence.

Only 30 percent of organizations use any type of opioid prescription education tactics.

Thirty-nine percent of organizations have tools to improve continuity of care following a treatment, and 35 percent have patient education videos about viewing lab results.

Notably, 38 percent of organizations have implemented virtual care visits. CHIME noted that this adoption is lower than other technologies but is high considering the nascency of virtual care.

Healthcare organizations are also looking to amplify their patient portal footprint by adding more patient-facing functions within the tool.

“Meaningful use has helped drive the development of more robust patient portal capabilities, but getting patients to actually use patient portals has remained a puzzle,” the report authors explained. “In response, provider organizations are offering a myriad of capabilities to make it easier for patients to use portals to do things like renew prescriptions, pay bills, and schedule appointments.”

Seventy-three percent of organizations have secure messaging, 66 percent offer prescription refill requests, 62 percent have appointment scheduling, and 59 percent feature data sharing capabilities to power personal health records (PHRs).

Despite growth in health IT adoption, there are some areas for improvement. For example, price transparency leaves a lot to be desired despite its importance to consumer-centered care. Only 27 percent of organizations offer public price transparency or cost calculators, the report found.

“By sharing price-transparency data more freely, the industry can help empower communities to take healthcare into their own hands and make better, more informed decisions,” the report stated.

Telehealth is also emerging as a tool to expand patient services. Eighty-nine percent of organizations offer some type of telehealth, although most of them are just beginning to adopt the tool.

Most telehealth is targeted at provider communication; direct-to-consumer telehealth is still limited. Nonetheless, telehealth is expanding patient care access.

“By continuing to expand access to telehealth services, and to expand the types of services offered, provider organizations can reap the full benefits of telehealth technologies and enable their patients to do the same,” the report explained.

Other key focus areas within the report include integration and interoperability, security and disaster recovery, and population health management and value-based care. As organizations also continue to develop technology solutions in those organizations, they will build the infrastructure necessary to improve overall patient care, CHIME stated.

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