This novel way of engaging patients enables them to make informed choices about a wide range of health issues. For example, these may range from adherence to medications for hypertension, to controlling diabetes or even stress management in cancer patients.
Four premier healthcare organizations have been the first to implement this novel approach in an experimental fashion for greater patient involvement. All these patient-centered technologies, which had measurable outcomes, were analyzed and published in Health Affairs
, a top peer-reviewed healthcare journal, established in 1981 that specializes in health policy.
The lead author of the paper is Dr. Ming Tai-Seale, Ph.D., MPH. She is a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and Director of Outcomes Analysis at UC San Diego Health, USA.
Tai-Seale says: "Health care organizations are actively developing consumer technologies to help patients better manage their health,"
She adds: "The ultimate goal of these technologies, in academic and community settings, is to improve health outcomes through patient engagement. This paper offers a case study of successful approaches that can be replicated nationally."
Case Studies and their Findings
Case studies and their findings are presented below, taking the following four premier healthcare organizations as examples: 1. UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center:
This is a State-of-the Art 245-bed hospital, started in 2016, which provides advanced healthcare in the areas of Cancer, Cardiology, Surgery, and Gynecology & Obstetrics, among others.
2. Ochsner Health System:
- Health Intervention: Tablets were provided to every room, where patients could control room temperature, lighting, entertainment options and look at their health records - all from their bedside
- Findings: The technology enabled the patients to be more independent and interact more freely with their healthcare providers, which positively impacted their medical care
This is a not-for-profit healthcare provider founded in 1942 by Dr. Alton Ochsner, with the aim of providing the best patient care, research, and education. It has a total capacity of 473 beds and is located in southeast Louisiana, USA.
3. Sutter Health:
- Health Intervention: The patients could access the online patient portal through their tablets, which allowed them to share blood pressure data, clinical data, as well as interact with their doctors
- Findings: Management of hypertension (high blood pressure) was more efficient. Adherence to antihypertensive medication improved 14 percent among patients, and 79 percent achieved better blood pressure control, which led to 29 percent reduction in visits to their doctor's clinic
This is a not-for-profit multispecialty health system that was founded in 1921 and headquartered in Sacramento, California, USA. It has healthcare services and hospitals in over 100 cities and towns across California.
4. Stanford Health Care:
- Health Intervention: The patients were provided access to the health portal through their tablets to self-manage their diabetes. Online reminders were given to patients about blood tests such as glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which measures the average blood sugar over a span of three months
- Findings: The rate of HbA1c test completion improved by 33.9 percent. HbA1c values in patients with uncontrolled diabetes reduced significantly after six months, compared to standard medical care
This ranks as one of the best hospitals in USA. It aims at providing excellence in education, research, and patient care, which is human-centered and discovery-led. It provides general emergency care, as well as tertiary medical care to patients across the US and also globally. Headquartered in Stanford, California, Stanford Health Care has a network of over 60 hospitals across the San Francisco Bay Area.
"What we saw in our Press Ganey surveys is that a significant number of patients mentioned the tablets as contributing to a positive patient experience,"
- Health Intervention: The hospital provided cancer patients access to the health portal, which enabled them to share their experiences about cancer-associated stress with their healthcare team. The patients were also surveyed via the portal interface, prior to clinic visits, for any other symptoms that may have remained unaddressed
- Findings: About 40 percent of patients reported experiencing stress. Based on this information, over 6,000 patients were referred for psychotherapy, nutritional assessment by dietitians, and other health services. This allowed better management of cancer-related stress
said Dr. Christopher Longhurst, MD, Chief Information Officer and Associate Chief Medical Officer at UC San Diego Health. "Additionally, we saw that engagement in medical care, as measured by accessing their medical record, is higher among patients who pick up the tablet for room control purposes." "Our analysis suggests that the odds of using the inpatient patient portal among room control users were 1.65 times greater than the odds for patients who didn't use the tablet for room control. This suggests that the tablet has served as a conduit that nudged more patients to use the patient portal and thus use resources to improve their health,"
added Longhurst. References :
- Technology-enabled Consumer Engagement: Promising Practices at Four Health Care Delivery Organizations - (https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/abs/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.05027)