Partnering to Boost the Patient Experience
By Mary Ann Smeltzer, MS, RN-BC, Director of Clinical Informatics
Back in the day, a patient’s care experience often took place inside the comfort of his or her own home. Physicians would visit you at your bedside, provide treatment and thoroughly update — with pen and paper — your medical history record. Then, things changed — physicians formed group practices, which resulted in the emergence of large healthcare systems. Now, the entire healthcare industry has changed its way of delivering care, leading to even newer healthcare delivery models that no longer exist within the purview of traditional physicians and their pen-on-paper diagnoses.
Tech-Savvy Partners Offer Big Benefits
Today, retail pharmacies, employer health fairs, telehealth services and a wide range of for-profit organizations offer individuals new options for healthcare. In addition, these new models utilize the latest developments in technology to further their expertise. Electronic health records (EHRs) — originally used as information repositories and a means for data management — now offer greater functionality, such as patient-physician engagement via online portals and secure messaging systems. By 2015, 64 percent of physicians utilized EHRs and secure messaging to communicate with patients, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). While care teams may have initially viewed these innovative healthcare delivery avenues as disruptive competition to their practices, they are now finding that — in an environment where reimbursement ties to quality and value — partnering with these new entrants to healthcare delivery boosts the overall patient experience.
Higher Expectations Demand New Relationships
In a recent survey, 93 percent of patients rated the ability for care providers to share and receive important information about their medical history — wherever they needed treatment — among the most important factors to receiving personalized care. This means that healthcare organizations need to emphasize partnerships with other community healthcare services and their technology to ensure they are keeping track of patients’ medical history in a singular, reliable repository. Doing so will boost the patient experience and establish a trusting patient-physician relationship. As I wrote in a previous blog post, patient engagement relies on patients turning to trusted physicians for healthcare. Additionally, in an environment of healthcare consumerization — where patients can access healthcare from a wide array of sources — those trusted relationships are paramount.
How is your health system partnering with community healthcare organizations to enhance the patient experience?