The Next Level of Patient Engagement

In our new world of up-to-the-minute technology and mobile devices, healthcare continues to lag behind.

With the challenges of protecting patient data, sending messages securely, and limited IT budgets, many consumers will tell you healthcare fails to meet their expectations of having access to up-to-date, comprehensive personal health information.

According to a recent Q & A session in USA Today: “The technology infrastructure is light years behind what it should and could be and consumers should demand a better, more consistent experience.”

But change is coming – and for our hospital, it’s already in play. King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven, Mississippi, is implementing a new tool aimed at filling this exact void. It’s a robust, mobile consumer tool that brings together a patient’s medical information and personal health data, and enables King’s Daughters to connect with our patients and our community in new and vital ways.

Proactive Engagement

This ability to proactively engage our patients is very much in line with what King’s Daughters Medical Center is all about. We’re a 99-bed, general medical and surgical hospital in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a small city about 50 miles south of Jackson, the state’s capital. Our mission is to “Provide quality health and wellness in a Christian environment” – a mission extending beyond hospital walls to meet the healthcare needs of individual patients and the community as a whole. The new tool will help us bring that vision to life.

While still in beta, this tool’s implementation is the first step in giving our patients what they’ve long been searching for – a better, more streamlined way to track and manage their family’s health, and coordinate provider communications. What makes it special? It gives King’s Daughters a point of contact – a way to communicate with patients while giving them access to the information they want and expect.

Using the mobile tool, patients will be able to access information from our patient portal together with personal health data tracked through wearable devices. Also, Apple Health Patients will have a single, easy-to-use tool that provides a central hub for all of their health information and that of their dependents, rising above the noise of the myriad of portals and fitness applications out there.

We also have new capabilities for patient engagement, which help us on many levels. We’re able to meet Meaningful Use rules and other regulations governing secure patient access to their records. We can push reminders and educational messages to individual patients to help them with preventive care they may need. In addition, we can engage groups of patients with the same condition or the community as a whole, keeping them informed about health issues that matter to everyone.

SEE ALSO: Data Collection From Mobile Devices

Reaching Out and Touching People

This ability to reach out and touch people in our community also helps us strengthen our hospital brand. We can keep patients and their families informed about our wellness programs and activities, new services we offer, members of our hospital team, important breakthroughs, and much more. It’s all very fast and easy – rather than expensive mailings, it just takes a few clicks.

The new tool builds on the success we already had with our Iatric Systems PtAccess® patient portal. Based on positive feedback we received from patient users and the trusted relationship with our vendor, we’ve been able to move forward with confidence. The result is a whole new way for our patients to access their information and potentially share it with their providers.

The tool promises to have a great impact for all parties. Parents will no longer have to search their inboxes for portal log-ins belonging to their children. Our patients will be able to share health updates and stats with providers and have complete control over how and when to share the data. Providers will be able to close the communications gap with their patients, employing a simple paperless workflow that’s convenient for both provider and patient.

Improving the health of our community is a driving force at King’s Daughters Medical Center. We recently began a community education project locating kiosks across our area for community health information needs. For example, Mississippi has the highest obesity rates in America, with all the negative consequences that come with it. Diabetes also plays a big factor.

Anything we can do to encourage patients to focus on their health, watch what they and their families eat, and exercise regularly, helps our community. With our new tools, we will be able to be a more effective proponent of good health and a better community partner. And that ability to serve our patients and our community is what we’re all about.

Carl Smith, CIO, King’s Daughters Medical Center, Brookhaven, MS.

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