Promoting New Functionality for an Effective Patient Experience

By Linda Shanley, VP & CIO, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Changing Care Experience

I believe the patient portal has changed the patient experience. Imagine getting all your laboratory, radiology, ancillary results and clinical summary on your smart phone. It’s here and has been increasingly adopted as all of the healthcare organizations implement EMR and meet meaningful use requirements. The patients are now part of the process and can review their results and their information rather than waiting until they need to get their records released before having access to this information. In the future more and more we will be seeing the functionality of these portals expand and allow the patient to truly participate in their care. I have heard from several patients that when they are referred to a specialist many times they request records prior to the patient’s arrival. Invariably the patient goes to the specialist and the records have not arrived. We as providers of this technology must promote and continue to expand and offer new functionality.

Real-time Predictive Analysis Supports

Clinicians in Early Detection of Diseases When dealing with real-time predictive analysis the more comprehensive the data set is the higher the probability of the systems to generate early detection of diseases and other key metrics in disease management. Each CIO is dealing with disparate systems and bringing the data elements together in a comprehensive and cohesive way. As everyone knows healthcare is very personal and it is beneficial from a data perspective if patients get their entire healthcare from one health system. This is more often the exception rather than the rule. We now have the challenge of bringing together data from multiple EMRs and multiple source systems. First and foremost, is the challenge of medications and if each of these source systems have the same drug database. Having brought in CCDs from a different ambulatory EMR into our EPIC system even with both systems having the same drug database we still have the challenge of making sure the medications match exactly so routinely these will be listed twice. If the drug database is not the same the same medication will not be recognized as the same medication unless extensive “Cross Maps” are created. Providers when reviewing this information view this more as just data and not helpful rather than useful clinical information. 

Secondly, we have to make sure all the healthcare providers enter the key data in discrete data fields. Due to the time it takes to enter the information into the computer systems, many providers are using other mechanisms such as transcription services, templates for notes and voice recognition software rather than enter the data discretely. Fortunately there are new technologies being developed that will read through these transcriptions or “Blobs” of text and convert them to coded data elements. I believe this technology will become important as we try to digest all this data to provide analytics for improved healthcare.

Future of Wearable Technology

Wearable technology will have a huge impact on healthcare. The technology connected to their smartphone and allowing information to download into their patient portal will allow the providers to have a keen insight on their patients. Several diabetes patients send their glucose results to an app and allow providers to track their activity with their levels. This information allows better management and get a better insight into other factors that may be impacting the patients and their disease state. I believe this will strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and hopefully keep patients well.

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