Putting patients at the heart of digital transformation

How do you use technology to keep patients engaged and educated?

 Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Allscripts Blog: It Takes a Community.

How do you eliminate the paperwork? How do you make sure patients show up to their appointments? Allscripts pic Nicklaus

For Nicklaus Children’s Health System (NCHS), (Miami, Florida, U.S.A.), the missing link to achieving powerful patient engagement results was the patient.

NCHS has one of the nation’s lowest mortality rates and has nationally recognized cardiology and neurology programs. With a reputation for delivering excellent patient care with the help of superior technologies, NCHS has received numerous accolades, including the American Hospital Association’s Most Wired Hospitals and HIMSS Davies Enterprise Award.

NCHS selected Allscripts FollowMyHealth® patient engagement solution, built on the Microsoft Azure cloud, to transform and automate patient-facing processes, driving engagement from 5% to 75%.

“FollowMyHealth is helping us push the envelope by putting vital information in the hands of patients and their families via the consumer technology they use every day—cellphones, mobile apps and text messaging,” NCHS Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President Ed Martinez said. “I underestimated the impact the phone that everyone carries around would have in achieving our goals.”

Accepting change isn’t easy in tradition-bound healthcare

The digital transformation became an integral part of the health system’s strategic plan, involving a top-to-bottom assessment of every facet of the organization. NCHS put a change management strategy in place to educate employees about the benefits of the engagement solutions, helping the project to move forward with minimal resistance.

For its first target, the health system focused on transforming the check-in and discharge processes at busy clinics. For staff, manually managing all that paperwork was time-consuming and inefficient. It was also a source of frustration for family members and patients who had to fill out paper intake forms at each visit.

Easing the stress of a hospital stay

Children’s hospitals face the added challenge of considering the needs of the entire family unit. FollowMyHealth solutions can ease some of that stress by providing timely, relevant information to a patient’s family regarding their loved one’s progress, daily schedule, prescriptions, at-home care, discharge and more.

The solution automatically sends doctors’ notes to families that they can print at home or display on a mobile device. In a post-care survey, 94% of respondents said these types of digital communications were helpful resources.

Using data analytics to help avert complications

NCHS is able to look for predictive trends and occasionally deliver treatments to avert complications using FollowMyHealth’s robust analytics and reporting.

“We’re able to plug in inpatient and outpatient data, put it into a machine learning algorithm, and then spit this data out on a real-time basis to look at what’s happening to the patient,” Martinez said.

As a result, the solution is helping make a real difference in curbing families’ out-of-pocket expenses, state Medicaid expenditures and health system operating costs.

Improving the bottom line with higher satisfaction

NCHS’s initial focus was on delivering excellent service, but it has also improved the bottom line, growing annual profit margins from 2-4% to 10-13%. It saved $4-$8 per patient visit by going paperless and digitizing registration processes.

“There’s a real correlation between patient satisfaction and revenue enhancement. By keeping patients and families engaged and informed, we’re improving care and making an enormous contribution to the bottom line,” Martinez said.

Editor’s note: Learn more about improving the patient experience.

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