Perficient Healtchare Solutions Blog


Posts Tagged ‘portals’

Happily Ever After: The Benefits of Patient Engagement – #HIMSS14

Once upon a time last year, in a town not too far from you, there was a big hospital where a bright, young physician was providing care to a sick, old patient.  Okay, let me save you some time.  This fairytale, unlike those you are used to, doesn’t end simply by having Prince Charming (the physician) swoop in and save the beautiful, damsel in distress (patient).  This fairytale has a bit of twist that changes the standard storyline.  This twist is referred to as Patient Engagement.

Changing of the Patient-Provider Fairytale

patientengagementThe concept of patient engagement has changed the way providers tell their patient stories.  It is no longer, once upon a time, a patient was sick, the physician cured him/her, the end.

The fairytale now reads more like this…

  1. Patient came in.
  2. Physician introduces him or her to supporting characters (care team).
  3. The patient and physician discuss the plot (disease state) with alternative endings (treatment options).
  4. They co-write the script (care plan), including ideas for props (patient education, care communities, etc.) that will enhance the story.
  5. The physician quickly publishes (uploads to portal) the manuscript and associated material for review and follow-up (provides email, direct scheduling option, mobile alerts, etc.).
  6. And instead of “the end”, it is more like, “to be continued…”

Patient engagement is not a new concept, just one that has been brought to the forefront as part of the healthcare industry’s increased efforts around coordinated care. Read the rest of this post »

A Love Letter to Meaningful Use – #HIMSS14

It seems appropriate on Valentine’s Day to write love letters.  This is my letter of adoration to Meaningful Use.  In the past, I have written about how much time and productivity is wasted in the average physician’s office handling phone calls about prescription refills.  My physician’s office has successfully implemented their EMR software, and the patient portal is very, very handy for all of the right reasons.  I could wax poetic about the ease of checking on appointments and reviewing lab results.  The source of my real happiness is the ease of asking for refills and having the ability to route the request to the right pharmacy.  It was love at first click.

A Love Letter toInstead of calling the doctor, waiting on hold to talk to the nurse, fretting about getting the medication name and dosage right for the refill, it was magic.  I signed into the patient portal in a secure fashion, clicked on medication refills, and there was a correct list of my medications!  I selected the ones I needed refilled including a suggested number of days like 30 or 90, selected the pharmacy of my choice and Voila!  Several hours later, I received an email confirmation from the pharmacy that they were processing my order.  Now honestly, I didn’t have to see what went on behind the curtain in the doctor’s office to review my request, but I’m sure they like the elimination of potential communication errors on medications, too.

My doctor has shared with me about the financial burden of casting out his first EMR investment and starting over with a better EMR software.  I have to say that from my point of view, he clearly chose the right one and it actually fulfills the basic tenets of Meaningful Use, particularly from the patient’s point of view.  I plan to share my enthusiasm for the patient portal with him including the secure messaging that allowed me tell him that his changes in my medications worked and improved my quality of life.  This secure messaging was another plus for productivity, and patient satisfaction, because those positive responses got lost in the challenges of telephone communication in the past. Read the rest of this post »

Trends to Watch in the Healthcare World in 2014

What’s transforming the ways in which healthcare is provided?

  • legislation
  • new competition
  • innovative incentives
  • a call to refocus on priorities
  • a more empowered and digitally engaged consumer, who has more and greater expectations for quality of care and convenience of care.
  • a renewed attention on healthcare by the consumer market thanks to ongoing press about and the Affordable Care Act
  • new services and business models in healthcare that we’d never seen before recent reform

Susan DeVore, Premier healthcare alliance…and much more.

Susan DeVore, CEO of our partner and client Premier healthcare alliance, wrote a post yesterday fro titled, “The Changing Health Care World: Trends To Watch In 2014.” In the article, she introduces the new trends she expects to see in healthcare this year. We are also seeing each of these trends impact conversations about investments our clients need to make this year and next year.

I have summarized the trends below.

1. Investments in Chronic Care

  • Chronic conditions increase costs by 3X, so, “The biggest health care consumers are those with multiple chronic conditions.”
  • We should see more investments in Ambulatory ICUs and patient-centered medical homes as providers work to improve their shared savings payments and better manage chronic conditions within primary care facilities.

2. New Job Roles in Healthcare

  • DeVore has seen an increase in the popularity of hiring “health coaches” who are there to listen, inspire and motivate and spend time getting to know the patient’s family and life situation as it affects their ability to both access care and to care for themselves.

3. Home Health Care

  • Back to the days of the house call.
  • “Marketing firm BCC Research predicts that the market for remote monitoring and telemedicine applications will double from $11.6 billion in 2011 to about $27.3 billion in 2016.”
  • Technology is increasing access and convenience of healthcare from outside the traditional care setting, especially for rural, hard-to-access locations.

Read the rest of this post »

Digital Experiences Critical to Healthcare Industry Success

The healthcare industry continues to undergo dramatic change due to regulatory reform including Meaningful Use Stage 2, which stipulates requirements and feedback on what a patient portal should be. As a result, we see a challenging dynamic between patients, providers and payers.

An exceptional digital experience is one way to help each stakeholder get through the regulatory transition.


Our principal of portal and social solutions at Perficient, Mike Porter, says “The patient portal may be the most complicated portal one can build due to government regulations, physician requirements and patient needs.” Porter is presenting at IBM Connect 2014 this week. He says about IBM technologies, “Fortunately, the IBM toolset gives us the agility to get around the complications and create great experiences for customers.”

Perficient has developed best practices for implementing exceptional digital experiences for patient and member portals that include the core functions each healthcare organization must implement to succeed

  • compliance
  • integration
  • personalization
  • mobile access
  • physician location information

Read the rest of this post »

Two Keys to Success for Healthcare

Healthcare reform, ACA, Business Intelligence, Enterprise Portals, predictive analytics, pay for performance, the Triple Aim, total cost of care, patient safety….these, and many more,  are the buzzwords in healthcare and medicine these days.  Install this system, connect that system, run these reports, use this “intelligent program”… Do you ever wonder if we can solve all of these problems with just technology?

As a clinically oriented physician working in a technology world, I need to take a step back and look at behaviors and workflow.  How can we mentor the next generation of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, teach them skills and foster their curiosity while encouraging them to be technologically savvy? I believe there are two twisted stethescopecritical keys to success: critical thinking and decision support.  Both are crucial and neither should exist without the other.  Here’s why.

Critical thinking is an essential tool for physicians.  Physicians who have this innate ability are often the most successful at diagnosing and treating their patients well. It is part art and part skill but ultimately, it affects patient safety and wellness.  I was pleased to see that medical school curriculums are now focusing on this as a fundamental skill. According to the recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Biggest Mistake Doctors Make,” the program at Dalhousie University “aims to help trainees step back and examine how biases may affect their thinking. Developed by Pat Croskerry, a physician known for his research on the role of cognitive error in diagnosis, it uses a list of 50 different types of bias that may lead to diagnostic error”.  Couple this with technology driven decision support at the point of care, which assists but never negates clinical judgment, and you have a winning combination.  These basic building blocks allow clinicians to concentrate on their craft: diagnosing and treating patients safely and effectively.

Healthcare reform is necessary but it does not have to undermine the knowledge and experience of our clinicians.  Adding technology, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), real time decision support, predictive analytics, patient entered data via portals, mobile healthcare management apps and yes, even Watson, can only enhance and advance healthcare, streamline treatment and decrease costs.  Simple?  Let me know your thoughts!

Congratulations to Marshfield Clinic on Web Development WebAward!

Congratulations to Perficient client Marshfield Clinic on their 2013 Healthcare Provider Standard of Excellence WebAward in Web Development.  The Web Marketing Association‘s annual WebAward competition has been setting the standard of excellence for website development since 1997. Independent expert judges from around the world review sites in 96 industries. The best are recognized with a WebAward. The WebAward Competition is the premier award recognition program for Web developers and marketers worldwide.

web award

Digitizing High-Touch Healthcare

I am seeing an interesting trend in the form of high touch digital healthcare as of late.  Many may think that “high touch” and “digital” cannot exist in the same concept, but oh they can.  We are actually beginning to see that in some cases patients prefer high touch digital to face-to-face care.

High touch digital is mostly coming in the form of avatars.  However, I’m also Multi_Character_with_Medicalseeing some other unique ways of incorporating human contact into the patient digital experience with great results.

Here are a few recent examples:

  • Patient Education: Earlier this year Dr. Marcie Stochak-Chavez from our team blogged about extending the patient physician experience using avatars.  I loved her example of the use of a digital avatar with human characteristics to help women through preconception health.  In this case human interaction was not replaced.  Rather, the avatar augmented and furthered the patient experience through the use of digital technology.  The avatar asked initial questions and then triaged the more difficult interactions to clinicians.  This allows clinicians to have more time to deal with complex issues.
  • Appointment Registration: I love that more and more healthcare organizations are making online pre-registration an option.  Going even a step further many hospitals and ambulatory care centers are digitizing the in person appointment registration  through avatars to cut down on wait time and add some fun to the patient experience.
  • Read the rest of this post »

5 ways OBI + BPM + Member Portal = Success

What kind of equation is that?  I can understand Member Portal, but OBI? BPM?  Well, OBI stands for operational business intelligence.  OBI is real-time, dynamic use of analytics that enables a service component to decide, based upon the information available, how to proceed in engaging with a stakeholder.  BPM, or business process management, refers to the defining and execution of business workflows.  Bringing the two together in a member (could be a patient) portal is a formula to success.  All health plans today use a member portal to provide basic, on-demand services.  Typically these portals include the ability to review past claims, search for a provider, plan documents describing their benefit program, find industry medial reference databases, enroll for benefits, fill prescriptions, view FAQs about their benefits program and even view and manage funds deposited in high-deductible savings accounts.  But, as stated, access is on-demand.  The members need to be well educated on the benefits consumption process to help themselves.  In many cases, most just stumble through the process.  To make matters worse, most of them don’t interact with our benefits site beyond the annual election process or, most importantly, when we have a need.

The time is right, and the solutions are there, for health plans to enhance the member services by moving from a passive, on-demand model to an active, assertive one.  Doing so will increase member satisfaction, important for retention with the advent of Health Insurance Exchanges (HIXs) and consumerism in the benefits insurance marketplace, decrease the cost to serve, and increase the productivity of the health plan resources engaged in their services operations.  Leveraging OBI and BPM, delivered through a mobile-enabled platform, is the way of the future!

Read the rest of this post »

e-Patients Enhancing Health Through Social Media

Each day millions of pieces of information are shared over social platforms. There are over 400 million Tweets and 2.5 billion items shared on Facebook each day – and these are just two of many social networks. Healthcare has not ignored this shift to social and is working towards integrating these various networking channels with health information to lead to a healthier population. Our new Perficient Perspective, “The Driving Force of Social Media in Healthcare,” gives insight on the increasingly social world of healthcare from practicing physician and Perficient director Dr. Marcie Stoshak-Chavez.

Marcie answers several timely questions on how social media can be a boon to providers, how it has had an effect on communication between physicians and patients, and how doctors can use social networking to their advantage. There are many different aspects of healthcare that can be tied to social media and patient engagement, including telehealth, remote monitoring, and the quantified self. Marcie’s unique role as both a practicing physician and a business consultant allows her to see these variations on traditional care from both sides of the fence.

A video series with Perficient’s Martin Sizemore gives additional thoughts on driving patient engagement through social media and networking. Knowing your audience and tailoring the delivery is key, and knowing which technologies healthcare organizations should be focusing on to communicate with patients will be critical. Meaningful use requirements  are spurring patient engagement by using patient portals, mobile phones, and remote monitoring to engage patients and lower costs. Mobile phones are also making self-tracking quicker, easier, and more interactive, which can be leveraged for preventative health measures. These preventative health measures can be used towards population health management, along with online communities for chronic condition support.

View the Perficient Perspective with Marcie and Martin here.

Building a Patient Portal: How to Improve Engagement

Michael Porter, who leads Perficient’s Portal practice, posted a blog yesterday called “If You Build a Patient Portal Why Won’t They Come?” This article is a response to a post of the same title by by Steve Wilkins and also relates closely to a recent post on our blog by Marcie Stoshak-Chavez. Michael does a great job of giving background on patient portals as well as providing his insights on what can make a portal more successful. Here is part of Michael’s response to the original article:

A lot and I mean A LOT of hospitals, clinics, doctors, etc are spending many cycles getting it all to work.  Much of that work is brute force labor just getting a myriad of systems to talk to each other. In many ways, it’s a classic systems integration play.  However, even after you get a site up and running, you may face problems.  How do you actually engage the users of the patient portal to come and use it?

Steve Wilkins brings up some interesting issue the Mayo Clinic has had in increasing usage.

Upon reflection, Manley admits that “simply making services available doesn’t cut it.”

“Unless you are engaging patients, you won’t meet meaningful use requirements. [Messaging and other mechanisms] need to be a part of your practice.”

Manley is quoted as saying that “patient engagement has been a part of what Mayo has done for a long time.  Meaningful use, especially Stage 2, is a catalyst to kick it up a notch.”

In many ways, this challenge has more to do with classic consumer engagement scenarios faced by those who run commerce sites or who are trying to create a community.  I love the quote, “simply making service available doesn’t cut it.”  I think that quote hits it on the head. Steve does have three suggestions as to why just throwing out some data on a site won’t work: Read the rest of this post »

Delivering Transformative Analytics to Improve Patient Care

In the healthcare technology space, we are all working toward the same general end goals of improving patient care while lowering costs. Healthcare organizations are all looking for ways to more broadly use technology that not only focuses on each encounter, but looks beyond that toward the continuum of care for the individual and the population.

At Perficient, our thought leaders and strategic consultants are responding to these demands by putting together solutions that will arm providers with the clinical and financial analytical data they need in order to:

  • Premier_logoShare information across and between organizations and care providers
  • Derive  key insights from that data
  • Deliver on best practices in care quality based upon insights from that data
  • Meaningfully measure their own performance along the spectrum of quality of care
  • Analyze, benchmark, and understand what that performance means, and where opportunities exist
  • Stay on top of shifts in regulatory policy
  • and much more…

Today, we are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Premier Healthcare Alliance to develop data collection and reporting applications on their PremierConnect platform, which is the largest integrated technology and social business platform in healthcare. Read the rest of this post »

Beauty Is In the Portal of the Beholder…Or Is It?

I was intrigued to review the entries for the New York eHealth Collaborative Portal Contest. Why would a physician be interested in patient portal design anyway? There are numerous reasons. First of all, I am fascinated by smart, eye-catching designs. Secondly, I believe that usability is directly related to design and this could significantly further patient engagement, help satisfy Meaningful Use requirements and create a usable personal health record (PHR) for patients as mentioned in my previous blog. So which design will win?

One of the competitors, CEO Christopher Bradley of Mana Health, believes that image based design plays a key role in creating an intuitive, patient centered experience. They have even begun to incorporate patient entered, device entered data (from Fit Bit, for example). This could be a game changer for many patients who want to track their daily fitness and exercise and have it mesh with their PHR. It doesn’t stop here, though. Could we then use predictive analytics to determine whether our activities are actually helping improve our health AND deliver that information to the portal through a series of easy to use icons? I think we can.

There are some drawbacks, however. As Dr. John Halamka, Healthcare CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, so elegantly stated in the Wall Street Journal, privacy can be of concern. Our Healthcare IT system is still in its infancy and therefore, we have had difficulty parsing out protected health information (PHI) that many patients do not want to share with others, a process called data segmentation. We may be able to graphically capture, collate, trend, predict and make all of the information usable….but at what expense?

So can we create a beautiful, patient friendly, HIPAA compliant portal that really delivers insight and value to patients? I am curious to see who wins this battle in New York. Whoever can combine simplicity, beauty and ease of use with backend integrity will certainly have my vote!