Why Hospitals are Falling in Love with Digital Patient Engagement AppsWhy Hospitals are Falling in Love with Digital Patient Engagement Apps
Thought Leadership

Why Hospitals are Falling in Love with Digital Patient Engagement Apps

February 14, 2022
By
seamless

With Valentine’s Day upon us, we thought it would be a good time to explore why leading hospitals and health systems are falling head over heels for digital patient engagement. Let’s face it: as healthcare consumerism continues to gain momentum, expectations are growing among patients for digital engagement as part of their overall healthcare experience. A recent survey by Accenture reported that 60% of patients want to use technology more for communicating with their healthcare providers and managing their care. With technology at the forefront of the patient experience, healthcare providers are adopting a digital-first approach to managing care.

COVID-19 has accelerated numerous existing and emerging healthcare trends; among them, shifting consumer preferences and behaviour, rapidly evolving digital health technologies, care delivery models, and clinical innovation. Healthcare consumers are digitally savvy and demand the same convenience, transparency, and immediacy of information as experienced in other industries. According to a Deloitte Insights Report since the onset of the pandemic, the percentage of consumers using virtual visits increased from 15% to 19% from 2019 to the beginning of 2020, and then jumped to 28% in April 2020.

Healthcare consumers are taking charge of their health more than ever before including how they are interacting with the health system. They are learning about their health risks, communicating with their doctors in new and different ways. Empowered patients have increased their use of telemedicine, virtual visits, and digital patient engagement apps. Virtual healthcare models are evolving, moving to a range of services enabling pre- and post-surgical digital care journeys, integration of telehealth and hybrid virtual/in-person care models to improve the patient experience, convenience and access, and outcomes. Remote patient monitoring technology has significantly increased patient convenience and access.

What is a digital patient engagement platform?

A digital patient engagement platform is an intuitive digital application leveraged by hospitals, health systems, and patients as a virtual companion across healthcare journeys such as pre-and post-surgical care, oncology and chronic care. As Dr. Haller Smith, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, University of Alabama at Birmingham, explains, “The many unknowns around surgery can cause a lot of anxiety for patients and their families. We can help reduce that anxiety by providing easy access to information through a platform that helps patients prepare for surgery and to know what to expect when they get home. The daily health checks within the app are extremely helpful as they can either reassure a patient that their recovery is on track, or prompt them to contact their surgical team to flag issues that are outside of the norm, hopefully enabling us to catch any potential complications early.”

Patient engagement apps have the power to reduce anxiety, enhance recovery, and improve outcomes by enabling care at home through remote patient monitoring and self-diagnostics. Hospital readmissions are extremely costly. However, health systems can reduce them by offering continuous virtual care for patients undergoing various operative procedures. For example, a US-based 300-bed high volume center and leader in cardiac care reduced their readmissions by 45% in just seven months.

“With the technology, providers can monitor patients/clients on dashboards in real-time, allowing for personalized care recommendations and quicker intervention from the care team if necessary. Additionally, people are given the tools to effectively self-manage from home, thus empowering individuals to more actively participate in their own healthcare,” says Dr. James Chan, Director of Innovation at Sault Area Hospital.

With the advent of healthcare consumerism, the industry is being forced to evolve rapidly to elevate the human experience in healthcare. Multiple studies have connected higher levels of clinical outcomes to a focus on patient experience and engagement. Hospitals and health systems that have deployed an outcomes-based digital patient engagement platform have elevated the patient experience by delivering remote patient monitoring, personalized care journeys, interactive evidence-based educational materials at the patient’s fingertips, and virtual care that inspires loyalty and trust.

Trending Digital Patient Engagement Uses Cases in Healthcare

Reduction in length of stay. Giving patients access to digital care plans on their smartphones, tablets, and computers that guide them post-discharge enables health systems to discharge patients sooner improving financial, operational, and clinical outcomes and minimizing the risk of hospital-acquired conditions. Rush University Medical Center reduced length of stay, SSIs, costs for an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program and saved more than $2300 per patient stemming from their deployment of a digital patient engagement platform that integrates with leading EHR systems. As well, 89.15% of patients said access to the digital engagement platform made them feel more confident about taking care of themselves after surgery and 81.48% of patients said access to the app helped them worry less after surgery.

“Our patients are noticeably more prepared for their procedure and are engaged throughout their entire journey from preparation through recovery. They consistently report feeling more confident before surgery and connected to our team throughout. It’s a wonderful technology that is loved by our patients and our clinical team,” adds Linda Bastian, Physician Assistant, CT surgery at St. Francis Hospital.

Remotely monitor opioid use. With the ability to collect patient-reported data relating to opioid consumption and pain intensity after surgical procedures, health systems can curb the misuse, abuse, and overuse of opioids. Access to a digital patient engagement app enables patients to complete opioid risk-scoring surveys and to track how their opioid consumption compares with patients undergoing a similar operation. Providers can recognize patients who may be at risk for opioid use disorders or misuse.

"Opioid addiction is a complex problem and this technological enhancement will allow us to expand the capabilities to teach patients about safe opioid use for pain control after surgery," said Dionisios Vrochides, MD, Ph.D., Vice-chair of Quality and Outcomes for Atrium Health’s Department of Surgery and the lead researcher for the END Opioid initiative.

Cutting down on the number of phone calls to providers. Increasing patient self-management through just-in-time and accessible education reduces the number of times patients call about low-risk issues after discharge such as taking care of their incision, when to start showering again, etc. Providing education at the right time such as reminders for when to start showering and easy access to an education library enables patients to look up instructions on how to take care of their incision. Increasing patient self-management through automated feedback for low-risk issues such as constipation features like a daily health check helps patients self-monitor and provide immediate feedback on how to manage issues patients would otherwise frequently call about. Patients that use digital patient engagement apps feel less anxious, feel more connected to their care team, and spend less time making unnecessary calls to their doctor.

“Phone call volumes can overwhelm staff and negatively impact operational efficiencies; by providing patients with the tools to effectively self-manage from home, patients are less likely to require multiple follow-up phone calls. The implementation of SeamlessMD has led to a reduction in phone calls, contributing to improved staff satisfaction and clinical operations.” Gregory D. Rushing, MD Division of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospitals

Delivering standardized ERAS patient education. Instead of patients receiving different instructions from different healthcare providers, all patients always receive the same ERAS instructions. With automated reminders prompting patients at the right time to do ERAS protocols, the app keeps patients on-track with ERAS protocols.

“This technology has clearly improved our ability to educate our patients both before and after their procedures,” said Cheryl Crisafi MSN, RN, CNL, Nurse Coordinator, Cardiac Surgery Baystate Health Heart & Vascular Program. “The enthusiasm surrounding this platform has translated into rapid implementation of our ERAS pathways.”

Increasing patient satisfaction. A digital patient engagement app has the power to improve the overall patient experience and satisfaction by engaging with patients at strategic points throughout their care journey. Providers can proactively address potential complications that could lead to possible readmission quickly and efficiently. Digital platforms for patient engagement provide patients with prescribed care assignments and access to education materials including videos to guide their recovery. UC Davis Medical Center  deployed a digital patient engagement platform to facilitate more effective patient-self management, engagement, and increased satisfaction. The introduction of the platform lead to 95% of patients saying they felt more confident before surgery, 39% of patients reporting that access to the app prevented more than one call to the hospital and 6% reported that it prevented more than one visit to the hospital.

“Patients love their technology-enabled experience, and our staff at the pre-anaesthesia clinics and surgeon’s offices have improved day-to-day operations with streamlined perioperative dashboards.” Dr. Rardi Van Heest, Vice President of Medical Affairs at William Osler Health System.

Elevating Hospital Reputation and Market Share. Implementing a digital health engagement platform is a powerful way to leapfrog the competition, while keeping patient-centricity at the heart of your value-based care programs. As more and more patients are using patient experience as a key criterion for selecting a healthcare provider, hospitals and health systems that provide access to digital tools that enable patients to interact with their care team beyond the hospital walls will invariably win.

Improving Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs). Automate PRO data collection, such as pain scores, opioid use, and validated surveys (example PROMIS) across the episode of care. Learning what’s important to the patient allows providers to customize their care and to act in real-time. Collecting PROs is becoming increasingly important for healthcare reimbursement as part of value-based care models. For example, in the United States CMS requires hospitals to collect PROMs data from a minimum percentage of hip and knee replacement patients as part of their mandatory bundled payments.

“Digital patient engagement has been an integral part of our digital transformation for total joint replacement patients – helping us improve the patient experience through interactive patient education, remote patient monitoring and automated PRO data collection. The technology enables outstanding patient care by collecting valuable patient-reported outcomes data for continuous quality improvement.” Dr. Friedrich Boettner, Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery

Reimagining Patient Engagement

If you’re still flirting with the notion of how to leverage a digital patient engagement platform? Here are a few reasons to adopt a digital-first approach to patient care today.

  1. Win the hearts and minds of your patients by giving them access to digital tools that extend beyond the hospital walls to self-manage their care, improve medication adherence, and monitor their health including symptoms and signs they may need care. Provide them with an interactive evidence-based education library including videos to learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
  1. Engage patients and caregivers through personalized, timely and seamless experiences that improve care outcomes, deliver quality of care, and drive efficiency.
  1. Connect with patients virtually pre and post-surgery through digital care journeys. Remotely guide patients through journeys for general, colorectal, cardiac, thoracic, and bariatric surgery, oncology, cancer care, chronic care, and COVID-19 monitoring.
  1. Embrace innovation and digital transformation to improve the quality of care and safety of patients across the entire continuum of care by empowering patients, increasing patient satisfaction, reducing length of stay, decreasing ED visits, and lowering costs.

Hospitals and health systems that have wholeheartedly embraced innovation and invested in digital patient engagement platforms have successfully improved outcomes by delivering standardized digital education and remotely monitoring patients, while utilizing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to inform care plans and outreach.


Want to learn more?

Download the How Digital Patient Engagement Improves an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program white paper for insights on how to deliver standardized ERAS patient education.


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Why Hospitals are Falling in Love with Digital Patient Engagement Apps

Posted by:
seamless
on
February 14, 2022

With Valentine’s Day upon us, we thought it would be a good time to explore why leading hospitals and health systems are falling head over heels for digital patient engagement. Let’s face it: as healthcare consumerism continues to gain momentum, expectations are growing among patients for digital engagement as part of their overall healthcare experience. A recent survey by Accenture reported that 60% of patients want to use technology more for communicating with their healthcare providers and managing their care. With technology at the forefront of the patient experience, healthcare providers are adopting a digital-first approach to managing care.

COVID-19 has accelerated numerous existing and emerging healthcare trends; among them, shifting consumer preferences and behaviour, rapidly evolving digital health technologies, care delivery models, and clinical innovation. Healthcare consumers are digitally savvy and demand the same convenience, transparency, and immediacy of information as experienced in other industries. According to a Deloitte Insights Report since the onset of the pandemic, the percentage of consumers using virtual visits increased from 15% to 19% from 2019 to the beginning of 2020, and then jumped to 28% in April 2020.

Healthcare consumers are taking charge of their health more than ever before including how they are interacting with the health system. They are learning about their health risks, communicating with their doctors in new and different ways. Empowered patients have increased their use of telemedicine, virtual visits, and digital patient engagement apps. Virtual healthcare models are evolving, moving to a range of services enabling pre- and post-surgical digital care journeys, integration of telehealth and hybrid virtual/in-person care models to improve the patient experience, convenience and access, and outcomes. Remote patient monitoring technology has significantly increased patient convenience and access.

What is a digital patient engagement platform?

A digital patient engagement platform is an intuitive digital application leveraged by hospitals, health systems, and patients as a virtual companion across healthcare journeys such as pre-and post-surgical care, oncology and chronic care. As Dr. Haller Smith, Obstetrician-Gynecologist, University of Alabama at Birmingham, explains, “The many unknowns around surgery can cause a lot of anxiety for patients and their families. We can help reduce that anxiety by providing easy access to information through a platform that helps patients prepare for surgery and to know what to expect when they get home. The daily health checks within the app are extremely helpful as they can either reassure a patient that their recovery is on track, or prompt them to contact their surgical team to flag issues that are outside of the norm, hopefully enabling us to catch any potential complications early.”

Patient engagement apps have the power to reduce anxiety, enhance recovery, and improve outcomes by enabling care at home through remote patient monitoring and self-diagnostics. Hospital readmissions are extremely costly. However, health systems can reduce them by offering continuous virtual care for patients undergoing various operative procedures. For example, a US-based 300-bed high volume center and leader in cardiac care reduced their readmissions by 45% in just seven months.

“With the technology, providers can monitor patients/clients on dashboards in real-time, allowing for personalized care recommendations and quicker intervention from the care team if necessary. Additionally, people are given the tools to effectively self-manage from home, thus empowering individuals to more actively participate in their own healthcare,” says Dr. James Chan, Director of Innovation at Sault Area Hospital.

With the advent of healthcare consumerism, the industry is being forced to evolve rapidly to elevate the human experience in healthcare. Multiple studies have connected higher levels of clinical outcomes to a focus on patient experience and engagement. Hospitals and health systems that have deployed an outcomes-based digital patient engagement platform have elevated the patient experience by delivering remote patient monitoring, personalized care journeys, interactive evidence-based educational materials at the patient’s fingertips, and virtual care that inspires loyalty and trust.

Trending Digital Patient Engagement Uses Cases in Healthcare

Reduction in length of stay. Giving patients access to digital care plans on their smartphones, tablets, and computers that guide them post-discharge enables health systems to discharge patients sooner improving financial, operational, and clinical outcomes and minimizing the risk of hospital-acquired conditions. Rush University Medical Center reduced length of stay, SSIs, costs for an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) program and saved more than $2300 per patient stemming from their deployment of a digital patient engagement platform that integrates with leading EHR systems. As well, 89.15% of patients said access to the digital engagement platform made them feel more confident about taking care of themselves after surgery and 81.48% of patients said access to the app helped them worry less after surgery.

“Our patients are noticeably more prepared for their procedure and are engaged throughout their entire journey from preparation through recovery. They consistently report feeling more confident before surgery and connected to our team throughout. It’s a wonderful technology that is loved by our patients and our clinical team,” adds Linda Bastian, Physician Assistant, CT surgery at St. Francis Hospital.

Remotely monitor opioid use. With the ability to collect patient-reported data relating to opioid consumption and pain intensity after surgical procedures, health systems can curb the misuse, abuse, and overuse of opioids. Access to a digital patient engagement app enables patients to complete opioid risk-scoring surveys and to track how their opioid consumption compares with patients undergoing a similar operation. Providers can recognize patients who may be at risk for opioid use disorders or misuse.

"Opioid addiction is a complex problem and this technological enhancement will allow us to expand the capabilities to teach patients about safe opioid use for pain control after surgery," said Dionisios Vrochides, MD, Ph.D., Vice-chair of Quality and Outcomes for Atrium Health’s Department of Surgery and the lead researcher for the END Opioid initiative.

Cutting down on the number of phone calls to providers. Increasing patient self-management through just-in-time and accessible education reduces the number of times patients call about low-risk issues after discharge such as taking care of their incision, when to start showering again, etc. Providing education at the right time such as reminders for when to start showering and easy access to an education library enables patients to look up instructions on how to take care of their incision. Increasing patient self-management through automated feedback for low-risk issues such as constipation features like a daily health check helps patients self-monitor and provide immediate feedback on how to manage issues patients would otherwise frequently call about. Patients that use digital patient engagement apps feel less anxious, feel more connected to their care team, and spend less time making unnecessary calls to their doctor.

“Phone call volumes can overwhelm staff and negatively impact operational efficiencies; by providing patients with the tools to effectively self-manage from home, patients are less likely to require multiple follow-up phone calls. The implementation of SeamlessMD has led to a reduction in phone calls, contributing to improved staff satisfaction and clinical operations.” Gregory D. Rushing, MD Division of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospitals

Delivering standardized ERAS patient education. Instead of patients receiving different instructions from different healthcare providers, all patients always receive the same ERAS instructions. With automated reminders prompting patients at the right time to do ERAS protocols, the app keeps patients on-track with ERAS protocols.

“This technology has clearly improved our ability to educate our patients both before and after their procedures,” said Cheryl Crisafi MSN, RN, CNL, Nurse Coordinator, Cardiac Surgery Baystate Health Heart & Vascular Program. “The enthusiasm surrounding this platform has translated into rapid implementation of our ERAS pathways.”

Increasing patient satisfaction. A digital patient engagement app has the power to improve the overall patient experience and satisfaction by engaging with patients at strategic points throughout their care journey. Providers can proactively address potential complications that could lead to possible readmission quickly and efficiently. Digital platforms for patient engagement provide patients with prescribed care assignments and access to education materials including videos to guide their recovery. UC Davis Medical Center  deployed a digital patient engagement platform to facilitate more effective patient-self management, engagement, and increased satisfaction. The introduction of the platform lead to 95% of patients saying they felt more confident before surgery, 39% of patients reporting that access to the app prevented more than one call to the hospital and 6% reported that it prevented more than one visit to the hospital.

“Patients love their technology-enabled experience, and our staff at the pre-anaesthesia clinics and surgeon’s offices have improved day-to-day operations with streamlined perioperative dashboards.” Dr. Rardi Van Heest, Vice President of Medical Affairs at William Osler Health System.

Elevating Hospital Reputation and Market Share. Implementing a digital health engagement platform is a powerful way to leapfrog the competition, while keeping patient-centricity at the heart of your value-based care programs. As more and more patients are using patient experience as a key criterion for selecting a healthcare provider, hospitals and health systems that provide access to digital tools that enable patients to interact with their care team beyond the hospital walls will invariably win.

Improving Patient-Reported Outcomes (PROs). Automate PRO data collection, such as pain scores, opioid use, and validated surveys (example PROMIS) across the episode of care. Learning what’s important to the patient allows providers to customize their care and to act in real-time. Collecting PROs is becoming increasingly important for healthcare reimbursement as part of value-based care models. For example, in the United States CMS requires hospitals to collect PROMs data from a minimum percentage of hip and knee replacement patients as part of their mandatory bundled payments.

“Digital patient engagement has been an integral part of our digital transformation for total joint replacement patients – helping us improve the patient experience through interactive patient education, remote patient monitoring and automated PRO data collection. The technology enables outstanding patient care by collecting valuable patient-reported outcomes data for continuous quality improvement.” Dr. Friedrich Boettner, Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery

Reimagining Patient Engagement

If you’re still flirting with the notion of how to leverage a digital patient engagement platform? Here are a few reasons to adopt a digital-first approach to patient care today.

  1. Win the hearts and minds of your patients by giving them access to digital tools that extend beyond the hospital walls to self-manage their care, improve medication adherence, and monitor their health including symptoms and signs they may need care. Provide them with an interactive evidence-based education library including videos to learn what to expect before, during, and after surgery.
  1. Engage patients and caregivers through personalized, timely and seamless experiences that improve care outcomes, deliver quality of care, and drive efficiency.
  1. Connect with patients virtually pre and post-surgery through digital care journeys. Remotely guide patients through journeys for general, colorectal, cardiac, thoracic, and bariatric surgery, oncology, cancer care, chronic care, and COVID-19 monitoring.
  1. Embrace innovation and digital transformation to improve the quality of care and safety of patients across the entire continuum of care by empowering patients, increasing patient satisfaction, reducing length of stay, decreasing ED visits, and lowering costs.

Hospitals and health systems that have wholeheartedly embraced innovation and invested in digital patient engagement platforms have successfully improved outcomes by delivering standardized digital education and remotely monitoring patients, while utilizing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) to inform care plans and outreach.


Want to learn more?

Download the How Digital Patient Engagement Improves an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program white paper for insights on how to deliver standardized ERAS patient education.


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