5 Revealing Statistics Concerning the Need for Better Interoperability in Healthcare

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HealthWare Systems Blog

5 Revealing Statistics Concerning the Need for Better Interoperability in Healthcare

Posted on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In today’s world, interoperability is more important than ever as patients may see multiple providers or receive care from multiple health systems in order to address a single health issue.  In the interest of increasing patient safety and improving the patient experience, health systems must be able to communicate with one another regarding important patient health information.  Information that one provider sends to another could save a life or, at the very least, take the burden of tracking and providing information off the patient.

Even though the technology exists to meet this need, many hospitals are still struggling with interoperability in healthcare as the following revealing statistics demonstrate.

According to research posted by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology concerning non-federal acute care hospitals in the U.S.:

1. Only 46% of hospitals had required patient information from outside providers or sources available electronically at the point of care.

2. Only 18% of hospitals reported that their providers “often” used electronically received patient health information from outside sources when treating their patients; 35% said they “sometimes” did, 20% said “rarely,” 16% said “never,” and 11% did not know.

The top reasons for rarely or never using electronically received patient health information from outside sources were:  the information is not available in the EHR as part of the clinician’s workflow (53%), it’s difficult to integrate healthcare data in the EHR (45%), the information isn’t always available when needed (40%), and the information is not accessible in a useful format (29%).

3. 55% of hospitals named their exchange partners’ EHR systems’ lack of ability to receive data as a barrier to interoperability.

4. Only 38% of hospitals had the ability to use or integrate healthcare data from outside sources into their own EHRs without manual entry.

5. Only 26% of hospitals conducted all 4 core domains (electronically sending, receiving, finding, and integrating/using key clinical information) of interoperability in healthcare.

The number of hospitals that have achieved interoperability in healthcare is simply too low to guarantee patient safety and the continuity of care that patients deserve.  Improving the patient experience will depend on hospitals’ ability to integrate healthcare data and IT systems with the use of solutions that create complete (sending, receiving, finding, AND integrating/using data), rather than partial, interoperability in healthcare.

Statistics reveal the need for better interoperability in healthcare.

Statistics reveal the need for better interoperability in healthcare.


By Stephanie Salmich

Improving Patient Engagement Beyond the Healthcare Facility

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Improving Patient Engagement Beyond the Healthcare Facility

Posted on Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Improving patient engagement leads to better health outcomes.  Better health outcomes are generally seen in engaged patients who participate in their own health and healthcare decisions.

Truly successful patient engagement involves more than getting patients to participate during their visits, however.  It requires patients to take an active role in their health in their every day life, after they’ve left the hospital or doctor’s office.

Invest in patient engagement and you will see better health outcomes for your patients and lower costs for your facility.  Improving patient engagement increases healthcare value as well.

To improve patient engagement beyond your healthcare facility, make the following available to your patients (or encourage their use!):

Health Apps

Using health apps and social media in healthcare will help you toward improving patient engagement.

Using health apps and social media in healthcare will help you toward improving patient engagement.

There are numerous smart phone health apps out there that can help patients with a variety of health goals, from developing healthy habits to monitoring diabetes.  These health apps can improve patient engagement by checking in with patients throughout the day and reminding them to follow their healthcare plan.  To help patients sift through the overwhelming number of choices and avoid flawed or potentially harmful health apps, provide them with recommendations for doctor-approved app options.

Social Media

Among the many benefits of using social media in healthcare is its capacity to improve patient engagement.  Using social media in healthcare is a great way to connect patients to their health no matter where they are outside your facility!  Use sites like Facebook and Twitter to share preventive health tips and promote interactive health campaigns.

Learning Resources

Patients may be overwhelmed by the idea of learning how to use new technology such as health apps, social media, patient portals, digital medicine devices, and telemedicine.  To ensure this does not discourage them from trying any of the above, consider the solution that Ochsner Health System implemented.  This facility created the “O Bar,” a resource desk staffed by a technology expert who answers patients’ questions, demonstrates health apps, and troubleshoots issues with digital devices.  Patients can “test drive” health technology and confirm they know how to use it before they go home.

Remember that improving patient engagement requires the commitment and collaboration of many parties:  administrators, clinicians, staff, vendors, and the patients themselves.  Of course patients must be willing to participate in their healthcare, but you can help motivate them by making these tools available, raising their awareness about the tools available, and teaching them how to use them.

Improving patient engagement beyond the healthcare facility using health apps, social media in healthcare, and learning resources can help you and your patients see better health outcomes and increase healthcare value.


By Stephanie Salmich

Social Media in Healthcare: HOW to Use It & Improve Patient Engagement

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Social Media in Healthcare: HOW to Use It & Improve Patient Engagement

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

These tips on how to use social media in healthcare, including using healthcare hashtags (like #patientengagement ), can help you improve patient engagement.

These tips on how to use social media in healthcare can help you improve patient engagement.

 

Last week we covered the benefits of using social media in healthcare to improve patient engagement and 3 reasons WHY your healthcare facility needs a social media presence. Here are some specific tips on HOW to use social media in healthcare:

 

Improve patient engagement. Social media in healthcare can improve patient engagement because it encourages patients to take a more active role in their healthcare experience. Social media sites are meant to connect people! As you use social media, make it your goal to improve patient engagement and let that goal inform the content you share.

Support your patients. Patients need emotional support when it comes to dealing with physical and mental health issues. You can use social media to provide helpful resources, including recommendations for virtual support groups where patients can find encouragement from the experiences of others going through similar situations (or share their own stories). These online communities can be vital to the emotional well-being of patients with rare conditions who have trouble finding (or attending) a face-to-face group, or for those who simply prefer an online environment.

Educate your patients. Use social media to share healthy living tips, post informational blogs, or promote your organization’s public health campaigns. Social media provides an excellent opportunity to make public health campaigns highly interactive, further helping you to improve patient engagement. You can find some great real-life examples here.

VISUALS. Some social media users don’t take the time to read lengthy articles, so try delivering your message using visuals. Pictures, infographics, memes, and videos grab users’ attention as they scroll online, convey an idea quickly, and are shared easily across different social media sites.

Use healthcare hashtags to connect. The Healthcare Hashtag Project has organized an extensive database of healthcare hashtags currently in use. Access to the list is free and can help you select popular healthcare hashtags relevant to the topics, articles, and images you post.

Make sure your online presence is always mobile-friendly! Many users access social media primarily (or solely) on their smartphones. In fact, 90% of those who use Facebook on a daily basis do so via mobile phones. Patients or potential future patients may access your website by following a link from your Facebook page. So be sure to complete a mobile-friendly test. Websites that don’t pass the test can appear to have unprofessional formatting issues when viewed on a smartphone.

Be aware of ethical standards for online conduct and legal regulations. Patient privacy and HIPAA compliance are always top concerns when any form of communication with patients is considered. It’s important to know the laws, educate your employees, and develop an organizational social media policy. However, don’t let fear or inexperience deter you from using social media. The advantages of using social media in healthcare and its power to improve patient engagement make learning to navigate the rules and regulations well worth it.

 

For additional tips on using social media in healthcare, check out the CDC’s Social Media Toolkit for health communicators. The more you learn about this valuable tool, the better you can leverage it to reach your patients and improve patient engagement.


By Stephanie Salmich

Social Media in Healthcare: WHY Your Facility Needs It

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HealthWare Systems Blog

Social Media in Healthcare: WHY Your Facility Needs It

Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2017

If your organization is not already on board with using social media in healthcare, you can’t afford to wait any longer.  Here are three reasons your healthcare facility needs a social media presence:

 

1. Patients are Online

Your patients are using the Internet and social media to find and share health information. This includes patients of all ages, from Millennials to Baby Boomers.  Social media impacts Millennials’ healthcare decisions, including their choice of provider.  And when it comes to adults above the age of 50, 82% research health and wellness information online.

According to the Pew Research Center, 86% of Americans utilize the Internet, and 79% of those online users and 68% of all adult Americans use Facebook (with 76% of those who do checking in on a daily basis). Improve patient engagement by connecting with your patients using a medium they’re comfortable with and that many use throughout the day.

 

Social media in healthcare can greatly improve patient engagement and help you promote your healthcare facility.

Social media in healthcare can greatly improve patient engagement and help you promote your healthcare facility.

2. Promote Your Facility

Using social media in healthcare can be a cost-free way to promote a brand to a large audience; yet, healthcare marketers use social media to distribute content less than other marketers do, and use costly print media more often than other marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

It’s important to be proactive about your organization’s online image because if you don’t control it, others will. Patients are now posting online reviews of providers and healthcare facilities on Yelp and health-specific review sites like Healthgrades and Vitals.  In a 2017 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, 39% of patients reported visiting a website like these at least once.

Many also share their health experiences with their entire online networks in the form of Facebook posts and tweets.

 

3. Serve the Community

While the Internet provides quick access to health information to more people than ever before, one drawback is that information posted online is not always correct. Your facility can combat all the poor-quality information out there that your patients may be reading by offering them accurate health information they know they can trust.

Social media can be a very effective tool for reaching your patients with important preventive healthcare and healthy living tips, and can assist you in raising their awareness about other relevant health issues or concerns.  HIMSS advocates for the use of social media in healthcare as a way to improve patient engagement, which the organization believes can improve health literacy.

Both the CDC and WHO encourage the use of social media in healthcare as well. As WHO put it (in its Bulletin of the World Health Organization): “one fact sheet or an emergency message about an outbreak can be spread through Twitter faster than any influenza virus.”


Check out this infographic for more statistics on patients’ use of social media for healthcare information, and stay tuned for next week’s blog containing specific tips on HOW to use social media in healthcare.


By Stephanie Salmich