Tag: patient engagement

Health IT Startup: Tonic Health

Sterling Lanier

Tonic was founded by a collaboration of scientists, consumer marketing experts, user interface designers and software programmers to finally solve the crippling challenges of medical data collection, including poor response rates, low patient engagement, high cost and limited ability to personalize care based on a patient’s answers.

So we went out and built a medical data collection platform for clinicians, providers and researchers collecting and using patient information everywhere.

Elevator Pitch

Tonic Health is the world’s best patient data collection platform: fully customizable, super fun and friendly, and accessible anywhere, it solves all the major data collection headaches for hospitals and health systems everywhere.

Product/Service Description

Tonic is the world’s best patient data collection platform: we integrate extreme patient engagement, robust CRM capabilities and real-time predictive analytics to dramatically improve the process of gathering, analyzing and using patient data.

Used by 10 of the Top 15 largest health systems in America, Tonic provides a Disney-like experience to a wide range of data collection needs, including patient intake, patient screening and risk assessments, patient satisfaction, patient-reported outcomes, patient education and much more.

Founder’s Story

Prior to co-founding Tonic, I (Sterling Lanier) founded a company called Chatter (www.chatterinc.com), which is a leading market research firm that works primarily with Fortune 500 brands. During a pro-bono project I was doing for a breast cancer research program at UCSF, I realized the way that most healthcare professionals were collecting and analyzing data was woefully behind the best practices used in the corporate world. Engagement was pitiful, turnaround times were glacial and patient care was suffering.

So I teamed up with my co-founder Boris Glants (who is the technical brains behind our success) and we set out to flip the whole system on its head.

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Primacy: In Hospital Marketing, Clicks Count When Driving Business to Your Site

Primacy (Formerly Acsys Interactive)In a change of pace, and in the spirit of patient engagement, the following graphic from Primacy speaks to the importance, and the need to engage patients online to educate them and bring them to a practice’s door.

According to Primacy, an award-winning agency known for creating digital experiences with impact: “Investing money in your hospital’s website can drive traffic online and to your door.”

Primacy analyzed the traffic and paid search activity of five hospitals during 2012 to see if any patterns emerged. It turns out some did. Take a look at the infographic below to see which clicks matter the most.

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Who Will Become The Cyber Don Quixote for Healthcare Consumers?

Ron Wince

Guest post by Ron Wince, president and CEO, Peppers & Rogers Group.

In the new healthcare ecosystem that is increasingly migrating to cyberspace, who can healthcare consumers rely on? Who in the healthcare service supply chain will prevail? Who will be the next Amazon or Yelp? Chances are it will be the organization that can deliver and mediate a centralized consumer experience – connecting healthcare consumers not only with care and treatment options, but also with pharmacists, labs, therapists, clinics, wellness coaches and other resources along the care chain.

More today than ever before as the care conundrum continues, fewer and fewer crave office visits, hospital stays or trying to reach physicians by phone. When we’re well, we see no reason to visit a physician. When we’re sick we increasingly wait until we’re sicker. And when we’re somewhere in between, we avoid calling because we know we’ll be put on hold. If there were a better way to consume healthcare, most of us would likely take it.

Interestingly, within this conundrum lies an opportunity for the myriad of healthcare players – from payers and providers at one end of the supply chain to wellness tacticians, retailers and mobile tool providers at the other end – to create a sustainable dialogue with healthcare consumers.

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Toward Greater Patient Engagement: The Smartphone Physical

Mike Hoaglin
Mike Hoaglin

Guest post by Mike Hoaglin, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

“Patient engagement” is a phrase that reinvigorates the doctor-patient relationship and prioritizes the patient experience. With many designers scrambling to “engage” patients in their healthcare journeys, it is easy to get lost in the chaos. But what lies at its core is simple: healthcare leaders need to find easy methods that better connect people with the environment and the technology.

One way this is already proving effective is with the smartphone physical. Led by medical students from John Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania, quick diagnostic tests using devices connected to a smartphone are changing the face of the traditional physical and begging the question as to why modern medicine struggles to become more patient-centric.

The smartphone physical uses a series of peripheral devices attached to a smartphone to measure and analyze patient data ranging from weight to blood pressure to even heart activity. Patients are then able to receive an overall health picture and potentially electronic health record (EHR)-ready results from the smartphone physical immediately after the experience. Essentially these robust handheld digital devices are re-engaging patients because they promote more personalized, data-driven decision-making at the point of care.

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Five Things to Know About Electronic Health Records

Money magazine offers five things to know about electronic health records. It’s a very high-level overview, mostly for the consumer market, and is a piece designed to get some skin in the healthcare game. The piece pithy and concise, which is good, as the publication is clearly unable to dig into health IT topics like a site like this, but is it worth the ink?

You decide. Let us know. Tell us if it’s a “me too” moment, which I happen to believe is the case. I think the magazine should stick to covering money and leave health IT alone, but that’s a lone opinion.

And so, without further ado, here are five things to know about electronic health records, if you don’t already:

Chances are, patients will see them, if they have not already and will ask about them.

According to Money, “more than half of physicians have started keeping electronic medical records, the federal government announced this year. About 80 percent of hospitals have gone digital, too, with urban institutions leading the way.”

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Patient Engagement Is More of an Issue In Ambulatory Practice than In Hospitals

After having spent several days in a hospital recently caring for a loved one, I can unequivocally say that there is no comparison for patient engagement – in relation to meaningful use and in regard to health IT such as EHRs – between the hospital setting and the ambulatory practice.

Simply put, there is no comparison between the amount of attention given to the topic of patient engagement in ambulatory practice and in hospital care, at least as far as the patient experience is concerned.

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Health IT: A Patient’s Perspective

As a patient, I sat in the exam room awaiting the results of my labs and tests. From my perspective, there was a great deal on the line – my personal health and possibly my longevity.

I sat alone — waiting for the nurse to come in to begin the initial check-in phase — taking in the sterile room, its beach-themed art and the blank flat-screen monitor near me on the counter.

After several minutes alone, pondering my fate and driving myself further into a place of stress, the nurse finally entered the room.

We exchanged pleasantries. Hellos and how are yous.

With that, she turned from her back to me, keyed in a few strokes and began to enter data into the practice’s EHR.

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Patient Access to Electronic Health Records: Should More Control Be Handed Over?

According to a recent Accenture survey, “Patient Access to Electronic Health Records: What Does the Doctor Order?” published on iHealthBeat, 79 percent of surveyed U.S. doctors say that patients should be able to update all demographic information in their electronic health record.

The report suggests that 16 percent of surveyed U.S. doctors say that patients should be able to update some demographic information in their EHR and 5 percent say that patients should not have the ability to update any demographic data.

“Sixty-seven percent of surveyed U.S. doctors say that patients should be able to update all family history information in their EHR, while 21 percent say that patients should be able update some family history data and 12 percent say that patients should not have the ability to update any family history information,” according to the study.

Twenty-five percent of surveyed U.S. doctors say that patients should be able to update all of their laboratory test results in their EHR, while 28 percent say that patients should be able to update some lab test results and 47 percent say that patients should not have the ability to update any lab test data.

On behalf of Accenture, Harris Interactive conducted the online survey of 500 U.S. physicians between November 2012 and December 2012.

This is an interesting topic that seems to have many foes and fans, and I can see the perspective from each side. On one hand, allowing access to a personal record may allow for breeches of information, HIPAA violations and may create a slippery slope to a movement for patients to have full editorial access to their records. Obviously, doing so creates more many more problems than it solves.

The benefits to such a move – allowing patients to input their demographic data into their personal health record – may lead to greater patient engagement, which seems to be healthcare’s sticky wicket, and it may help practices struggling with being overwhelmed administratively to streamline some of their intake and the management of their information and “pass along the cost,” so to say.

It seems as new solutions come to pass and as we as an industry seek ways to moderate, streamline and create new efficiencies, questions such as the one raised by this survey will be asked more and more. As the questions become more well circulated and discussed, the issues they address will move toward the acceptable and standard practice as they gain ground within the society we have created.

As such, though there may be initial resistance, like all cultures built to change, what was once unacceptable will become standard practice.

Given the issue raised by these questions, I wonder what level of change we’ll see in regard to this in the near term. My hunch is that in an effort to include more people in the process, to streamline and to offload some of the administrative responsibility, we’ll see tactics such as these be incorporated more often, and more “power” given to the patients.

I wonder what your thoughts are on this subject, and what your perspectives are. Do you agree with the survey results? Should patients be allowed to change any of the data in their records or does it make sense to include them in the administrative management of the record?

Results of the 24th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey: Health IT Remains Strong

Along with HIMSS’ largest money maker of the year — its annual conference — it’s also time for the results of its annual leadership survey.

While the results, which are reflected in the infographic below, are certainly interesting there is one point that seems to raise a flag immediately.

Prior to that, however, let’s take a quick look at the results. Accordingly, about 66 percent of the all health IT leaders say their organization qualified for meaningful use Stage 1 and 75 percent of the same folks expect to qualify for Stage 2. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of those who took the survey say they be ready for the ICD-10 switch later this year.

As such, there’s quite a need to hire new IT folks to carry the torch.

Next, it appears that nearly 20 percent of respondents said their health systems’ security was breech (at least those who admitted as much) and that 22 percent of said security was a priority for the coming year, which should be the case if 20 percent of them faced a security issue.

I understand the scope of the survey and who its respondents are, but doesn’t it strike anyone else as slightly odd that all of the changes to come are related to the IT? All, or much, of the reform is designed to engage patients and bring them closer to their care providers? Shouldn’t it be implemented to help improve outcomes and to drive better results and make the system more fluid? I guess IT is going to be what get’s us there.  But along the way, couldn’t more be done at the care level as well as the IT level? Could some of the hiring take place to serve patients rather than the practice?

I digress. Apparently, for now, we’ll have to be thankful that all of this change is leading to improved job growth and fixes to the breeches that await us.

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Regarding Patient Engagement, Don’t Abandon All the Arrows in Your Quiver

Jason Fortin, Impact Advisors

Patient engagement strategies proliferate, experts pontificate and lay people ponder, but as we wait for the dust to settle, there are few tangible suggestions that truly claim to guide physicians and practice leaders in the steps to take for actually engaging their patients.

Though meaningful use requirements mandate physicians provide secure messaging and patient portal capabilities as a requirement for attesting, but what can those at the practice level actually do to get patients more involved in their care and foster the spirit of meaningful use?

According to Jason Fortin, senior advisor at Impact Advisors, a healthcare consultancy, there may be some simple, more traditional paths to patient engagement.

For example, other than focusing on creating social media campaigns to drive traffic to sites and brick and mortar practices, “But, they shouldn’t abandon regular mailings and telephone calls to patients,” he said. “Don’t abandon all the arrows in your quiver.”

Essentially, patient engagement can be a long a drawn-out process that requires a great deal of investment. Short-term returns may not be what practices hope for, but they’ll pay off in the long run.

For the time being, patient portals are designed to fill the patient engagement voice. Unfortunately for some, adding one more system to their roster and another log in to track, there’s more likely the chance that unless it provides some sort of concrete benefit, patients may not be interested in pursuing a relationship with their physicians through it.

Real change in regard to patient engagement is most likely a generational issue that we don’t see manifest for several years. If patients (now or in the future) are going to be engaged, whatever the tool used to reach them will most likely have to fit into people’s daily lifestyles.

Patient engagement tools will need to evolve beyond bill pay and appointment setting systems. Most likely, they’ll have to be along the lines of a Facebook or a Twitter.

Fortin says whatever the tool and no matter its capabilities, it needs to “transcend” and impact the population. For any sort of system or technology to work long term it needs to be “integrated into people every day lifestyle otherwise folks are going to have a difficult time maintaining their interest in using it,” Fortin said.

But the traditional vendors, those that produce the patient portals to compliment their electronic health records are not spending their time focusing on innovation and advancing the technological offers to clients, Fortin said. On the contrary, most vendors are mired, or choose to be mired, in the technological requirements of meaningful use.

In this regard, meaningful use is quite singular in its focus and is restricting innovation of new technology.

Until we’re able to develop or capture new technologies to engage patients (I trust the free market will come up with something), healthcare professionals need to come up real and tangible strategies for action items that they can put in place to create an environment where patients feel safe enough to engage.

In the meantime, maybe your fingers should do the talking and a postage stamp can be employed to save the day.