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Informed Patient

Improving Healthcare Transparency to Build Trust and Engagement

By | Global Healthcare Trends, Healthcare Access, Healthcare Technology, Informed Patient, Patient-Driven Healthcare | No Comments

Throughout the healthcare industry, there is a growing demand for greater transparency. Today’s healthcare consumer is savvy and well-researched, so the days when a doctor, hospital, or pharmacy could dictate medication recommendations and treatment methods and expect a patient to blindly follow advice are mostly over. Patients also have a variety of options, so supplying valuable information can help a brand to stay competitive.

Medical Billing Transparency

Medical billing transparency is in high demand. Customers expect to know what they will have to pay for a doctor’s appointment, medication at a pharmacy, or treatment ahead of time. Since procedures and medications can vary widely in price, even within the same locale and network, detailing pricing points up front can help a practice to attract and retain customers. By working closely with insurance companies, practices can help customers discern complete out-of-pocket costs ahead of time and plan for those costs.

Health Information Accessibility

Since healthcare practices are required to make meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs), these records are more easily shareable now than in the past. Making it possible for patients to view these records online at their convenience can help to drive better healthcare outcomes and can create an atmosphere of trust between healthcare providers and patients. When patients can view their own information and do research about conditions and other health factors, it can also drive engagement.

Online Presence and Familiarity

Having a company website or app can help a patient to feel familiar with a practice office, hospital, or pharmacy before visiting. Showing pictures of the building, waiting office, and possibly medical equipment or rooms can help a patient to feel comfortable when arriving at the location. Supplying a bit of information about doctors and staff can help patients to feel greater trust and reassurance about the quality of care that they will receive.
Setting Patient Expectations In Advance
No patient enjoys arriving to a scheduled appointment on time and then having to wait for hours to see a doctor. Allowing patients to download, print, and fill out patient forms ahead of time can help to expedite appointments and save on office crowding, enhancing the patient experience and making the best use of staff time. Any further information that can be furnished to help patients know what to anticipate, such as standard wait times and average length of time for certain procedures, will further develop patient expectations and improve satisfaction with services.

 

References:
Why Price Transparency Matters Now / Healthcare financial Management Association http://www.hfma.org/content.aspx?id=28785
Meaningful Information for Better Healthcare / The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement http://www.nrhi.org/work/multi-region-innovation-pilots/center-healthcare-transparency/

What Changing U.S. Demographics Mean for Clinical Trials

By | Clinical Trials, Diversity & Inclusion, Healthcare Access, Informed Patient, Patients | No Comments

The Food and Drug Administration has declared a renewed focus for 2016 exploring diversity in clinical trials. [1] Data gathered from FDA shows that there is still a significant lack of patient diversity in clinical trials.  “While African-Americans/Blacks represent 12% of the total U.S. population, they comprise just 5% of clinical trial participants. Hispanics account for 16% of the total population but just 1% of trial participants.” [2]

 

As researchers aim to understand how a drug’s effectiveness can vary in different patient groups, it is important to consider how U.S. demographics have begun dramatically shifting. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest projection “It is predicted that by 2043, the U.S. will be a majority non-white nation. [3] White Americans will have gone from comprising 85% of the U.S. population in 2012 to just 43%. Hispanic and African Americans/Blacks will have grown substantially over that period, together making up 45 percent of the population with Hispanics being one of the fastest growing groups making up 31%.”[4] Therefore the inclusion of minorities in clinical trials will only become more critical. To demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of a new treatment, healthcare industry leaders should ensure the inclusion of a diverse population in clinical trials. Underrepresentation of minorities can skew vital trial and treatment data.

 

Some causes for lack of diversity and inclusion in clinical trials stem from lack of trust in trials, lack of awareness of what trials are, and barriers to participation of minority population in trials. For example, based on the history of medical research in the Tuskegee study, an infamous clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service studying the natural progression of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of receiving free health care from the United States government, there is a fear of exploitation in medical research.[5] Second, there is often a lack of misunderstanding about the process of clinical trials. Third, there are barriers to participation or feasibility for minority populations to enroll in clinical trial.

 

To attempt solve these complex diversity and inclusion issues, it is critical to go beyond the current one-size fits all approach and raise awareness, build trust, and reach out to under-represented population. Increased diversity in the population pool of clinical trials might just even result in greater confidence in the results and benefits of drugs to the population.

 

The Center for Healthcare Innovation’s Diversity, Inclusion, & Life Sciences Symposium on June 22, 2016 will address these issues in-depth. The Symposium is the leading annual, collaborative event for life sciences and healthcare executives, physicians, HR professionals, clinical trial professionals and patients, entrepreneurs, patient groups, researchers, academics, and diversity and inclusion advocates to discuss diversity and inclusion in healthcare. Please visit chisite.org/education/diversity-symposium/ for more information.

 

 

References

  1. 2016: The Year of Diversity in Clinical Trials | FDA Voice. http://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/index.php/2016/01/2016-the-year-of-diversity-in-clinical-trials/.
  2. Bridging the Diversity Gap in Clinical Trials | Thought leadership and innovation for the Pharmaceutical Industry – EyeforPharma. http://social.eyeforpharma.com/clinical/bridging-diversity-gap-clinical-trials.
  3. Census: White majority in U.S. gone by 2043 – U.S. News. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/13/18934111-census-white-majority-in-us-gone-by-2043.
  4. A Study On The Changing Racial Makeup Of “The Next America.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/13/changing-racial-makeup-_n_5142462.html.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuskegee_syphilis_experiment

 

How Can We Boost Patient Engagement?

By | Healthcare Innovation, Healthcare Quality, Informed Patient, Patient Engagement, Patient-Driven Healthcare, Patients | No Comments

Young smiling doctor consoling patient sitting on wheel chair outdoor

Many industries today focus on strengthening consumer engagement with their products and services. Whether it’s via social media, websites, mobile apps, video media, or televised commercials, companies across the globe know the importance of marketing their products, services, and technological advances in maintaining profit margins and consumer satisfaction levels. The healthcare industry would be wise to follow similar industry strategies in order to strengthen patient engagement.

There are a numerous views on what exactly defines patient engagement. Broadly speaking, patient engagement is defined as the degree to which patients are involved in their own care. A generally accepted, comprehensive definition provided by HIMSS Analytics states “An organization’s strategy to get patients involved in actively and knowledgeably managing their own health and wellness and that of family members and others for whom they have responsibility. This includes reviewing and managing care records, learning about conditions, adopting healthy behaviors, making informed healthcare purchases, and interacting with care providers as a partner.1 Essentially, patient engagement refers to the tools and technologies healthcare organizations use to engage patients before or after acute episodes of care and during the time between in-person visits.

The time between visits is a particular challenge in patient engagement. During provider-patient visits, discussions with care providers and increased involvement with the patient tends to lead to higher levels of engagement. As months pass after visits, active participation is no longer necessary and engagement becomes less of a priority. The result is often forgotten instructions provided during the visit. The effectiveness of continuous engagement with patients after their treatment was tested with a program that delivered text messages three days a week to 700 gastroenterology patients who were trying to lose weight during a six month period from November 2012 to April 2013. The objective was to analyze the effectiveness of prolonged engagement by comparing the success of the treatment between those who received texts and remained engaged with a control group who was left alone. The results showed that patients who received the text messages dropped 0.5 more on the Body Mass Index (BMI) than patients who did not participate.2 This simple example of increased communication depicts the drastic impact that engagement can have on the patient’s long-term, perceived value of the treatment and instructions given.

The ability to remain in contact with patients through text messaging is an example of how changes in technology offer new opportunities to increase patient engagement. Yet, despite numerous new systems used today, raising patient engagement remains a challenge. In part, this is due to the complexity and scope of effective long-term engagement. According to Dan Housman, Director at Deloitte, the biggest challenges of the historically accepted model of provider and patient relationships stem from assumptions which fail to account for the uniqueness of the individuals involved. These assumptions include that a patient must be obedient and that a physician should act with authority.3 This way of thinking undermines patient-centricity and fails to develop a healthy relationship which promotes patient engagement. By addressing the flaws in the traditional model and revising those to better reflect trending patient-focused values, healthcare providers can more effective communicate the value of continued patient engagement, which ultimately results in its increase.

IBM Watson Health is an example of one of the countless companies in healthcare making efforts to change this model and enhance patient engagement initiatives. This September, they launched a population health program, expanding their online cloud capabilities to provide a more accessible, relevant platform for accessing industry-specific trends and innovations. It is staffed with a team of professionals that engage with users, answering any questions very quickly. This results in more informed patients and addresses the issues with the assumptions in the traditional provider-patient relationship model. Furthermore, the program promotes and records user feedback on treatment which can be used to further improve the methods of care and provide tangible results in healthcare outcomes. Michael Rhodin, Senior Vice President of IBM Watson Group, stated in a press release “This newest expansion of the IBM Watson Health Cloud makes it an even more robust and flexible platform for the life sciences and healthcare industries and explains its rapid adoption among leading organizations in these fields.4 The value added to the interaction helps to promote further patient engagement over time.

Patient engagement is an important aspect the healthcare. It leads to better health outcomes for patients by increasing their understanding of the value in instructions from providers and promotes adhering to suggested preventative measures. Healthcare providers must continuously reach out to patients, keeping them motivated and increasing both parties understanding of the other. CHI will be further exploring patient engagement and its challenges in today’s dynamic healthcare industry at its upcoming Healthcare Executive Roundtable on October 15, 2015 in Manhattan. For more information, please visit http://www.chisite.org/education/healthcare-executive-roundtable.

References

  1. Noteboom, Michelle Ronan. “From Patient Engagement to Telehealth, What Does It All Mean?” Healthcare   IT News. 18 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015
  2. Fellows, Jacqueline. “Meeting the Challenge of Patient Engagement.” HealthLeaders Media. 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015
  3. Gruessner,Vera. “What Obstacles Stand in the Way of Patient Engagement? ” MHealth Intelligence. 16 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015
  4. Gruessner, Vera. “Could a Population Health System Improve Patient Engagement?” MHealth Intelligence. 14 Sept. 2015. Web. 2 Oct. 2015.

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