Enhancing the Patient Experience
Optimal patient experience is no longer just an option. It is an expectation of every global citizen. Modern health facilities are taking active steps to deliver the best possible patient outcomes through innovation and technology, driving global digital health transformation. Health systems worldwide require a strategic path toward sustainable healthcare delivery for global populations that solves issues for both the current and next generation of leaders to guide and inform digital health transformation.
With its suite of Maturity Models and the global reach, HIMSS is positioned to lead the digital health transformation by offering strategic pathways to advance the key dimensions of digital health: infrastructure, analytics, coordination of care, clinical documentation and supply chain infrastructure. Digital health transformation is an ongoing journey that requires putting the consumer at the center of healthcare, whereby digital tools and technologies enable connectivity, inform consumer decisions and mobilize data to create real world evidence of outcomes for citizens across the journey of care.
The Foundation: Infrastructure and Interoperability
In order to build a fully enabled, digital health ecosystem, digital infrastructure and interoperability are key elements that will provide the foundation upon which the rest of the ecosystem is built. At this level, organizations will establish their digital infrastructure and create strategies to achieve interoperability, privacy and cybersecurity. The organization’s infrastructure capabilities will lay the groundwork for their technological investments. Organizations will examine strategies to overcome multiple and disparate data platforms, to advance interoperability and to scale these strategies across their health system.
Some of these foundational strategies and elements are being realized today through the HIMSS Analytics Infrastructure Adoption Model, INFRAM. Organizations are using this model to build a baseline for their digital infrastructure to support and advance innovation and to enhance the patient experience.
For example, a medical research institution in Canada using the INFRAM found that they had some weakness in the Collaboration domain of the model. To achieve the goal defined by that organization’s quality improvement plan, the hospital used the information derived from their use of the model to identify key collaboration investments needed to deliver telehealth and other communication related tools. With these improvements, the institution is equipped to deliver a better patient and clinician experience, without barriers in communication. If a facility doesn’t have the appropriate infrastructure in place, the entire system will not run efficiently or effectively, hindering the patient experience and the care that they receive.
Integrated Teams Across the Journey of Care
Citizens require digital connectivity to the formal healthcare system and integration of this system with the informal health networks of consumers (i.e. Health apps, community programs, and social networks- friends, families, neighbors). These networks are enabled by digital tools and technologies that support health, wellness and quality of life across the care continuum. The advancing healthcare ecosystem is challenging organizations to deliver pervasive coordinated care across multiple care settings, but there is concern over the efficiency and accuracy of this system. Continuity between care settings is increasingly crucial to clinical success and the overall patient experience.
Without the base of digital infrastructure and interoperability, this connectivity of care would be extremely difficult to implement effectively. By connecting patients across the care continuum, healthcare teams will be able to drive toward an enterprise wide view of patient data, giving those patients the opportunity to receive personalized alerts and more personalized care.
Having access to one’s medical record is extremely important, especially when traveling and an emergent situation occurs. Clinicians need to have the proper information in a timely manner to provide the best care. For example, a HIMSS Analytics Certified Organization spoke with a facility that admitted a critically ill patient from another facility that used a different EMR (electronic medical record). When the patient was transferred, the accepting facility received the paperwork from EMS and quickly realized that part of the chart was missing. The facility admitting the patient contacted the previous facility for the rest of the patient's chart. It was then discovered that the printer ran out of paper, and it was assumed that the chart was small since the patient was there only a few days. There was important past medical history in the patient’s records that needed to be viewed by the accepting facility. It was beneficial the admitting facility had the ability to see the patient’s electronic health record on the computer and not rely on the paper chart that was sent with the EMS. The patient had a positive outcome due to the facility’s ability to follow the CCMM and EMRAM (electronic medical record adoption model) guidelines.
Having an integrated data repository to store patient information is a crucial element of the patient care process. Through EMR technology, organizations are able to store patient data for their acute and outpatient facilities and ensure all patient information is stored securely in one location.
The EMRAM and O-EMRAM models help organizations streamline communication and patient data access, so that patients are getting the best possible care. Organizations using these models can show the benefit of their financial investment, due to more accurate medical billing and reimbursement benefits, and can also follow a trusted methodology for improving patient safety and boosting the overall experience.
For example, after one facility obtained Stage 7 EMRAM, they experienced a drastic decrease in medication errors due to introducing specific EMRAM standards into existing practices. The model requires the eMAR (Electronic Medication Administration Record) to directly communicate with the EMR The standardized communication decreased clinical and front desk staff workloads, enabling teams to focus more time on delivering proper patient care that results in best health outcomes.
Digital imaging is another element of the patient care journey that isn’t always stored in the most effective and efficient way. Through the Digital Imaging Adoption Model (DIAM), organizations are able to optimize digital imaging patient data privacy and deliver on improving patient safety outcomes by securely managing workflows.
The model guides organizations that provide imaging services to allow patient access to their images and image-related reports, as well as provide educational materials and give remote assistance services for pre-exam preparation. The model recommends follow-ups with patients for feedback which informs the ongoing patient experience improvement plan.
Through utilizing an EMR while following the requirements of EMRAM, O-EMRAM and DIAM Maturity Models, facilities are able to build up the data repository to be tracked and analyzed in order to make more informed and methodical decisions for patient care delivery.
Mobilizing Data to Strengthen Performance
Despite having ample amounts of data at their fingertips, healthcare organizations need to have the ability to transform that data into actionable information and knowledge that will improve patient care. By using predictive analytics, organizations are able to identify risk and disseminate information out to the care teams to inform decisions to strengthen outcomes for patients.
In addition to utilizing data analytics to improve care, organizations are able to use this inventory analytics to track utilization of supplies, which can result in significant cost savings. Through utilizing analytics in conjunction with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) data, teams are able to track and analyze how supplies are being used to automate inventory management. These technologies will provide teams with a more organized and efficient approach to supply ordering. Using the Clinically Integrated Supply Outcomes Model (CISOM), in addition to their cost savings, they’ll also have a way to track and trace product use to identify best outcomes for patient populations, and eliminate never events and identify conditions under which best outcomes are achieved.
An organization utilizing the Adoption Model for Analytics Maturity (AMAM) was very committed to improving the patient and family experience by combining analytics with targeted efforts to enhance every facet of the healthcare continuum. A recent improvement opportunity came from an analysis of the impact that private vs semi-private rooms has on the patient and family experience. As with many hospitals, their patient care areas were built at different times, with some being older and some being more modern rooms. The analysis showed that across all of the facilities there was a three percentage point difference in patient experience scores just from being in a private room as opposed to a semi-private room. Empowered with this knowledge, executive leadership made the decision to convert semi-private rooms to private rooms by combining this initiative with the construction of a new hospital wing. Since the completion of this project, they have seen patient experience scores increase in line with their projections, confirming that analytics can help find synergies to maximize the benefits to patients.
To advance and accelerate digital health transformation effectively, healthcare facilities must be able to communicate and work together efficiently, which translates into the best patient care and an improvement in the overall patient experience. HIMSS Maturity Models guide the knowledge building and leadership capacity required to carry out these functions and achieve clinical success.
With the help of HIMSS Maturity Models various technological elements of healthcare facilities can merge to create a more sustainable and patient-centric global health system. As capabilities are realized through use of the models, true digital health transformation for health systems moves from aspirational to attainable.