In the News: Oct 27–Nov 3

Leveraging the Patient Portal to Engage Consumers

According to a PatientEngagementHIT article on health care consumerism, Adventist Health has implemented a search function in their Cerner patient portal that allows consumers to “shop” for providers. Adventist previously rolled out portal functions such as a COVID-19 symptom checker, provider search and online scheduling, and additional functionality to provide a more transparent and empowered financial experience is in development.

Although patient portals have been available for some time and offered by 90% of hospitals, patients were not engaging on the platforms. Furthermore, when patients shop for providers, they look for ratings, cost and whether the provider is in-network, and studies show that patients who research providers on the internet are often met with inconsistent or inaccurate information. Adventist took the opportunity to mitigate these 2 issues by partnering with Kyruus, a third-party vendor, and embedding their app into the patient portal.

As consumers become more health conscious, and health care’s trajectory continues toward virtual care, the patient portal can be leveraged to engage patients as well as increase autonomy, with the goal of promoting individual well-being. Choice is important, therefore hospitals that improve their systems to enhance patient engagement will capture the attention of the consumer. To learn more about health care consumerism, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Engaging the (Post-COVID-19) Health Care Consumer.

AI Helps With Shared Decisions in Elective Procedures

Health systems have increasingly utilized artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to effectively utilize data to inform safe decision making. A recent Healthcare Dive article highlights how Banner Health harnessed big data to gauge the resource intensiveness and complexity of elective procedures to help care teams and patients make decisions with confidence. Banner’s system allowed it to continue operating safely amidst increasing COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates.

The data system synthesizes a variety of factors, such as anticipated length of stay, potential need for an ICU bed or ventilator, and level of skilled care and personal protective equipment required to determine complexity of the potential procedure. The care teams present this information to patients to make informed and shared decisions. The ability to leverage data for actional insights has become crucial for Banner, which at one point managed 50% of all COVID-19 patients in the state of Arizona.

As technologies grow in sophistication, they will have increased accuracy in decision making and improved outcomes. The Internet of Things will provide valuable insights into clinical and business risks, redesigning organizations, care delivery design, and administrative operations. To learn more about how your organization can leverage this tool both inside and outside of the hospital, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight The Internet of Things Will Radically Change Health Care: Are You Ready?

Hospitals Are Building Their Own PPE Stockpiles

A recent Modern Healthcare article details how Beaumont Health is preparing for another COVID-19 surge by stocking personal protective equipment (PPE) for up to 90 days, which is the amount it estimates it will need for hospitalized patients based on how many the system cared for in early April, at the pandemic’s peak. Other Michigan health systems are also bulking up their PPE supply chains to a 3- or 4-week supply.

Before the pandemic, hospitals were reducing supplies in inventory to 4 days per week to lower costs and be more efficient, but when COVID-19 hit, they experienced a PPE supply chain breakdown as distributors and hospitals were backlogged and the national strategic stockpile was not prepared. Now, many health systems are working with suppliers to build their own strategic stockpiles; domestic manufacturing has been accelerated to combat the unpredictability of using Asian manufacturers; and the national stockpile has been replenishing depleted warehouses.

COVID-19 elevated the supply chain’s influence on overall health system operations and exposed considerable vulnerability, creating impetus for long overdue steps to heighten supply chain’s resiliency. To learn a more strategic, cost-effective approach to be sufficiently prepared to handle future supply chain interruptions, read the Sg2 Expert Insight Building Supply Chain Resiliency.

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