Some healthcare providers have figured out the best set of IT tools to get patients more involved in their own care.
Patient engagement may have started as a Meaningful Use rule that providers had to follow to obtain electronic health record (EHR) financial incentives, but it has taken on a life of its own in several forward-thinking health systems.
The Cleveland Clinic, for instance, has done some impressive work in this arena. Many providers are offering patients the ability to make appointments on their websites, but Cleveland Clinic's family health centers now put their clinician's entireschedule up so that patients can make their own appointments. That's customer service.
They are also opening up their medical records in ways that most providers have been reluctant to do. They're putting lab results and medical imaging results online and eventually plan to post physicians' notes after each patient's visit. They also have a pilot project in the works that allows patients to enter data into their own records, which may help clinicians monitor patients' progress in controlling blood pressure, blood glucose and other measurable parameters.
Mayo Clinic, not wanting to be left behind in the race to get patients more involved in their own care, has developed a popular app that originally started as a mobile map to help patients find their way around its huge campus. It has evolved to include appointment calendars, access to radiology and lab reports, even suggestions on where to eat when they come to the Rochester, Minn., facility. Patients can also see a portion of their electronic medical record, their medication lists and patient summaries.