One of the most profound changes in healthcare today is the drive to get patients more involved. Gone are the days when individuals blindly followed instructions on who to see, where to go, and what to do. With the mounting costs of copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, patients are now assuming more of the financial burden of their care. This has led to the consumerism of healthcare, with individuals wanting to shop and compare for their healthcare as they do any other product or service. Providers are also recognizing that getting individuals involved prior to care episodes can lead to better outcomes and reduce costs.
The momentum for better patient engagement is growing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its Person and Family Engagement Strategy (PFE). The policy stresses the goal of making patients and families part of the healthcare team by working collaboratively with providers as active partners in their healthcare decision making.
The National Academy of Medicine has published its updated description of patient centered care, describing it as “care planned, delivered, managed, and continuously improved in active partnership with patients and their families to ensure integration of their health and healthcare goals, preferences and values.”1
There’s no disputing that having patients involved in their own healthcare is a positive development. To make that worthwhile objective possible, however, organizations must be able to access and provide consolidated, accurate information to their patients. Unfortunately, most providers are dealing with multiple IT systems that often create duplicate records that cause communication and care problems. To optimize patient engagement, both providers and individuals need a reliable, consolidated starting point: an accurate single view of the patient.
The best way to break through the silos of disparate I.T. systems and provide this “golden patient record” is by uniquely identifying a patient with a next generation Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) solution. This modern EMPI platform improves on first generation MPI’s by providing an OpenData model, scalability, a backend Big Data database, flexibility, self-sufficiency, and a superior UI experience.
Here are three ways a next generation EMPI solution can help facilitate an optimized patient engagement strategy.
Optimizes patient portals
Successfully implementing an effective patient engagement program requires establishing a strong, bi-directional communication vehicle between you and your patients. The most common method of doing that is through an online patient portal.
Today people go on-line for everything from shopping to vacation planning to social interaction. They want the same capability for their healthcare needs.
Many organizations are using standalone web sites for this patient access, adding another separate system to an already disjointed multi-application, disparate IT ecosystem. Connecting the dots between EMR’s and other applications is problematic since each application uses its own language and code. You need a way to pull these systems together to provide a single view of every patient who accesses the system.
The matching capabilities of a next generation EMPI eliminates the problem of multiple patient instances resulting from numerous systems databases and produces a “golden record” of each patient. Instead of having to log in to separate patient portals to retrieve their data, patients now have a reliable, single sign-on site to access their records, get information about their healthcare needs, and communicate with their clinician when necessary. Providing simple access encourages patients to use the portal which can dramatically increase engagement. Ensuring a single record also streamlines outreach by eliminating multiple communications sent because of duplicate records residing in the system.
Enables better care outcomes
A key goal of patient engagement is to involve individuals in their healthcare decisions that will ultimately improve care outcomes. An advanced EMPI can play a significant role in enhancing patient care by eliminating duplicate records that can pose serious safety threats.
Nearly 120,000 people die every year because of identity or “wrong patient” errors.2 Six out of 10 preventable deaths are linked to patient misidentification – many caused by the presence of duplicate records.3 It’s crucial to get the right information into the hands of clinicians to prevent misdiagnoses and ensure proper care through the collaboration of the provider and patient.
Patient engagement is also a critical component of population health. Proactively reaching out to individuals between care episodes to provide information and guidance to prevent illnesses is one of the keys to improving care outcomes and reducing healthcare costs. Mismatched patient records can seriously derail those initiatives.
Cost reduction is a goal for everyone involved in the healthcare industry from hospitals to providers to patients. Better patient engagement can help make individuals more informed about their healthcare choices and make them more effective “consumers” of their care.
To help them make those decisions, however, they need to have access to reliable health records. If they can’t easily get to their records, chances are they won’t willingly participate, eliminating the most important stakeholder in the healthcare decision making process.
The single view of the patient provided by an advanced EMPI reduces the possibility of multiple tests that can add hundreds of dollars to a care episode. Errors in billing can result in delayed or missed revenue which also raises the overall cost of care. Eliminating duplicated records helps drive down overall healthcare costs, which ultimately benefits patients.
How VisionWare drives patient engagement in practice
VisionWare is a leading provider of Patient Identification and Matching Solution, Provider Directory and Master Data Management solutions to the healthcare, public sector and financial services market. MultiVue, our next generation EMPI solution, has proven to be effective in driving patient engagement in two leading healthcare organizations.
Greenway Health, a Georgia-based leader in the HIT market, sought a patient portal that worked across multiple practices to meet their patients’ need for a central place to manage their health and access providers’ outreach tools.
They identified the need to avoid duplicate records across multiple EHR’s and selected VisionWare’s MultiVue because it provided a single, cloud-based, scalable, high-performing solution. Greenway was impressed that MultiVue was intuitively usable by the development team supporting the infrastructure and easy to implement.
There are over 12 million people currently in MultiVue and thousands of users have registered on more than one practice’s portal and have single sign-on access to as many as four practices. As a result of the implementation, patient engagement and satisfaction has soared.
Maury Regional Medical Center, a 360-bed acute care hospital serving more than 260,000 patients in Tennessee, wanted a “one stop location” for medical information, patient conditions, and test results to enhance their patient portal and drive patient engagement. Trying to integrate data from multiple disparate systems was causing an ongoing problem of duplicate records creation.
Maury reached out to VisionWare and chose the MultiVue solution because of its flexibility, speed to implement, and fit with their combined physical/virtual IT architecture. MultiVue was deployed to connect five disparate systems.
Following the implementation, MultiVue has merged nearly 193,000 patient records and almost 68,000 of them have been merged with the patient portal to provide a single record for users. Patient satisfaction and engagement has increased significantly now that patients can access a reliable, singleview of their records through the portal.
About VisionWare for Healthcare
Our technology enables organizations to break down data silos by creating a single, complete view of any data entity across the enterprise. Enabling this ‘single view of the truth’ is an essential prerequisite to leverage the benefits of a data driven business, including improved customer engagement and operational efficiency, as well as reduced reputational and regulatory risk. Founded in 1993, VisionWare has headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland and Newton, Massachusetts.
1 Top Hospital CEO’s Predict a Brave New World of Patient Engagement, by Robert Reiss, Forbes, February 27, 2017.
2 Why Patient Matching Is a Challenge: Research on Master Patient Index (MPI) Data Discrepancies in Key Identifying Fields, by Beth Haenke Just MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA; David Marc, MBS, CHDA; Megan Munns, RHIA; and Ryan Sandefer, MA, CPHIT, Perspectives in Health Information Management, AHIMA Foundation, Spring 2016.
3 Identity Crisis: An Examination of the Costs and Benefits of a Unique Patient Identifier for the U. S. Healthcare System, by Richard Hillestad, James H. Bigelow, Basit Chaudry, Paul Dreyer, Michael D. Greenberg, Robin C. Meili, M. Susan Ridgely, Jeff Rothenberg, and Roger Taylor, RAND Corp., 2008.