Dig­i­tal tools still have long way to go, some say

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - —Sabriya Rice

Use of dig­i­tal tools such as mo­bile apps and on­line por­tals for bet­ter en­gag­ing pa­tients, im­prov­ing care and re­duc­ing costs is be­com­ing more com­mon in clin­i­cal prac­tice. But in­dus­try lead­ers at the HIMSS con­fer­ence said there is still a long way to go.

“The new def­i­ni­tion of qual­ity is con­ve­nience,” Aetna CEO Mark Ber­tolini said dur­ing his key­note ad­dress. Health­care providers need to keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion sim­ple and “put it in the palms of their hand,” he said.

In one ses­sion, of­fi­cials from Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health Sys­tem de­scribed how its phar­macy has used an on­line pa­tient por­tal to send a ques­tion­naire about med­i­ca­tions. It learned that nearly a quar­ter of sur­vey re­spon­dents had ei­ther stopped tak­ing med­i­ca­tions still listed on their records or had started tak­ing med­i­ca­tions that had not yet been added to their file.

And when Geisinger’s physi­cian of­fices be­gan tex­ting pa­tients with re­minders about up­com­ing ap­point­ments, the ef­fort saved the hospi­tal sys­tem more than $50,000 in no-show ex­penses.

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