Digital tools still have long way to go, some say
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.