An En­gaged Pa­tient is a Health­ier Pa­tient

Net­works Cru­cial to Con­nect­ing Providers with Pa­tients and Im­prov­ing Pa­tient Out­comes

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

RE­GAN YELDELL SE­NIOR DIREC­TOR , EN­TER­PRISE MAR­KET­ING VER­TI­CAL SEG­MENTS COM­CAST BUSI­NESS

Doc­tor/pa­tient re­la­tion­ships are stronger to­day than ever be­fore. Pa­tients take a more ac­tive part in their own health­care, and providers are now re­quired to en­gage more di­rectly with pa­tients as well as an­cil­lary ser­vice providers in­clud­ing spe­cial­ists, pay­ers, phar­ma­cies, lab­o­ra­to­ries and more. Ad­vanced di­ag­nos­tics, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and data tech­nolo­gies are driv­ing this en­hanced ex­change of in­for­ma­tion, mak­ing it more im­por­tant than ever for health­care IT pro­fes­sion­als to take a strate­gic view of their net­work­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

HOW CAN PROVIDERS USE TECH­NOL­OGY TO HELP PA­TIENTS BE­COME MORE EN­GAGED IN THEIR OWN HEALTH­CARE?

RY: Pa­tient por­tals are an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple. Us­ing por­tals, pa­tients can con­firm ap­point­ments, fill out med­i­cal and so­cial his­tory forms, up­date records and pay out­stand­ing bal­ances. On­line pa­tient por­tals help chron­i­cally ill pa­tients re­main en­gaged in their care by al­low­ing them to track ap­point­ments, test and lab re­sults, med­i­ca­tions and doc­tors’ notes. Us­ing provider-sup­plied tablets at the point of care, pa­tients can sign up and ac­cess the por­tal via the provider’s WiFi and have a staff mem­ber demon­strate how to use the por­tal.

In the fu­ture, pa­tient por­tals will evolve with ad­di­tional func­tions like se­cure in­stant mes­sag­ing and with uni­fi­ca­tion that al­lows pa­tients to ac­cess one com­mon por­tal for ev­ery health­care provider they have. Be­fore that hap­pens, providers will need to ad­dress por­tal se­cu­rity is­sues to as­sure pa­tients that their sen­si­tive health in­for­ma­tion will not be ac­ces­si­ble to out­siders.

To re­al­ize the full po­ten­tial of pa­tient por­tals, providers must find a way to share data and net­works and in­te­grate the por­tal with elec­tronic med­i­cal records sys­tems. Plus, the 24x7 na­ture of pa­tient por­tals re­quires fast and ro­bust data con­nec­tions as more and more pa­tients sign up and use the por­tals to re­view re­sults and down­load files and videos.

HOW ARE PROVIDERS US­ING VIDEO TECH­NOL­OGY TO SERVE PA­TIENTS BOTH IN THE HOS­PI­TAL AND AT HOME?

RY: Video has be­come an im­por­tant for­mat for ed­u­cat­ing pa­tients, es­pe­cially on treat­ment and re­cov­ery in­struc­tions. Providers are us­ing video to com­mu­ni­cate about what to ex­pect dur­ing surg­eries and treat­ments, proper med­i­ca­tion pro­to­cols, post-dis­charge in­struc­tions, and tips for care­givers, such as how to trans­fer pa­tients to and from a ve­hi­cle, bed or bath­tub.

Video can be de­liv­ered on-site at the point of care, or in a pa­tient’s home via stream­ing tech­nol­ogy or ca­ble. Some hos­pi­tals are us­ing video on de­mand and ad­vanced ca­ble ser­vices in pa­tient rooms for cus­tom­ized ed­u­ca­tion. We also see a grow­ing op­por­tu­nity to work with health­care providers to de­liver high-qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional con­tent via the TV and re­mote con­trol di­rectly to con­sumers in the com­fort of their homes.

Telemedicine via two-way video can break down the bar­ri­ers of time and dis­tance to let physi­cians en­gage and con­sult with pa­tients in the pa­tients’ own homes. This is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for pa­tients in ru­ral or re­mote ar­eas and for re­mote di­ag­no­sis of crit­i­cal pa­tients who can’t leave their homes.

HOW IS COM­CAST BUSI­NESS HELP­ING HEALTH­CARE PROVIDERS EM­PLOY TH­ESE NEW TECH­NOLO­GIES TO HELP IM­PROVE PA­TIENT EN­GAGE­MENT AND HEALTH OUT­COMES?

RY: A se­cure and ro­bust wide-area net­work is the nec­es­sary link that con­nects ev­ery­thing and al­lows for a host of game-chang­ing pa­tient en­gage­ment ben­e­fits. Com­cast de­signs, builds, im­ple­ments and man­ages se­cure net­work so­lu­tions for to­day’s large, highly dis­trib­uted health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions. We of­fer high-ca­pac­ity, Eth­er­net data net­works that are scal­able for fu­ture growth so health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions can evolve as new tech­nolo­gies are adopted. Th­ese high-per­for­mance net­works have low la­tency to sup­port pre­mium-qual­ity HD video streams and telemedicine ap­pli­ca­tions. They are also di­verse and re­dun­dant to al­low med­i­cal data to be backed up and stored be­tween mul­ti­ple data cen­ters for dis­as­ter re­cov­ery pur­poses.

Com­cast Busi­ness also is build­ing the largest Gig speed net­work in the coun­try, giv­ing providers the abil­ity to trans­fer data and video at 1,000 megabytes per sec­ond. This fast speed is cru­cial when trans­fer­ring large health record files and med­i­cal im­ages and when con­duct­ing re­mote con­sul­ta­tions and pro­ce­dures. It’s strong enough to run 100 de­vices at once, hold video con­fer­ence calls with­out lag and more quickly ac­cess web sites and emails.

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