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How Patient Portals Are Increasing Engagement & Improving Outcomes

nurse showing digital tablet to mother with baby

Delivering care to the second most populated county in the U.S., Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) of Chicago serves a large and diverse patient population. Many of these patients suffer from chronic diseases such as lupus, HIV, and cancer – all of which require consistent laboratory monitoring.

CCHHS found that many patients with chronic conditions struggled to keep up with their bloodwork and frequently missed appointments. Determined to improve future outcomes, CCHHS staff set out to discover its root cause.

The Challenge: Keeping Care Up-to-date for Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Patients

Previously, CCHHS required all patients suffering from chronic diseases to plan pre-visits with their doctors: one pre-visit to perform blood work, and a second appointment with a physician after all bloodwork was performed, processed and analyzed.

For patients battling a chronic disease while also being socioeconomically disadvantaged, coordinating multiple doctor’s visits can be a major challenge; for instance, these patients are more likely to work multiple jobs to make ends meet – making it close to impossible to take a day off work. Additionally, being unable to afford childcare or transportation costs associated with these visits can create more potential roadblocks in their healthcare maintenance.

Recognizing that these multiple visits proved to be unrealistic for many patients, CCHHS leveraged their use of the EMRAM℠ (Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model) by utilizing the electronic message center within patient portals to streamline communications and eliminate the need for multiple appointments. Staff spends one-on-one time with patients, teaching them how to use to show their patient portals and guiding them through any challenges they may encounter. For example, to prevent issues with access for patients that have limited data allowance on their cell phone plan, the staff teaches patients ways to access free Wi-Fi networks. “It’s a lifesaver for the disconnected homeless person,” one patient said.

HIMSS Analytics EMRAM Stage 7 Validation

HIMSS Analytics is proud to recognize Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) for its recent validation as a Stage 7 healthcare system, as tracked by the EMRAM.

“Achieving Stage 7 is a signal achievement for our hospitals and puts them in company with some of the most modern hospitals in the nation,” said Dr. Jay Shannon, CEO, Cook County Health & Hospitals System. “This recognition supports our embrace of health information technology and demonstrates how Cook County Health leverages electronic medical records to improve clinical outcomes for an individual patient and also the health of our community through data.”

“Cook County Health & Hospital System has seen fantastic results from using patient portals as means to improve outcomes and help providers ensure care is up-to-date, especially for patients with chronic conditions requiring more consistent monitoring,” said Philip Bradley, regional director, HIMSS Analytics North America.

Learn More

Learn more about how to empower your organization with the HIMSS Analytics EMRAM.

Contact Kyle Munderville for more information on the healthcare provider maturity models and Stage 7 award.