Increasing patient engagement levels is a key factor in improving health outcomes for patients. Patient engagement is also an important component of Altru Health System’s mission to provide the best possible care. Over the years, the health system has placed a strong focus on growing patient engagement rates by emphasizing the value and encouraging the use of patient portals. The population utilizing Altru’s patient portal has grown steadily since it was implemented in 2010. Staff encourage patients to take a more active role in their health maintenance by leveraging their personal health portals.
Rather than calling into a busy office and spending time on hold, patients can log into their portal and schedule their next appointment with just a few clicks. If the patient has concerns about the appointment or needs to ask a question about a non-emergency medical event, they can utilize the secure message option to send an instant communication to their provider. Currently, 30 to 40 percent of Altru’s patient portal users actively utilize this message feature.
The best part? In some cases, patients may not even need to walk in the door to receive care. The patient portal houses documents such as pre-visit questionnaires so patients can fill out paperwork ahead of time, rather than having to come in early before an appointment to complete documents. In addition, the portal integrates an e-visit scheduling option for instances where a physician has determined a certain appointment or check-up can be performed virtually. Ultimately, encouraging use of the patient portal has empowered patients to play a more proactive role in maintaining their health.
Responses from Altru’s patients have indicated high satisfaction from using patient portals. “How did I even manage to get better without this?” one patient said. “I feel like I finally am getting a handle on my health.” To date, more than half of completed office visits are from active patient portal users.
HIMSS Analytics is proud to recognize Altru Health System for its revalidation as a Stage 7 healthcare system, as tracked by the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM). The health system also revalidated at Stage 7 for the outpatient adoption model (OEMRAM).
“Altru Health System has highly leveraged their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) to ensure all medically necessary information is immediately and electronically available to advance the timeliness and accuracy of care,” said James E. Gaston, senior director of healthcare advisory services at HIMSS Analytics.
“We take pride in achieving and maintaining our HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 status. The Stage 7 awards are much more than something to hang on the wall, as it provides the added incentive to improve EMR functionality that can improve the care we deliver,” said Mark Waind, CPHIMS, CHCIO; chief information officer at Altru Health System.
“Our patients are really the true winners of Altru pursuing Stage 7 status, as EMR improvements have led to increased patient engagement,” Waind added. “Our providers also benefit by receiving better technology to provide care to their patients. All of this adds up to a more informed patient, improved safety and ultimately better patient outcomes.”
Contact Kyle Munderville for more information on the healthcare provider maturity models and Stage 7 award.