As consumerism in healthcare changes how care is delivered, measured and maintained, health systems are being forced to adapt quickly.
Today’s patients, or consumers, lead lives focused on convenience of personal choice, with immediate access to multiple options. At the same time, market disruptors are beginning to take on healthcare – creating a new kind of competition in care delivery that health systems cannot disregard.
Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group knew that in order to empower patients as consumers of their healthcare, telemedicine services were key to providing the most convenient care. With this in mind, they set out on a journey to innovate for improvement.
To start, the medical group convened key physician, clinical and technical leaders to address challenges and set goals. The team spent three months analyzing workflows and leveraging management tools that helped the group maximize value for patients. These efforts helped set a strategy for implementation rooted in a deep understanding of consumer priorities. Workflows were then integrated into the medical group’s EMR, patient portal and the practice management system.
In addition to increasing convenience for consumers, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group leveraged telemedicine tools to tackle multiple existing challenges for the health system. For instance, “curbside consults” between primary care physicians and specialists were implemented to address the medical group’s high demand for specialty services. This new offering helped reduce a patient’s wait time for receiving specialty care down to 48 hours or less.
Another way telemedicine provided benefits to both patients and providers included the development of a customized mobile app, which supported coordination of care before and after a surgical procedure. The app delivered automated notifications for the patient such as reminders about when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. The mobile app also served as a post-operation resource to support self-care throughout recovery, including videos showing how to administer care and medications so they could recover in the comfort of their own home.
As a result, Sharp Rees-Stealy was able to increase video and phone visits by 83% in one year, which led to an annualized savings of $1.3 million in one year. Both patients and providers appreciated the convenience of care and the overall time that telemedicine services saved for both parties.
HIMSS Analytics is pleased to recognize Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group for their Stage 7 validation, as tracked by HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM).
“Sharp has developed a number of predictive models improving patient care and implemented tools that save valuable time for doctors,” said Philip Bradley, regional director, North America, HIMSS Analytics.
“Our patients love the option to connect with their primary care physician or specialist via telemedicine. Since it is their own physician, they know the patient, their medical history, the family history, and they have a complete picture of the patient’s data within our EMR and health information exchange,” said Elan Hekier, MD, chief medical information officer, Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group. “If indicated, since their electronic records are connected to laboratory and imaging systems across the county, physicians can order diagnostic testing at a facility close to their home or place of work.”
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