Last week, Jamie Verkamp of (e)Merge wrote a terrific piece as a guest blogger for EMR & HIPAA about looking beyond the simple patient engagement measures required by Meaningful Use and focusing more on patient involvement and education. In her piece, she mentions a TeleVox study that revealed 83% of Americans don’t follow treatment plans as prescribed by their physicians, and that 42% of those surveyed felt a form of motivation would help them follow their care plan. With Meaningful Use measures driving the adoption of patient portals, practices need to look at this investment as not another MU hurdle, but an excellent opportunity to interact with their patients. One of the suggestions mentioned in Jamie’s piece is the idea of making sure your patient-facing staff is well educated in accessing and navigating the portal in order help answer any of your patients’ questions. She also mentions that educating your patients on maneuvering around the portal is a simple way to increase patient engagement.
Along the same lines of patient engagement, the HIT industry received exciting news when Apple, during their Keynote presentation at the 2014 WWDC, introduced Health and HealthKit for their iOS 8 mobile operating system. When I watched the keynote, my first reaction was not “wow!” but “about time”. The mobile health app market has been around for a few years now, but so were mp3 players before Apple introduced the iPod back in October of 2001. While I don’t want to come across as an Apple fan boy, you can’t help but appreciate Apples ability to re-energize an industry and get people to rally behind their vision. In a generation where everyone is glued to their phones (waiting to see the “Head injury due to walking into street post while patient on their smartphone” ICD-10 diagnosis), it was only a matter of time that the mobile health market got it’s opportunity to take-off (Let’s just hope this isn’t another Spruce Goose).
Even though there are plenty of great running, exercising, diet/calorie tracking apps already in the market, Apple’s hope is that these apps, along with new ones entering the market, will have the ability to easily to integrate with and transmit information to an individual’s healthcare provider. With that said, I say “Good Luck.”
Fortunately, Galen has already recognized the need for a simple, educational, integrated care-management mobile application. Back in August 2013 during ACE, Galen introduced Dragonfly, a remote patient monitoring and chronic disease management app. Dragonfly lets a provider prescribe a patient self-management plan from their EHR, allowing the patient to capture the necessary vital measures for their specific care plan through the Dragonfly app. If the patient records a vital sign, such as a blood pressure reading, outside a reference range set by the provider, Dragonfly will alert the provider and their staff of the result in the EHR. You can learn more about Dragonfly and it’s other great features by visiting our website.