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At Premier Family Physicians, Patient Self-check-in Tech Reduces FTEs at One Location From 14 to 8

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Premier Family Physicians, a nine-location group practice based in Austin, Texas, seeks to ensure its providers have the tools they need and processes in place to support patient care and get through each day as productively as possible. To that end, enhancing patient self-management and automating screeners and paper processes is a key goal.

THE PROBLEM

“We had significant staff retention issues at the front desk, along with issues related to missing registration information,” said Rebecca King, vice president of operations. “We thought we could do a better job by automating the registration process, so implementing a self-check-in solution was a high priority for us.

“We switched to the athenahealth EHR about two years ago,” she noted. “We consulted their marketplace in our search for a patient self-check-in vendor. That’s where we discovered Qure4u.”

PROPOSAL

What Premier Family liked about the Qure4u technology was that the digital health platform offered a self-check-in solution plus additional functionality the group practice could use down the road to incorporate electronic health screeners and mitigate other manual processes.

“The initial proposal was to implement patient self-check-in using either a mobile app before the patient visit or an intake tablet in each of our office locations upon arrival,” King explained. “This would streamline the check-in process by eliminating paper documents and consent forms that then had to be scanned and manually entered in.

“Electronic self-check-in also would ensure that all pertinent patient information was captured through required fields.”

Premier Family just acquired two new locations, so now it has an even broader spectrum of services, including surgery, allergy services, family medicine and pediatrics – all of which have vastly different information needs.

“For patients signing in on tablets, we went from capturing 88% of phone numbers to capturing 99%.”

Rebecca King, Premier Family Physicians

“We have some internal medicine clinicians, as well, plus the need for Medicare-specific screeners,” King said. “One of the best features about Qure4u’s proposal was the customization it offered across locations. It also was clear the primary account manager we would be working with had experience in a clinical setting and was knowledgeable about common workflows and how the technology would better support those.

“We were in implementation planning stages for patient self-check-in when COVID-19 hit,” she continued. “Although we never thought telehealth would be a core part of our business, the pandemic quickly upended that notion and shifted our priorities.”

As a result of the pandemic, there was a stay-at-home order, so Premier Family had many calls coming in. It became important to roll telemedicine out as quickly as possible. Staff had daily huddles for two to three days ahead of rollout and testing. The vendor’s ability to respond to that unexpected need so quickly was very important, King added.

MEETING THE CHALLENGE

Premier Family uses self-check-in on a mandatory intake tablet. The group practice had not adopted Qure4u when it initially transitioned onto athenahealth’s EHR.

“We had a stack of paperwork that had to be scanned in,” King recalled. “That produced issues where bad scans went into a bucket that someone had to electronically sort. Now that data freely populates into the patient chart and the patient signs electronically. Our staff appreciates automation of the tasks they were previously having to field manual paperwork for.

“The platform has been great,” she attested. “Patients appreciate they can also check in from home, which is especially helpful for moms and our pediatric patients. It’s so easy for patients. They can update health and family history from home instead of while they’re wrangling kids in the office. All they have to do is confirm their name and date of birth when they arrive.”

One of the pediatric offices is in a suburb with a high concentration of multi-child homes. That office also does family medicine, so many patients often show up all at once. Those patients appreciate that they can register via one main chart with each of their children integrated as sub-categories.

RESULTS

Premier Family has seen significant improvements in efficiency, staff and patient satisfaction, and data capture.

“One of the metrics we track is phone number capture rate,” King noted. “For patients signing in on Qure4u tablets, we went from capturing 88% of phone numbers to capturing 99%. Our insurance card capture rate similarly went from the 80% range to the high 90% range. Patients often forget insurance cards in the office.

“Traditionally, if there was an issue, we would have to work it out with the patient at the window,” she continued. “The platform also allows us to message the patient so we can get insurance card information the day before. That allows us to get eligibility done automatically, the day prior to the next day’s appointments.”

That also supports co-pay and time-of-service payment collection rate improvement. Staff can have payment conversations ahead of time for things like outstanding balance.

“It’s also impressive to note that we didn’t offer virtual visits prior to COVID-19,” she said. “Qure4u supported us and we spun telehealth up in three days. 80% of our business went virtual overnight and it stayed that way for two to three months. We scrambled in survival mode initially, but now we’re working to refine things.

“Virtual visits have yo-yoed from anywhere from 35-60% of total visits over the past year, averaging about 40%,” she reported. “We’re hovering at about 20-30% virtual so far this year. That has been pretty steady for a while now. Some providers are stronger adopters. Our two acquired locations are more remote, outside of Austin, so longer commutes amount to stronger virtual engagement there.”

Premier Family also has been tracking the number of automated tasks completed through the new platform.

“We’d like to see how much work is being taken off of the front desk,” she said. “For our 2020 report, 267,000 manual tasks were automated with Qure4u. We were able to decrease staff, too. One location sees 350-400 patients per day. We had a team of 14 front desk staff members and we’re now down to eight FTEs.”

At the biggest location, the group practice now is piloting a move to self-check-in kiosks.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS

“Initially, we tried to roll out electronic health screeners with patient self-check-in simultaneously,” King recalled. “A lot of patients don’t know things like diagnosis and medication names, which led to frequent front-desk interruptions with patients asking questions. We found it was better to go through the screeners with them as a verification process once in the exam room.

“The functionality was great, but it was a new workflow for us so we dialed back on screeners,” she continued. “We want to eventually go across the board, but appreciate that we can do so incrementally. My advice would be to identify a vendor that allows you to implement digital engagement solutions at a measured pace to ensure you build toward a sustainable long-term strategy.”

It’s also important to find vendors that are able to take feedback and customize different functionality based on workflow, she advised.

“We were excited about going all in and hadn’t through it through and had to roll some things back,” she noted. “Finding a team that is responsive and hands-on, and understands your goals, is vital. Implementing tools that are easy to use and integrate into existing platforms also is key.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bsiwicki@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

Original Source: healthcareitnews.com

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Health Care

Singapore’s Public Health System Rolling Out the Clinician’s ZEDOC Platform

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Singapore’s health tech agency Integrated Health Information Systems has partnered with Auckland-headquartered digital health firm The Clinician to deploy a patient-reported outcome and experience measures platform across the island state’s public healthcare system.

WHAT IT’S FOR

The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform, the company describes, assists healthcare providers in managing patient-generated health data outside the hospital through digitisation. Integrated with HIS, the system supports timely exchange of health data and information between providers and patients, including subjective PROMs and PREMs, objective wearable device data, and other communication or educational materials. By streamlining the digital collection of critical health data, ZEDOC is able to render real-time, actionable information crucial for improving health outcomes and experiences.

The partners are working on multiple ZEDOC integrations with existing health information systems (HIS). A privacy-preserving hybrid infrastructure has been implemented which ensures that all personally identifiable information stays within the IHiS’s private health cloud while all anonymised health data are collected through a secure commercial cloud platform.

WHY IT MATTERS

Singapore intends to measure and improve health outcomes and patient experience with the rollout of The Clinician’s ZEDOC platform. Their partnership will “bolster patient engagement and enable clinicians to more effectively assess patients’ health status before, during and after receiving a health service – closing the loop when they are outside the hospital,” said The Clinician CEO Dr Ron Tenenbaum. It will also allow providers to deliver “more holistic and personalised care for patients by taking into account their perspectives for the first time,” he added.

To demonstrate the benefit of routine collection and analysis of PROMs, The Clinician shared that this has resulted in over 50% reduction in 90-day complications for hip and knee surgery patients in one study and a five-month improvement in the survival of cancer patients in another.

Among benefits for care providers, the ZEDOC integration will replace existing paper-based forms with an integrated digital platform that automates data capture, as well as benchmark outcomes across providers to reduce variability and waste. For patients, they can become more involved in the treatment decision-making and be informed early of health risks and warning signs.

THE LARGER TREND

Last month, Cabrini Health and The Alfred, two of the largest healthcare providers in the Australian state of Victoria, deployed the ZEDOC platform to automate the collection and analysis of health data from colorectal cancer patients. The installation is said to adhere to the colorectal cancer standards outlined by the International Consortium of Health Outcomes Measurement.

Original Post: healthcareitnews.com

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EU Analysis Highlights Digital Health Lessons From COVID-19

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An EU analysis has outlined the effect of COVID-19 on healthcare systems in Europe and the role of digital innovation in building their resilience.

Experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory have published a set of 29 country health profiles, covering all EU member states, as well as Iceland and Norway. A companion report also highlights a selection of cross-country trends.

Speaking at a virtual launch event on Monday (13 December), Josep Figueras, director, European Observatory, highlighted two main lessons learnt from the use of technology in the pandemic.

Using telemedicine as an example of digital health innovation, he said the number of teleconsultations had increased in all EU countries during 2020. However in some countries, such as France, teleconsultations had decreased when lockdowns ended.

“The key issue here is how we harness and sustain innovation – how we make sure that these improvements in the use of telemedicine (as an illustration of the use of other digital technologies) can be maintained and sustained to increase the effectiveness of the health system,” Figueras said.

He also highlighted that the technology for telemedicine and other innovations was already available in many European countries before the pandemic but was not being used.

Figueras asked: “What did we do within the pandemic that literally within a couple of weeks, we got all this telemedicine in place?”

To sustain the use of telemedicine and other health technologies, he said it was important to look at the regulatory measures, financial incentives, training and changes in culture needed.

“Something the pandemic has taught us loudly and clearly is the importance of digital innovation – not only the new technologies, but the ability to implement them,” Figueras added.

WHY IT MATTERS

The State of Health in the EU cycle is a two-year process initiated by the European Commission in 2016, designed to improve country-specific and EU-wide knowledge in healthcare.

It aims to gather data and in-depth analyses on health systems and make the information accessible to policy makers and stakeholders.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

During the pandemic, digital tools have been used in the EU to boost public health measures such as the implementation of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, vaccination booking systems, and cross-border interoperability for contact-tracing apps.

There has also been investment in EU-wide COVID recovery initiatives such as the EU4Health programme.

ON THE RECORD

Maya Matthews, head of unit performance, European Commission said: “COVID-19 illuminated the fact that in many European countries we do not have a strong public health system. We cannot do testing and tracing. Even surveillance is done sometimes in a very fragmented fashion.

“I think if one thing comes out of COVID-19, it’s to say that public health matters – that public health is a very important part of health systems and has not really received the attention it deserves.”

Source Here: healthcareitnews.com

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Clinical Messaging Platform Hospify to Close, Bupa Arabia Invests in Global Ventures, and More News Briefs

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Clinical messaging platform Hospify to close

British healthtech startup Hospify has announced it will close its secure clinical messaging platform on 31 January 2021.

Hospify said it suffered a decline in demand after the government suspended the UK 2018 Data Protection Act in relation to healthcare last year for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also cited difficulties caused by “post-Brexit uncertainties surrounding the future of the UK’s data adequacy agreement with the EU”.

A statement from the Hospify team says: “It’s a sad end to a wonderful vision, a vision of universal health care communication that was both free of data exploitation and free at the point of use.”

Insurance giant Bupa Arabia invests in Global Ventures

UAE-based international venture capital firm Global Ventures has announced new investment from Bupa Arabia, the leading health insurance company in the region.

Bupa Arabia’s participation in Global Ventures Fund II as strategic partner aims to foster the healthcare ecosystem in the region and particularly in Saudi Arabia.

The investment is part of the Bupa Arabia’s strategy to participate and invest in disruptive healthcare and insurance technologies, amongst other targeted growth sectors.

Noor Sweid, Global Ventures founder and general partner, said: “Bupa Arabia shares our outlook and ambition on the digital health sector, and its potential for technology and innovation to deliver long-term economic benefits particularly in emerging markets.”

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital achieves EMRAM Stage 6

Specialist NHS trust Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) has been awarded Stage 6 of the EMRAM, or Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, by HIMSS.

The EMRAM measures the adoption and maturity of a health facility’s inpatient EMR capabilities from 0 to 7. Achieving Stage 6 means the trust has established clear goals for improving safety, minimising errors, and recognising the importance of healthcare IT.

Kate Warriner, chief digital and information officer said: “Digital excellence must be the cornerstone if we are to continually improve the care that we provide for our patients in the years ahead. Therefore, whilst we are rightly proud of this achievement, we have ambitions for further pioneering innovation and advancing our use of technology to become a Stage 7 hospital.”

More than $110m raised by Sheba’s ARC Innovation Center

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center has announced that six companies from its Accelerate Redesign Collaborate (ARC) Innovation Center raised more than $110 million (EUR97.2m) in 2021.

ARC brings new technologies into the hospital and community ecosystem focusing on digital health technologies including precision medicine, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), predictive analytics, telemedicine and mobile health.

Sheba MedTech startups receiving investments this year included: Aidoc, BELKIN Laser, Starget Pharma Append Medical, Innovalve Bio Medical and TechsoMed.

Professor Eyal Zimlichman, ARC director and founder, said: “The ARC Innovation Center has been focusing on ground-breaking, innovative technologies with a prime directive to redesign healthcare.”

Konica Minolta named as part of NHS Digital Documents Solutions framework

Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd has been named as one of 46 suppliers on the new ?5 billion Digital Documents Solutions framework.

The firm will provide solutions across five key areas: internal print, external print, digital mail room, scanning and electronic document management solutions.

Jason Barnes, head of public sector, Konica Minolta, said: “Having been chosen through a competitive tender process, we are especially pleased to be newly appointed to the LPP framework, which deepens and furthers our reach into the NHS health sector.”

Original Source: healthcareitnews.com

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