How technology can help care teams engage with patients

This is part 2 of 3 blog posts focusing on the journey of patient experience and outcome improvement at Lutheran Medical Center.

In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of engaging with patients and their families. The Care Transitions Initiative, Project RED, and Project Boost all served to maximize the potential for care teams to ensure patient safety. However, these initiatives pose challenges to nurse workflow and time, often making better patient engagement harder to prioritize. To highlight a solution to this challenge, the webinar participants heard from Lutheran Medical Center (LMC) in Wheat Ridge, CO about an innovative approach to patient engagement: healthcare technology.

Lutheran Medical Center, part of SCL Health, is a busy community hospital that sees 72,000 patients in the Emergency Room and 16,000 inpatient admissions.  To meet the needs of the large population, while remaining efficient and cost-effective in its services, the organization needed to take innovative approaches to the way they communicate with patients both during and after their hospital visit.

Starting in 2012, LMC partnered with CipherHealth to test care transition strategies as it related to automated post-discharge follow up calls with CipherOutreach. The calls helped Lutheran reach out to 100% of discharged patients and ensured that those who needed additional assistance were helped by LMC staff members. Overall, CipherOutreach has helped Lutheran to identify 71,618 questions regarding discharge instructions.   

Upon gathering patient data through the calls, Lutheran saw an opportunity to further improve care transitions through patient and family engagement by providing personalized discharge instructions to patients using CipherHealth’s recorded care instructions solution. The CipherOutreach Echo recording would then be available for patients to listen to on their CipherOutreach post-discharge calls, as well as at any other time by calling a designated number. In 2016, Lutheran staff have recorded discharge instructions for 4600 patients and 2,459 (53%) patients or family members have listened to them in the two week listening window.   

It’s no surprise that technology works to amplify patient engagement. Lutheran saw not only an improvement in patient outcomes, but they also were able to capitalize on patient trends to proactively fix recurring issues. By implementing technology, Lutheran took the essential step of putting patient concerns first, thereby setting them apart from other hospitals in the area. To find out how Lutheran implemented these technology solutions, look for our final blog post in this series coming out soon!

Barb Davis

Barbara Davis, MA has been involved in quality in healthcare for over 30 years, and currently serves as CipherHealth's SVP of Clinical Services. She has worked in complex health care environments, including a university health system, an HMO health plan, and multi-hospital system. Her areas of expertise include quality improvement and Lean, service excellence focusing on organizational culture and the patient experience, patient safety and reliability, regulatory issues and organizational strategic goal setting. Currently she sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver.