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Insights from CipherHealth’s New Clinical Advisory Board

Clinical Advisory Board Post

By Joy Avery, MSN, RN and Donna Pritchard, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC

In late June, the new CipherHealth Clinical Advisory Board (CAB) convened. This board was developed out of the desire to hear the voices of our customers and better understand the current concerns of the healthcare industry at large. It also serves as a forum for a diverse group of subject matter experts (SMEs) to share their wisdom and experience while having the opportunity to network as well. With all the competing priorities in healthcare today, it is of utmost importance to work in a collaborative environment with leaders from across the country to brainstorm best practices. Each of us can take what we’ve learned back to our respective places to provide a safe environment for our staff and provide exemplary care for our patients and families.  

The CAB members are nine of the country’s top healthcare thought leaders and key healthcare influencers. They’re not only differentiated by their professional titles—from Chief Quality Officers, Chief of Nursing Informatics, VP’s of Patient Experience, Chief Diversity & Health Equity Officers, Senior Directors, Director in Pop Health and others—but they hail from different parts of the country and different types of healthcare settings including academic, private for profit, and not-for-profit using a variety of EMR’s, and spanning the entire patient care continuum.

In our first meeting, this group shared their expertise regarding what purposeful patient engagement looks like, the top patient engagement priorities and topics to explore the rest of this year… and here’s a sneak peek. 

Defining Patient Engagement

It goes without saying successful patient engagement is a top priority across the healthcare industry but the term “patient engagement” means many things. There’s no one shared patient engagement definition, though we all try to get at and describe similar and overlapping concepts. With this in mind, we polled the CAB board to get a sense of how they think about and define interacting with patients at all points of their healthcare experience. The responses ranged from high level to more specific. One member defined patient engagement as any interaction with a patient – clinical or informational – that affects patients behavior.  Another member defined it as a patient’s willingness to be part of their own care and also provide both positive and negative feedback to leadership to improve processes. What came through in most responses was how critical relationship-building is between patients/providers and ensuring patients can be co-creators in their own care. The more patients are involved, the easier it is for healthcare organizations to develop an effective patient engagement strategy.

How to Best Engage Patients and Support Healthcare Teams this Year

In thinking about how best to engage patients and support healthcare teams, particularly in a time of widespread staffing challenges as well as financial challenges, the board discussed Cipher’s strategic focus across pre-care, point-of-care and post-care. In all areas, maximizing efficiency was a recurring theme. Some of their priorities included: 

  • Increasing clinical, financial and operational efficiencies 
    • Reducing administrative burden and maximize appointment revenue with intake form completion, waitlist management and referral scheduling 
  • Optimizing insights through data analytics
    • Making data accessible through unparalleled self-service capabilities and drive informed workflows to affect better provider and patient outcomes
  • Expanding personalized, self-service functionality 
    • Enhancing patient profiles and allow for more automated caregiver engagement by offering more personalized communication, education, rounding and surveying
  • Advancing interoperability and scalability 
    • Facilitating rapid growth / program extensions that flex with health systems’ changing patient populations and needs

Topics to Explore Moving Forward 

Several topics have been slated for a deeper conversation in the next board meeting.  This will provide time for the group to delve further into industry pain points and share their expertise and insights. Key topics slated for discussion are emergency department challenges, staff safety and wellbeing,  and quality improvement.  We look forward to this being a generative and inspiring discussion for all involved. 

Having top-notch executive leaders from across the country come together to brainstorm about the future of healthcare is truly exciting. We at Cipher are grateful to our executive team for supporting the relaunch of this board.  Most importantly, we extend our thanks to the Clinical Advisory Board members for dedicating their time and providing innovative advice. We are inspired by this diverse team of patient experience experts and their commitment to the board’s mission. Looking forward, we can absolutely envision how this team will bring tremendous value to the future of patient, family, and staff engagement throughout the US. 

Donna Pritchard, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC
Donna Pritchard, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC
Donna is the VP of Clinical Services at CipherHealth. She brings 33 years of experience as a registered nurse and 22 years of C-suite administration. A two-time Baldridge award winner, she most recently served at North Mississippi Medical Center, where she worked for 32 years—including 11 years as Chief Nursing Executive. Donna is an adjunct faculty member for the University of United States Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

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