CipherHealth User Conference Knowledge Share: Leveraging Automated Outreach to Improve Patient Outcomes

This post was written by our dedicated Strategic Advisor, Matt Danilo. This is part four in a series of blog posts sharing insights from CipherHealth’s first annual User Conference on Excellence and Innovation, which highlighted clients who have achieved excellence in outcomes and deployed CipherHealth solutions in innovative ways.

At CipherHealth’s User Conference on Excellence & Innovation, members of the user community came together to share best practices in leveraging CipherHealth’s patient communication and coordination platform to achieve the Quadruple Aim. With CipherOutreach, CipherHealth’s proactive outreach technology, healthcare providers are empowered to follow up with 100% of discharged patient populations. By using CipherOutreach, providers can engage with patients multiple times in the critical post-discharge period and prioritize interventions based on the need for additional support.

Speakers on the Driving Excellence in CipherOutreach Panel discussed key strategies to ensure the successful implementation and sustained success of CipherHealth’s automated outreach software, as well as the power of data in enhancing patient outreach.

Keys to Successful Implementation
Since every healthcare system leverages technology differently, each speaker shared their experiences in structuring CipherOutreach at their respective organizations.

Ben Becker, Director of the Clinical Communication Center at Intermountain Healthcare, spoke about how his organization leverages their centralized nursing call center to address all patient issues triaged by CipherOutreach. With 6-10 registered nurses on shift, Intermountain achieved a median response time of less than one hour from when the patient completed the automated outreach call to when a registered nurse reached out to the patient to address concerns. Without CipherOutreach, up to 44 nurses would be required to execute patient outreach at this scale.

Deb Kilpatrick, Transitional Case Manager on the Care Alliance Services Team at Indiana University (IU) Health, discussed how CipherOutreach empowers her organization to efficiently marshal the correct resources to meet patient needs.

Cathy Smith, Professional Practice Manager and Magnet Program Director at Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, and Margaret Wheeler, Manager of Care Transitions at UCSF Health, shared that overcoming misconceptions associated with the “robo-calls” was an initial barrier for their respective organizations. Both Smith and Wheeler stated that strong leadership commitment to the program, coupled with consistent patient education, were integral in successfully implementing CipherOutreach. They detailed effective strategies to reach a high percentage of their discharged patients, such as providing multi-language options to meet the needs of diverse patient populations. Smith also shared that CipherOutreach’s comprehensive escalation process allows her organization to quickly address and resolve issues by automatically alerting designated members of the interdisciplinary team.

Strategies for Sustained Success
As their CipherOutreach programs continue to evolve, the speakers emphasized the importance of seeking new opportunities to enhance the patient experience. Wheeler highlighted the role of longitudinal outreach in supporting various bundled payment models. Becker discussed the continual rollout of disease- and diagnosis-specific CipherOutreach calls. Smith referred to Ambulatory Surgery Centers as her organization’s next area of focus. Kilpatrick mentioned IU Health’s partnership with CipherHealth to enable her team to directly text patients via SMS.

In their panel discussion, the speakers emphasized the importance of leveraging experienced nursing teams to address the patient issues triaged by CipherOutreach technology. Active listening and echoing patient concerns are critical communication strategies to turn negative patient sentiments into positive experiences. Providing the right resources to empower clinical call back teams in addressing patient issues is the key to success.

Speakers discussed the role of data in enhancing patient outreach over time. By leveraging data to track response rates and common issues, teams can effectively evaluate both issue resolution workflows as well as the call scripts themselves.

The Power of Data
By providing transparency into many different metrics, CipherHealth’s robust reporting can be tailored to provider-specific goals. Program data, such as reach and issue rates, evaluate the organization’s ability to engage and triage patients effectively with scripts. Trending data, which displays the most common patient issues and how quickly the team is able to resolve them, empowers teams with data to optimize staff workflows to best support post-discharge patient needs. Outcomes data, such as readmissions, HCAHPS scores, and returns to the emergency room, demonstrate the effectiveness of CipherOutreach’s automated outreach technology – fostering even greater organizational support.

Kilpatrick discussed the circulation of trending data to unit, site, and system leadership for review of the summarized issues, including both volume and specific content. Smith shared that with the help of CipherHealth’s in-depth reports, her organization identified that heart failure patients often experienced challenges in their transition to home because they didn’t have a scale to measure and trend daily weights. To resolve this, scales are now available for patients to better assist in their recovery at home.

Across all organizations represented on the Driving Excellence in CipherOutreach Panel, the common theme was how they utilize data to track and trend progress towards specific goals. Panelists shared that with the transparency afforded by data, their organizations achieved key performance indicators, such as readmissions reductions and reduced number of patients returning to the Emergency Room. Speakers discussed ways to quantify potential patient safety events, such as medication errors that were prevented as a result of CipherOutreach outreach. Traditionally, this information has been challenging to measure and track since it is typically shared at Safety Huddles in the form of patient stories. Among the panel members, there was uniform agreement that proactive post-discharge follow up is an effective strategy that reduces the likelihood of adverse events once the patient leaves the four walls of the hospital.

To learn more about optimizing patient outcomes throughout the care continuum with automated outreach technology, access our resources and reach out to your Strategic Advisor.

In her role as Market Manager for Hospitals and Health Systems, Lucia Huang, RN, integrates her previous experiences on the front lines of patient care within the broader context of the business of healthcare. She is passionate about empowering nurses to provide the highest quality and experience of patient care through technology. Lucia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Economics from the Wharton School and a BSN from the School of Nursing.