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6/20/2014
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Florida Hospital Shows Power Of Patient Engagement

Florida Hospital Celebration Health uses GetWellNetwork software to improve patient care and build a culture of empowerment.

Engage Patients: 16 Creative Healthcare Strategies
Engage Patients: 16 Creative Healthcare Strategies
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Too often, hospitalized patients are passive participants in their own care. But interactive patient technology is starting to change that. Creating a culture of patient empowerment is a win for patients and providers alike, giving patients greater control and helping educate them about their conditions while also improving health in the general population and enhancing hospitals' satisfaction scores.

Florida Hospital Celebration Health invested in GetWellNetwork as the cornerstone of an ongoing initiative to raise patient satisfaction and the health of the general population, says Sandra Reeder, director of nursing, in an interview. But it took more than simply buying a piece of equipment to transform the hospital's culture.

"The GetWellNetwork is just the technology piece," Reeder explains. "We had to have our culture around the technology. If you don't have the culture, it's not going to move."

[Does your doctor wear Google Glass? Read Google Glass Gains Momentum In Health Care.]

To ensure it had both pieces in place, Florida Hospital Celebration involved key staff members early, Debbie Laughon, director of professional development and clinical excellence, says. The Nurse Practice Council, for example, helped develop content for GetWellNetwork, explained the technology to peers, and worked with the steering committee and "super users" to advocate the approach and technology across the hospital.

Florida Hospital delivers GetWellNetwork's platform via patients' in-room television sets. When a hospital employee enters a room, for example, his or her name appears on the patient's TV screen. This personalized technology, which is customized upon a patient's admission, also displays options such as meal menus. It allows patients to contact hospital departments such as nurses, technical support staff for TV or phone problems, and the nutrition department for meal issues or special requests. The system tracks requests, compliments, and complaints, Laughon says, and the hospital uses this data for employee training, personnel allocation, and human resources.

Terrie Ambrogio (L) and Sandra Reeder (R) ensure patients have a voice in their care at Florida Hospital Celebration Health. (Image: InformationWeek)
Terrie Ambrogio (L) and Sandra Reeder (R) ensure patients have a voice in their care at Florida Hospital Celebration Health.
(Image: InformationWeek)

Each quarter, she adds, Florida Hospital Celebration uses GetWellNetwork data to recognize nurses with DAISY Awards, given for outstanding service to patients and their families. While the ability to reward nurses for providing extraordinary care is one reason caregivers have embraced the program, she says, GetWellNetwork also reduces the workload. When patients can directly contact departments for needs such as blankets, water, or TV assistance, nurses can spend more time on medical tasks that require their special training.

Terrie Ambrogio, a staff nurse at Florida Hospital Celebration Health, agrees. "It takes away a lot of [time spent] running out, making phone calls, then waiting for the call back." Because nurses are no longer involved, the number of service calls has been cut in half. Engineering calls typically get a response within an hour instead of much longer, Ambrogio notes, and nutritionists often respond to patients' calls within five minutes.

Better still, the hospital's heart failure readmission rates dropped 49.4%, and staff responsiveness increased 9.5%.

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Alison Diana has written about technology and business for more than 20 years. She was editor, contributors, at Internet Evolution; editor-in-chief of 21st Century IT; and managing editor, sections, at CRN. She has also written for eWeek, Baseline Magazine, Redmond Channel ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/30/2014 | 7:16:22 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
@tzubair, that is kind of why I asked.  I can see some people being incredibly sensitive and flooding the various departments with requests.  Having a nurse to filter those requests would be valuable for those patients.  I know a couple of people that are impossible to deal with when they are healthy, I'd hate to see them with access to a system that was designed to give them power over everyone around them.
glenbren
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glenbren,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/29/2014 | 11:05:02 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
I think it would also be a big help to other family members or caregivers to have access to this information, so they wouldn't have to rely on the patient's memory, and not have to bother the doctors/nurses themselves. 
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 8:17:15 PM
Re: Getting everyone involved
@SaneIT: I'm not sure about it but I do think that there's a chance that this system might not produce the desired results. While the technology may be there, it may be difficult to induce the DIY behavior amongst the patients. Particularly, you have to note the fact that most patients are not really in a mental state during their hospitals to learn something new. They'd rather stick to the conventional ways of leaving everything to the nurses.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
6/27/2014 | 8:07:51 PM
Re: Getting everyone involved
"Florida Hospital uses its patient portal extensively. After they leave, patients can log on for videos and post-release treatment reminders."

@Alison: I really like this concept and I think it can be quite useful to patients. I do understand that many a times patients tend to forget the instructions from the doctors about the care they need to take and the medicines. However, these videos should be made accessible through an app on the phone along with adequate measures for privacy.
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 5:12:41 PM
Re: Getting everyone involved
@allison I was wondering about the technologically challenged patient . Thx for clearing it up. I like the fact that a human health professional can be reached when the patient is nervous about technology
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
6/27/2014 | 5:07:33 PM
power of Patient Engagement
Very very interesting concept. especially doctors videotaping the release instruction. Half the calls attended by nurses r by patients who are confused about the instructions, this really frees the nurses to use their skills more productively
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
6/25/2014 | 10:28:02 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
I did not speak to facilities so I can't speak for them but they would get the calls anyway: Now patients, not nurses, contact them so they're still getting the calls (usually via the TV screen, backed by GetWellNetworks, so it's not a phone call, per se). It's an accountable system so all departments are measured. That is, if patients call multiple times, this info is recorded and each month managers discuss the results so I'd imagine slackers aren't thrilled. But as i said in the article, Florida Hospital opted to reward those who do a good or great job. I believe (although I am not 100% on this) that the reward system in place for nurses is duplicated throughout the hospital so similar programs exist for facilities, etc. And of course, managers take into account a patient who buzzes five times in 10 minutes... some things just aren't going to happen!

The nurses I spoke to LOVE the system: I conducted these interviews on-site, which was wonderful, because I could actually see the nurses as I spoke to them. For one thing, they can now focus more attention on NURSING. They no longer have to spend a lot of their time doing things like calling facilities about TVs, phones, etc., since patients are in control of those items themselves. The reward system recognizes them for their work. And they often don't have to repeat information over and over, since patients can replay a vidoe or read over directions from their doctors for themselves.

Of course, if a patient prefers a nurse to do all this, the nurse will have to do it. I did ask about those patients who are less technically astute or less confident. In most cases, they actually prefer the GetWellNetwork, the nurses told me, because it's like ordering a pizza from an interactive display: You're not having to ask a live person for something. But they can continue to do things the old-fashioned way: Ring their call button and ask a nurse for XYZ.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/25/2014 | 7:19:24 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
That's interesting to hear.  So, how do the various departments feel about this?  Does the facilities team get tired of being called every time someone is a little cold?  Do patients still funnel the majority of the issues through the nurses?  I could see the more confident patients doing this all themselves but I could also see a high number of patients who will just go straight to the nurse as a one stop shop.  Does this make things easier for nurses?  Does it lighten their workload?
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
6/24/2014 | 10:36:58 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
I iike the concept some doctors and hospitals are adopting of videotaping their release instructions. These are not sophisticated videos: they're often done on smartphones, then sent to the patient's phone (using the appropriate software). I don't know about you, but I don't always remember half of the doctor's instructions!

Florida Hospital uses its patient portal extensively. After they leave, patients can log on for videos and post-release treatment reminders. Since the hospital has a pharmacy on-site, they also can leave with all their medication prescriptions filled already, which I think is a nice touch. I recall having had surgery and needing to get the scripts filled... it was not fun!
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
6/24/2014 | 10:34:03 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
I think most of the benefits come because patients feel in more control over things they previously had zero control over -- especially things that were not medical but were highly related to comfort. So instead of using nurses to funnel all requests -- the old way of doing business -- patients now can deal directly with whatever department is responsible for fixing the problem such as facilities (if there's a spill in the room), the electronics folk (if the TV isn't working), or nurses (if they're in pain). Of course, they can still ring the nurse button if they want, but a lot of patients would rather push the appropriate button for whatever it is they need.
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