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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%.

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

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
6/24/2014 | 7:26:58 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
I agree with you somewhat but I look at it this way.  Even if a patient doesn't understand the information it does open up lines of communication and gives them a prompt for conversation with medical staff.  Even if you don't know what all the words mean it is important to know what is happening even if it is just for being able to explain it to another doctor later.  I know several people who have told me that they were diagnosed with a condition and when we got deeper into the conversation I realized that it wasn't what they were diagnosed with.  They were mixing up terms that sounded similar.  In day to day life it probably wouldn't do much damage aside from arguments about the definition of their condition.  The problem arises when they have an emergency and give medical personnel bad information.  I'm not saying the system is perfect and that it will educate everyone but I think it is better than what I have seen in the past in terms of spreading good information to patients.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2014 | 3:58:18 AM
Re: 360 Degree Healthcare
"the only downside is that hospitals will have to spend time, passing on a clear message to the patients that it's an invite for collaboration -- not an invite to practice medicine during their stay"

@Brian: I don't think it will take a lot to bring about a change in the behavior of patients where they'd want to collaborate with the doctors and the hospital staff. I do agree that they might feel that they're more empowered and can take decisions on their own given that they have so much informtation, but you're right that has to be curtailed.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
6/24/2014 | 2:19:51 AM
Re: Getting everyone involved
"  Putting this kind of information in front of a patient means that the experience will go more smoothly and they will leave with a better understanding of what was done while they were admitted."

@SaneIT: I agree that transparency about what's going on with the treatment might be a very useful feature for the patients but there might another side to it. Some patients might not fully understand the information they recive and might interpret it in their own ways. Some might even get scared of it. I think it's essential to ensure that only the information that's easy to understand and will not scare the patients away should be displayed.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/23/2014 | 7:41:35 AM
Getting everyone involved
I can see some benefits of a patient knowing what is going on even without being a health care professional.  Not many people enjoy being in a hospital and just being there tends to stress people out.  Giving them more information but not overwhelming them means that when they leave that they will be more likely to stay engaged and be aware of their health.  So many times when you visit someone in a hospital you hear that the patient is waiting on something or other and they really aren't sure what they are waiting on.  Putting this kind of information in front of a patient means that the experience will go more smoothly and they will leave with a better understanding of what was done while they were admitted.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Ninja
6/22/2014 | 2:24:58 PM
Re: 360 Degree Healthcare
The results speak for themselves with all the saved time, faster responses, and  the hospital's heart failure readmission rates drop of nealry 50%. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
6/21/2014 | 6:43:08 AM
360 Degree Healthcare
If the patient is involved in their treatment, then it makes the entire process efficient. The patient knows what the healthcare physician is trying to accomplish, the means by which they hope to accomplish the treatment and the active participation level that will be required by the patient to help the physician accomplish these goals, as quickly as possible. The patient's morale will also be boosted, because during in-house hospital recovery, they would gain a sense of learning something new.

Overall, it a collaborative system, the only downside is that hospitals will have to spend time, passing on a clear message to the patients that it's an invite for collaboration -- not an invite to practice medicine during their stay.   
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