The intersection between health equity and consumerism lies within technology
Over the last few years, healthcare organizations have made significant technology investments to foster a more seamless patient experience. COVID-19 accelerated these efforts as capabilities from virtual care to contactless check-ins became increasingly necessary. At the same time, the disproportionate impact the pandemic had on communities of color reignited focus on the social determinants of health.
Reducing health disparities and bolstering consumer-friendly offerings may sound like competing priorities. However, organizations that identify overlap between these ambitions will most effectively allocate the time and resources each demands and deserves. Multifunctional patient engagement platforms like FollowMyHealth® demonstrate how providers can use a single solution to serve a diverse patient community.
Before the visit
The administrative side of the patient journey, such as the intake process, is often rife with redundancy and inefficiency. With a comprehensive patient engagement platform, however, patients can instead update insurance information and manage co-pays or medication lists online before their appointment. This translates to shorter wait times—a boon to patients and staff members alike.
Patient intake also has great clinical significance, as gathering demographic data provides clinicians context into a patient’s health and wellness. With this in mind, Allscripts worked with the Los Angeles LGBT Center to add fields for sex assigned at birth, administrative sex, sexual orientation and gender identity into the FollowMyHealth Personal Health Record. As a result, the Center’s providers can offer more inclusive and appropriate care. These instances illustrate how innovation can transform the patient experience before patients even set foot in an exam room.
During the visit
Telehealth is another salient example of a tool providers can use to meet a variety of patient needs and preferences. Virtual care options eliminate access barriers for patients who would otherwise need to drive long distances to see a specialist, or for those who cannot afford to arrange childcare.
People who strongly value convenience may also turn to telehealth even after the pandemic to obtain care when and where they prefer. With FollowMyHealth Telehealth, providers can tailor not only the “where” or “when” of care delivery to the patient, but also the “how”: through access to email visits, live video visits and remote patient monitoring, all within the same platform.
FollowMyHealth Universal Queue takes telehealth a step further by granting on-demand access to care for patients with or without an account. Organizations can share their unique landing page across different modalities like social media or text message and connect patients with the first available provider via video visit, bringing a walk-in clinic model online and to the patient.
In the shift to value-based payment models, communication between clinical encounters becomes mission-critical as patient understanding and compliance affects organizations’ bottom lines. For patients with low levels of health literacy, providers can share educational information (in layman’s terms) through the Personal Health Record to improve adherence to care plans.
Gaps-in-Care Outreach through FollowMyHealth adds another layer of convenience for patients between visits. When a gap is identified in the system, a message is sent to the patient via text message with instructions on how to schedule the next appointment. This prompting means busy patients have one less thing to worry about while staying on track with their treatment.
This is personal
These are just a few examples of ways organizations can simultaneously improve health equity and the healthcare consumer experience through the same modalities. As the healthcare landscape evolves, health IT will also need to evolve and expand the reach of clinicians so they can meet patients where they are. For our part, Allscripts will continue innovating to ensure our clients have the tools they need to benefit the health and well-being of all their patients.
For more information on FollowMyHealth, visit https://about.followmyhealth.com/
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