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Patient Engagement Initiatives Draw Interest in Louisiana

- As the healthcare industry adopts remote monitoring technologies, health IT systems, electronic patient records, and mobile devices as a way to improve the quality of medical care, the patient population will need to better understand the needs for these tools and how it can benefit their health in the long-term. As such, patient engagement initiatives are growing across the nation.

Patient Engagement Programs

One state that’s shown greater enthusiasm for patient engagement initiatives is Louisiana. The Shreveport Times reports the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals along with the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum have begun a statewide practice of teaching patients and families about the importance of health IT systems and the need to view personal electronic health information in order to better adhere to medications, appointments, and other medical necessities. Patient engagement initiatives aimed at improving patient access to medical data are expected to improve overall wellness and health outcomes.

This particular patient engagement program is called ‘Your Health in Your Hands’ and it was initially started on August 1, 2015. This is the first state to take part in a statewide program meant to encourage greater engagement among patients and families with their medical care.

“The ‘Your Health in Your Hands’ campaign is another tool we’re using to make sure Louisianans know that health IT improvements can directly improve their quality of care,” DHH Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert told the news source. “Louisiana is one of the country’s leaders in health IT, and this campaign keeps that trend going.”

One major aspect of this patient engagement campaign is the website developed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals called Make My Health. Through this site, patients, caregivers, and families are able to find valuable information and resources regarding their care.

The website details the use of patient portals, statewide health information exchanges, electronic medical records, and other health IT systems. In addition to this information, the Make My Health website provides a list of patient rights such as how to request copies of medical records and how to use the data to improve their overall health.

“This is something that no other state has yet attempted,” Cindy Munn, CEO of the Quality Forum, told the source. “We are very excited and proud that Louisiana is leading the way and receiving so much positive national attention for these efforts.”

This particular patient engagement program has been funded through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Patient engagement initiatives like these are meant to improve healthcare delivery and the quality of patient care by integrating health IT tools.

Currently, there are a wide variety of hospital systems that are adopting patient engagement initiatives. The Geisinger Health System, for example, is using mobile apps, smartphones, and tablets to better engage with their patients, according to a company press release. The organization is currently using text message reminders, mobile apps, and patient portals to help patients who are undergoing surgery.

“Digital patient engagement and mobile technology will play increasingly important roles in the advancement of the value care agenda in health care,” Medical Director Jonathan Slotkin, M.D., a spinal neurosurgeon, stated in the press release. “The value equation means providing superior outcomes with improved cost efficiency.  Geisinger is now applying the same reproducible rigor traditionally reserved for quality improvement work to the important area of patient experience.  Digital and mobile technology will be crucial as we aim to 'hardwire' excellent patient experience.”

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