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Stage 2 Meaningful Use Drives Patient Engagement Forward

By Vera Gruessner

- Healthcare organizations around the country are focusing on increasing patient engagement with their medical care and overall wellness through the adoption of telemedicine tools, mobile health applications, and patient portals. The federal government is also pushing forward patient engagement objectives under Stage 2 and Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.

Telehealth Technology and Patient Engagement

To gather one healthcare provider’s perspective on patient engagement, mHealthIntelligence.com spoke with John Matsinger, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Virtua.

mHealthIntelligence.com: “What led you to adopt telehealth technology at Virtua?”

John Matsinger: “I know that Teladoc was our most recent announcement, but we’ve actually had a telehealth platform at Virtua for more than ten years. We were one of the first programs in the country for teleneurology.”

“We also have telepsychiatry and we use telehealth with our community-based nursing care for certain issues like congestive heart failure and emphysema control. Teladoc was the most recent telehealth platform adoption for us.”

mHealthIntelligence.com: “What do you feel are the biggest benefits of telemedicine? Are there any disadvantages?”

John Matsinger: “The greatest benefits are really looking at making sure there is access to care at the right place, the right time, and at the right cost while recognizing the patient’s convenience. Technology changes so rapidly and the way we deliver care is also changing.  Like everything else in our society, things are becoming more mobile and this is our opportunity to align patient care with emerging technology.”

“We have to make sure that we do this in the right format and that the patient care is appropriate at the appropriate levels. If someone truly has an emergency and needs to be seen right away, this can be accomplished with our emergency room physicians, our urgent care physicians, and our primary care physicians. We are planning to use Teledoc for things that can be addressed via a mobile health platform.”

mHealthIntelligence.com: “Is your organization focused on increasing patient engagement and meeting the patient portal objectives under Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements?”

John Matsinger: “Absolutely. We are definitely involved in patient engagement. We have an active patient portal and plan to introduce a more robust portal in the next year or so; it’s under development now. Meaningful Use Stage 2 is active now and we’re currently preparing for Stage 3 requirements.”

mHealthIntelligence.com: “What advice would you offer providers that are implementing a telehealth platform and improving patient engagement?”

John Matsinger:  With any telehealth initiative, the most crucial objective is making sure that the staff is fully educated and understands the policies, procedures, and protocols.”

”You must also do a good job working with your patients and your customers so that they fully understand what issues can be addressed via telehealth. Helping educate everyone involved is important.”

“For patient engagement, it’s the same thing. Understanding the importance of the portal, understanding the information that can be there, and how to improve healthcare and make it more convenient.”  

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