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Enterprise portals improving patient engagement for meaningful use

With Google Health canceled, hospital and provider portals will be main patient engagement tools moving into meaningful use stage 2.

The best positioned hospitals and health systems are those with strategies to change the way care is provided. Hospital leaders recognize that improving patient engagement and patient-centered care requires providing patients with an online experience. This is necessary because oftentimes patients and their family caregivers are not in front of their provider or even in the provider's facilities. Patients are increasingly expecting the same modern conveniences commonly found in other aspects of their lives.

Christina Beach ThielstChristina Beach Thielst

Enterprise-wide portals offer a platform for the integration of disparate patient/consumer-facing information systems and can scale to accommodate management of condition-specific or general populations. They can personalize access to health records, education, self-management tools, social networking and support opportunities. Enterprise portals also support more transparent communication with patients and families about care transition and treatment processes.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Care About Your Care Initiative, 80% of patients discharged from the emergency department don't understand their home care instructions. An enterprise portal could reduce this percentage by supporting and enhancing the education offered during treatment through delivery of relevant information via the patient's preferred communication channel. This information can be delivered in a variety of formats -- text, graphic, video, audio and interactive. The portal could also facilitate the use of evidence-based techniques, such as the teach-back method or closed-loop communications, as well as create a documented trail of information accessed by the patients and/or their caregiver as questions arise.

About the author:
Christina Thielst, FACHE, is vice president of Tower, a patient experience consulting group for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email editor@searchhealthit.com, or contact @SearchHealthITon Twitter.

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