How Technology is Improving the Patient Experience

Technology and patient experienceWe know that our patients want increased convenience and access to their providers. Likewise, our providers appreciate tools that keep patients engaged in their care and overall health. With this, we are continually advancing technology to support our patients, our providers and our communities. Here are some of the ways Altru is utilizing technology to improve the patient experience.

Telehealth
Providing world-class care to the residents of our region requires not only a committed and talented staff, but also the technology to support the care they deliver. Through telemedicine, Altru has expanded into the region in a way we would not be able to with traditional visits.

Our specialists provide care via telemedicine at regional clinics, hospitals and nursing homes, allowing our rural patients to remain close to home. Patients benefit from improved access to the quality, specialized care they have come to expect from Altru. We will provide more than 3,500 telemedicine visits in 2015.

Upcoming Telehealth Services

  • eVisits and Video Visits will soon provide telehealth connections direct to patients at home, work or on their mobile devices. This option might be especially useful for patients with limited mobility, for patients living in rural areas or for visits that don’t require physical interaction. Care related to a specific, non-urgent problem, such as a cough, can be provided through these visits.
  • eConsults are provider-to-provider electronic consultations. eConsults will provide primary care providers access to specialists, helping them to provide advanced care and reducing the need for patients to travel for an appointment with a specialist.
  • Remote patient monitoring automatically uploads information from health devices such as glucometers, blood pressure cuffs and scales into the medical chart for daily review of physical status, helping to keep patients living with medical conditions healthy.

MyHealth
As we look forward, we see the patient playing a bigger role in the management of their health than ever before. We must make it convenient for them to seek care, understand their health picture and communicate with their providers in order to support this change.

MyHealth provides these tools. Our most recent report shows that we have over 72,000 MyHealth users, surpassing our goal of reaching 65,000 users by the end of the year. This proves that our patients are interested in being active participants in their healthcare, and we are constantly evolving MyHealth to allow them to do so. Recent updates to MyHealth include:

  • Medical records can now be requested and released through MyHealth.
  • Patients can schedule and cancel appointments through MyHealth.
  • More content is available, including office visit progress notes, radiology and pathology reports.

Our commitment to advanced technology has been recognized nationally by the American Hospital Association and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. This year, we earned a Most Wired™ award, which recognizes hospitals that leverage information technology to improve performance in the areas of infrastructure, business, quality, safety and clinical integration.

Altru has also recently been designated as a HIMSS Stage 7 facility for both its inpatient and outpatient facilities. Stage 7 healthcare organizations demonstrate superior implementation and utilization of electronic medical record systems, resulting in the true sharing, information exchange and immediate delivery of patient data to improve process performance, quality of care and safety. This designation puts us in the top 1 percent in the country for electronic medical record adoption.

These recognitions highlight Altru’s commitment to technology as a vital component of healthcare, and one that we will continue to focus on in our efforts to provide world-class care to the residents of our region.

Mark WaindMark Waind, CIO is Altru’s Chief Information Officer. In this role, Mark guides the implementation and integration of information technology throughout the health system. Mark is a Certified Healthcare Chief Information Officer, serves as the North Dakota Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) chapter president and is a member of the Minnesota Epic User Group board of directors. Mark is active in the community as an AWANA Leader at Faith Evangelical Free Church. He and his wife, Cindy, have three sons.

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