Patient engagement is a priority at Arnot Health, a regional integrated healthcare system serving patients in northern Pennsylvania and southern New York in the United States.
“We’re absolutely committed to adopting the very best way to deliver the very best care,” said Gregg Martin, chief information officer at Arnot Health. “And this means recognizing that healthcare is not episodic, but something that occurs along the entire continuum, including in the home.”
With various electronic health record (EHR) systems in its three hospitals and 250-member group practice, Arnot needed a solution that worked with disparate systems. It needed a patient portal that was “EHR-agnostic” and could help advance its long-term population health strategies.
Arnot found what it was looking for in Allscripts FollowMyHealthTM. This universal health record enables patients to manage their own information in a secure, online environment. It also delivers harmonized data back to care providers, which they can access from their existing EHR workflow.
EHR-agnostic solution helps patients and providers
When the search for a patient portal began at Arnot, Martin and his team evaluated options from other vendors. “During our search process, we found those portals to be very EHR-centric, built around the vendor’s own EHR—in some cases allowing patients to access only information from their own system,” said Martin.
Patients may receive care at multiple sites within the Arnot system that use different EHRs. With FollowMyHealth, patients can access any of their data from one portal. “It’s so much more valuable, to us and to our patients, to be able to access the information in a single place,” said Martin.
Martin says caregivers at Arnot have embraced FollowMyHealth. “The care team really appreciates the fact that information comes directly into their systems,” he said.
Ready to advance four key population health strategies
Though just getting started with Allscripts FollowMyHealth, Arnot recognizes that it is an important step towards managing health for defined groups of patients. Arnot Health’s future goals include:
1. Meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements.
“We’re supporting electronic communications,” Martin explained, “and are giving patients the ability to request appointments, ask for medication refills and complete other basic tasks.”
2. Activate revenue cycle management functionality. Integrating financial components will enable Arnot’s back office to post billing statements to the patient portal. Patients will be able to check their balances, review charge details and make payments.
3. Enable patients to proactively add health information to their records.
Physicians will be able to ask patients to input blood sugar readings twice a day or log their weight each morning, for example. FollowMyHealth can integrate that data with information in the EHR as part of a trending report. Caregivers can use this information to quickly reach out with reminders, additional instructions or to schedule an office visit if needed.
4. Integrate electronic medical devices at the patient’s home.
FollowMyHealth can capture and upload data from personal medical devices, such as scales and blood pressure monitors, using wireless and other remote-access technologies. Martin admits there are challenges around cost of devices, connectivity and patient comfort with new tools. But he said, “Having access to these sources of information will advance our ability to manage health and disease states immeasurably.”
A big-picture approach to patient engagement
“We’ve been very impressed that Allscripts ‘gets it,’” Martin said. “True patient engagement is not simply represented by a communications portal—it’s about empowering patients and involving them as genuine partners in their care. FollowMyHealth has the capabilities and functionality to help Arnot achieve this.”
You can read more about Arnot Health’s experience in a recent case study.