Epic is an Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor looking to bridge the gap between patients’ device app data and the patient health record. Patients can integrate data tracked on Apple iPhone devices into Epic’s MyChart patient portal. With an active MyChart account, patients can sync data to the EHR for providers to review.
For example, let’s say I am a patient with hypertension and I’m on a new medication. I’m interested in monitoring how that medication impacts my health over the next month. Epic’s Apple integration enables me to track my vital signs and share that information with my provider. An in-office visit isn’t required, nor is sending the information via fax or postal mail. My provider will already have that data by the time I have my next follow-up visit.
The Benefits of a Patient-Generated Health Data Strategy
Technology that supports bringing patient-sourced data into healthcare assessments poses benefits to both providers and patients. Providers can more easily track and monitor patients between visits. This offers clinicians a fuller picture of a patient’s health beyond lab results, problem lists, allergies, and medications. Patient lifestyle data beyond the walls of institutionalized care can reveal where patients can improve their habits.
Patient involvement in personal health monitoring between visits promotes patient accountability in reaching health goals. If I’m an overweight patient with a weight reduction goal, for example, my doctor can recommend I use Fitbit to track step data. I can review that data and provide feedback to my provider on whether I’m reaching my daily goals or not.
Wearables and personal tracking devices drive patient accountability with empirical data that is captured automatically. Patients become more active participants in their health and in the creation of their health record.
Both patients and providers benefit from improved access to quantifiable health information. Shared visibility into patient health trends over time improves patient access and engagement, mitigates trust issues, and strengthens the patient/provider relationship.
Considerations When Integrating Patient-Generated Health Data
While the integration of patient-sourced data into EHRs encourages patient engagement and accountability, it also comes with unique challenges. Here are a few key considerations healthcare organizations need to address along their journey.
Promoting the availability of device data integration is key to usage. To build awareness, healthcare organizations may set up “health bars” in waiting rooms or lobbies to offer patients a tangible experience. These health bars feature devices like iPads, iPhones, and Fitbits with information on the various integration points available to patients.
Patient Technical Aptitude
Another hurdle healthcare organizations may face when rolling out device data integration is patient technical aptitude. Support teams dedicated to helping less tech-savvy patients successfully sync devices can help drive adoption.
Driving provider awareness and adoption of device data integration is another challenge healthcare organizations may need to tackle. Clinicians need to be aware of the offering, how to make it available to their patients, and how to use the information when received. Educating providers on the how, what and why through tip sheets, medical staff meetings, and other venues is essential. Clinicians should also be careful to not promote any particular brand.
Healthcare organizations are seeking to further engage patients outside the office. EHR integration with patient devices is a smart step down the path to further patient engagement. Advancements in technology from companies can also help providers meet value-based care goals and improve patient outcomes.
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