HIMSS 2017: Culture, Technology Drive Shifts in Patient Engagement

IT is helping organizations like Holy Redeemer Health System add a more personal touch to care efforts.

When it comes to optimizing the patient experience, Holy Redeemer Health System’s Chris Holt believes in a three-layered approach.

At the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2017 conference in Orlando, Fla., this week, Holt, who serves as chief experience officer for the suburban Philadelphia organization, told an education session audience that ensuring quality and safety — essentially meeting basic needs — should be the first layer, followed by efficient service delivery.

The third layer, she stressed, is about delivering something unexpected that shows your organization relates to people more personally.

“It’s not just about meeting the service needs and providing good, quality service and being nice,” Holt said. “It’s really about understanding people at an individual level and translating that through the experiences they have.”

Building Relationships

Technology plays a big role moving the needle on that third layer at Holy Redeemer, according to Holt. “Most of our technology is infused into our experiences” through construction and design, she said. “When we reimagine a space, we have an architect and an interior designer on the team, and we set the table with IT to help pull the vision together.”

The organization’s transformation center, which houses several physician offices, imaging and lab services, also relies on software that staffers at the front desk can use to offer a more personalized greeting experience.

“One of the important things if you’re trying to do something unexpected is to remember something about me as a patient,” Holt said. “Each of our jobs in the big vision is to be a relationship builder.”

Additionally, each exam room offers patients the ability to pick their own waiting music and control the volume, and a waiting room houses a virtual fish tank to entertain children.

“Most of the time when I’m there, it’s children that are using that technology — feeding the fish, changing the background. It’s a better use of space and it’s a neat way to give people something surprising that they don’t expect in today’s world in healthcare.”

Work Remains

Patients, in general, have become more engaged with their providers in recent years, according to the results of CDW Healthcare’s 2017 Patient Engagement Study. Nancy Ragont, senior manager for customer insights at CDW Healthcare, presented the study at the session and noted that 70 percent of patients said they’ve become more engaged with their healthcare during the last two years, up from 57 percent in 2016.

Still, Ragont said, only 29 percent of patients gave their providers an A grade for using technology to interact with them. “At the end of the day, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

To that end, Ragont said, it’s important for more organizations to view improvements to engagement the way Holy Redeemer does — as both a technological and cultural shift.

“At Holy Redeemer, we really feel we’re in the life and the health business,” Holt said. “That sets the tone for our vision when we talk about things like patient engagement and experience.”

Read articles and check out videos from HealthTech’s coverage of HIMSS 2017 here.

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Feb 23 2017