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and imminent needs while hospital staff can use this real-time information to address patient satisfaction and care priori- ties. This streamlines meaningful-use efforts by automating electronic documentation of patient participation in surveys, routine tests and education requirements.


Interactive systems and meaningful use HITECH specifies the meaningful-use benchmarks necessary for providers and eligible hospitals to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments in three distinct stages. Each builds on the last as the goals and benchmarks become more demanding. A primary criterion of Stage 1 requires eligible hospitals adopt and implement patient- specifi c education curriculums to “more than 10 percent” of their patient population.


Interactive patient-engagement systems can help healthcare organizations satisfy guidelines for patient-specifi c education resources by in- tegrating with an EMR to ensure that patients receive specifi c education resources. This in- terface with an EMR allows nurses and admin- istrators to prescribe or automate customized, condition-specifi c educational plans. Once a patient has participated, the educational session can be documented to the patient record via the EMR. When automated via the interface, this function can save even more valuable clini- cal time. Ultimately, this helps ensure patient comprehension, decreases medical errors, aids in meeting patient and family engagement regulations and helps health providers qualify for reimbursements for EMR implementation as outlined in the American Recovery and Re- investment Act (ARRA).


the strain on traditional care resources continues to increase, care efforts will undoubtedly be pushed to the patients them- selves and/or informal caregivers. Interactive patient educa- tion systems can play an integral role in aiding healthcare organizations in providing consistent, top-quality education and care through the use of their patient-engagement system. The criteria seem predominately focused on healthcare pro- viders, with only an indirect focus on patients and caregivers, but interactive patient-engagement systems may be the one technology that is able to provide this ancillary benefi t to all, allowing for further use of HIT in meaningful ways, leading to signifi cant improvements in healthcare delivery and out- comes. Beyond self-management, this includes the patient engagement needed to make these transitions successful, especially from an outcomes perspective.


A patient uses the TIGR (telephone-initiated guided response) interface.


The challenge is not simply the implementa- tion of EHR technology, but its meaningful use, which entails a host of additional requirements beyond the core patient education feature, such as defi ned menu objectives. Due to bidirectional information gathering through these systems, other objectives this technology provides include: • Electronically record advance directives for patients age 65-plus;


• Record the smoking status of patients over 13; and • Provide an electronic copy of discharge instructions to at least 50 percent of patients who request it. Stage 2 criteria will require advanced clinical processes, including overall quality improvement (patient satisfaction), at the point of care and the ability to share and exchange collective demographic and individual patient data electroni- cally. This meaningful-use Stage 2 implementation paves the way for hospitals to meet benchmarks focusing on improved outcomes, safety, quality and care effi ciencies. The fi nal utilization is found in Stage 3, when meaningful use includes “patient access to self-management tools.” As


www.healthmgttech.com


Interactive systems: a proactive solution Hospitals must adopt practical, proactive approaches to meet existing compliance regulations as well as current and future meaningful-use objectives. Administrators and decision makers must integrate internal applications while positively impacting patient service outcomes. This leads to three positive results: • Adaptability – the ability to adapt to varied data require- ments;


• Independence – the ability to eliminate total reliance on external organizations for goal achievement; and


• Positive patient encounters – the ability to deliver ex- cellent, effi cient healthcare, resulting in high patient satisfaction.


How can these systems meet the fl exible needs of Ameri- ca’s hospitals in different stages of adoption? Like meaningful use, interactive patient engagement is deployed in stages, providing scalability and a more sustainable capital outlay. Optimal solutions facilitate growth in sophistication and


HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY October 2011 11


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