Join @JennHIStalk and @ThePatientsSide (Amy Gleason, COO of CareSync and White House Champion of Change for Precision Medicine) for a discussion on using healthcare technology to drive patient compliance. Preview #HIStalking discussion questions below and brush up on how to participate in a tweet chat towards the end of this post.
Chronic disease has a huge effect on our healthcare system as a whole. For example, seven out of 10 deaths are due to a chronic disease. Half of Americans have one chronic disease, and 25 percent have two or more. Eighty-six percent of healthcare spending each year is on people with one or more chronic diseases. I have spent most of my career working to automate medical records so that we can become more efficient and provide better care. The dream was to also make life better for patients and clinicians. However, healthcare today is anything but easier, more efficient or effective for patients and clinicians.
Five years ago, my sweet 11 year-old daughter Morgan was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Juvenile Dermatomyositis. We went through the painful experience of being misdiagnosed and struggling to find a diagnosis for one year and three months. The healthcare systems I was so proudly helping to create and implement failed my daughter and her doctors. Instead, her records were fragmented among seven different doctors we saw in that timeframe. None of them could see what the others were doing. We were blindly going from appointment to appointment and not seeing that all of these things were related.
Not only did we contribute to that 86-percent of healthcare spending figure, we contributed to the waste as well. We didn’t mean to, and I know that the vast majority of patients and doctors also don’t want to waste resources, either. However, she would frequently have “just another X-ray” or “just a recheck of labs” because they didn’t have the information available when they were seeing her. Because information wasn’t shared, she required two ER visits that could have been avoided.
Fast forward three years, and my never-a-smoker mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. When she was sent to an oncologist, her pulmonologist sent her records by FedEx to her doctor. They arrived and were signed for, but when my mom got to see the doctor, the records were misplaced and unavailable to her. This trip was in a different state, and she had flown to the visit. Imagine the wasted cost of this visit without the records being available! Thankfully, my mom had her records on her CareSync iPhone app and could share them herself at the visit. For most patients, this is not the reality. My mom only had them because I had gotten the records for her.
I hear a lot about patient “non-compliance” and that this is the reason for a lot of waste. I know there is a lot of “non-compliance” out there. However, I don’t think most patients have really been given the help they need to be compliant. As my family found, it is a lot harder to be “compliant” than you would think. Specialists send you to more specialists who send you back to the original specialist. That process can take weeks and by then you can be in the ER or admitted to the hospital. The orders are saved in the visit, but patients are rarely given clear instructions or guidance.
That being said (my story being told), I am very excited about hosting this month’s #HIStalking chat and getting to discuss these issues with HIStalk readers!
#HIStalking Discussion Questions
Q1 How can we make the confusing healthcare experience easier to navigate for the consumer?
Q2 What successes have you seen in getting patients to be “compliant” and engaged in their own care?
Q3 Other industries have more advanced information exchange. How can we speed up this process in healthcare?
Q4 How can we make medical records easier for doctors and patients to consume instead of for record keeping?
Q5 If you could change one thing in the healthcare experience, what would you change?
Tweet Chat Instructions
It’s easy to join the Twitter conversation by logging into TweetChat, which automatically keeps you in the conversation by tagging all tweets with the #HIStalking hash tag. If you are unable to access the TweetChat room, simply search in Twitter for #HIStalking and follow the conversation. To contribute, be sure and tag your tweets with #HIStalking so they can be seen by other chat participants.