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eHealth Literacy: Patient Engagement in Identifying Strategies to Encourage Use of Patient Portals Among Older Adults

Eboni G. Price-Haywood, Jewel Harden-Barrios, Qingyang Luo, Robin Ulep

Population Health Management Journal Volume: 20 Issue 6: December 1, 2017

Innovations in chronic disease management are growing rapidly as advancements in technology broaden the scope of tools. Older adults are less likely to be willing or able to use patient portals or smartphone apps for health-related tasks. The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of older adults (ages ≥50) with hypertension or diabetes to examine relationships between portal usage, interest in health-tracking tools, and eHealth literacy, and to solicit practical solutions to encourage technology adoption. Among 247 patients surveyed in a large integrated delivery health system between August 2015 and January 2016, eHealth literacy was positively associated with portal usage (OR [95% CI]: 1.3 [1.2–1.5]) and interest in health-tracking tools (1.2 [1.1–1.3]). Portal users compared to nonusers (N = 137 vs.110) had higher rates of interest in using websites/smartphone apps to track blood pressure (55% vs. 36%), weight (53% vs. 35%), exercise (53% vs. 32%), or medication (46% vs 33%, all P < 0.05). Portal users noted cumbersome processes for accessing portals and variations in provider availability for online scheduling and response times to messages. Portal nonusers expressed concerns about data security, lack of personalization, and limited perceived value of using portals. Both groups noted the importance of computer literacy and technical support. Patient stakeholders recommended marketing initiatives that capture patient stories demonstrating real-life applications of what patients can do with digital technology, how to use it, and why it may be useful. Health systems also must screen for eHealth literacy, provide training, promote proxy users, and institute quality assurance that ensures patients’ experiences will not vary across the system.

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eHealth Literacy: Patient Engagement in Identifying Strategies to Encourage Use of Patient Portals Among Older Adults

February 5, 2020 – It’s no secret that hospitals are facing mounting pressures. While demands on the system are going up due to trends like an aging population and changing technology, hospital budgets are going down. Hospitals are struggling to keep up and the situation is only projected to get worse.

In the face of these challenges, healthcare leaders are looking for better ways to optimize hospital operations and ensure optimal patient outcomes. The challenge, however, has been finding a solution that is sustainable, cost effective and future proof.

At HealthHub, we think the solution lies in the patients themselves – through patient engagement.

Patient engagement involves providing patients with access to the right information at the right time. It means connecting patients to their healthcare providers and systems. And, it means supporting patients along the way with the right tools, controls and entertainment to make their journey as seamless and as frictionless as possible.

Although decades ago, it was thought that patients should be kept in the dark about their own health, we now know that when patients are engaged, everyone wins.

In fact, when patients are enabled with the right information, they become better informed, more empowered, and more engaged in their own care – all of which lead to better health outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system.

Engaged patients mean that doctors can do more doctoring, nurses can do more nursing and administrators can focus on delivering added value to the system.

So, just how can we facilitate patient engagement? By bringing the hospital to the patient’s bedside.

Of the 5.8 days the average Canadian patient stays in hospital, most of this time is spent alone, often watching a bedside TV. At HealthHub, we recognized this as an opportunity for innovation. In fact, we’ve developed a new bedside terminal platform, called myHealthHub, that replaces outdated TVs to deliver a powerful patient engagement solution.

Our platform not only enables patients to be entertained through features like on-demand TV and Wi-Fi, but it also allows patients to stay engaged with family, friends, community, hospital and – most importantly – their own care, through a suite of patient engagement applications.

By taking a patient-centered approach, we’re helping to bring the hospital to the bedside and transform the patient experience.

HealthHub is investing significantly to improve the experience of the Canadian patient and, in 2019, launched our all-new myHealthHub
patient engagement platform, along with making other company changes (see image below).

What’s more is that the benefits don’t stop at the patient. The benefits of our bedside patient engagement platform extend beyond the patient and to healthcare providers.

Let’s take one example. So many times, nurses report that they feel as if they’re the captain of their patient’s journey. In addition to providing caregiving and companionship, nurses are relied on to respond to a wide range of patient requests – dim the lights, order meals, adjust environmental controls and so on. If patients had the right technology at their bedside, providing them with better control over simple things like their environment or food orders, imagine what it would mean for both nurses and patients? Patients would have more agency and nurses could focus on providing care and companionship – the things that have been proven to help people heal faster.

Bedside patient engagement technology also aligns with the current global shift towards valuing patient outcome and experience over simply patient flow. Rather than focus on how quickly patients can be moved through a hospital, decision-makers are looking at the patient journey through a more holistic lens and working to improve it. This is in part because it’s the right thing to do and in part because patients are demanding it. As our world becomes more digitally-enabled, patients expect hospitals to be equipped with the latest technology and they expect connectivity – even from their hospital bed.

In summary, as pressures mount for hospitals to operate more efficiently, provide excellent patient experiences and deliver optimal health outcomes, we think the future lies in the hands of the patients. By unlocking new possibilities that come along with patient engagement, everyone wins. We’ve already seen proof that bedside patient engagement technology can transform patient experiences and outcomes – and we’ve only just begun.

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To learn more about myHealthHub, please visit www.healthhubsolutions.ca/myhealthhub

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