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Study: 8 in 10 Consumers Prefer Mobile Communication to Office Visit

November 29, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Consumers are overwhelmingly gravitating toward digital channels like online portals and mobile apps to connect with their healthcare providers when offered, according to a new study from business and technology consultancy West Monroe Partners.

According to the study, 86 percent of consumers who have access to online portals use them for some or all of their communication with their healthcare provider, while 91 percent use mobile apps when they are available. In addition, nearly one-third (31 percent) of consumers have used a mobile application to communicate with their healthcare provider in real time about a specific condition. Overall, 80 percent of customers who have communicated real-time via a mobile app prefer this method to a traditional office visit.

The study, “No More Waiting Room: The Future of the Healthcare Customer Experience,” highlights how consumer preferences are shifting away from traditional office visits, toward more digital, mobile interactions. These changing habits are especially apparent among younger, tech-native consumers who view their healthcare experience as more than an annual checkup, but rather an ongoing, digitally connected relationship with their providers. However, healthcare providers and insurers are not prepared to meet these evolving needs, the report revealed.

Indeed, the research found that while consumers’ expectations of the healthcare experience are rapidly changing, healthcare executives don’t feel prepared to meet their needs. According to the study, 85 percent of healthcare insurance executives aren’t confident they have the right technology in place to evolve the customer experience to meet consumer expectations and 54 percent aren’t confident they have the processes needed to evolve that experience.

Healthcare insurance executives are also challenged by consumers’ reluctance to share personal data with them. Given the volume, scale and visibility of healthcare-based cyberattacks over the past few years, less than half of consumers (48 percent) completely trust their provider with their personal information. In many instances, consumers are willing to overcome their privacy concerns if rewarded with better rates and a higher quality of service. However, only eight percent of healthcare insurers offer discounted rates in exchange for participation, while none offer direct discounts on products or services.

“Healthcare providers realize the impact of digital communication channels and are beginning to adapt,” Will Hinde, senior director at West Monroe Partners and leader of the firm’s Healthcare practice, said in a statement. “We’re starting to see more providers incorporate the digital experience with their office visit, by shifting to more online scheduling of appointments, paperless office interactions, following up via email, portals, and mobile apps, and taking steps towards greater cost and quality transparency.”

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LabCorp Joins Apple Health Records Project

November 5, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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LabCorp, a provider of clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services, has announced that it has enabled Apple’s Health Records feature for its patients.

This iPhone feature aims to make it easier for LabCorp patients to access their LabCorp laboratory test results, along with other available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose, according to officials.

In January, Apple announced that it would be testing the Health Records feature out with 12 hospitals, inclusive of some of the most prominent healthcare institutions in the U.S. Since that time, more than 100 new organizations have joined the project,  according to Apple.

LabCorp test results are viewable in the Apple Health app for LabCorp patients who have an account with the company, and enable integration with the Health Records app. In addition to their LabCorp test results, patients will have information from participating healthcare institutions organized into one view, covering allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated, and the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, according to officials.

“LabCorp on Health Records will help provide healthcare consumers with a more holistic view of their health. Laboratory test results are central to medical decision making, and broadening access to this information will help patients take charge of their health and wellness, and lead to more informed dialogues between patients and their healthcare providers,” David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, said in a statement.

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HIMSS Analytics Introduces Infrastructure Adoption Model for Health Systems

October 25, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Adoption Model, or INFRAM, which is designed to measure the technical infrastructure used within a health system.

The INFRAM focuses on five technical subdomains, allowing organizations to benchmark how their infrastructure operates within the following areas: mobility; security; collaboration; transport; and data center.

Similar to HIMSS Analytics’ well-known Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, or, EMRAM, the INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities required to reach their facility’s clinical and operational goals, while meeting industry benchmarks and standards.  The final stage, Stage 7, guides organizations towards optimized information integration, contextualization and orchestration essential for the delivery of higher order local and virtualized care processes.

For reference purposes, Stage 0 on the model represents that an organization does not have a VPN, intrusion detection/prevention, security policy, data center or compute architecture. Stage 3 signifies that an organization has an advanced intrusion prevention system, while Stage 5 represents having video on mobile devices, location-based messaging, firewall with advanced malware protection, and real-time scanning of email hyperlinks.

HIMSS officials note that by identifying specific benchmarks for organizations to reach before they go live with EMR, systems, the INFRAM aims to ensure that a health system’s infrastructure is stable, manageable and extensible. Through this, organizations can ideally improve care delivery and create a pathway for infrastructure development tied to business and clinical outcomes.

 “The INFRAM is a welcome addition to our maturity model suite and addresses a longstanding need – guiding healthcare organizations in securely implementing the infrastructure with which their EMRs are built upon,” Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “We have seen health systems engage with advanced clinical applications, only for them to ‘glitch’ under infrastructure that isn't powerful enough to support their tools. With the INFRAM, healthcare providers can develop a detailed, strategic technology plan that defines their organization's current state, desired future state, and each stage in between to achieve their clinical and operational goals.”

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Clinical Team Communication and Data Access in the Palm of Your Hand

Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CT

Eisenhower Health, a west coast-based Magnet Hospital, implemented an enterprise-wide solution enabling mobile communications and collaboration across all care teams, linking the entire enterprise, advancing its communications capabilities, creating access to an enterprise directory, and improving care team response and turnaround times.

Additionally, the system provided extensive and comprehensive reporting with data analytics showing where and to what extent response improvements were made, but also providing the information the hospital needed to better utilize the system and make adjustments to improve results.

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