Letting lower readmission rates sync in: Patient portal success at Truman Medical Centers
If you or a loved one had a chronic condition, would you rather manage it on an iPhone or an IV pole? Truman Medical Centers (TMC) is betting you may get better results with the iPhone.
TMC embraced the concept that real health care takes place outside the four walls of the hospital and engaged members with the launch of myTruHealth Cerner’s patient portal,in August 2012. Today, TMC’s initial enrollment of 20 patients has grown to more than 3,000 patients.
Recently, one of those patients enrolled in TMC’s myTruHealth sought treatment at another local facility after experiencing unusual symptoms that warranted a trip to the hospital. An emergency department (ED) provider shared lab results with the patient that revealed a low serum potassium level. The mixture of high blood pressure, low potassium and additional chronic conditions were concerning and typically require at least an overnight stay in a monitored bed.
Using the provider’s iPad, the patient accessed their myTruHealth account and showed the ED staff that his serum potassium and blood pressure results were very close to his baseline levels – which were neatly organized in easy to read trends. With this data readily available, the provider felt comfortable discharging the patient, who agreed to follow up with their primary care provider the next day. For the patient, avoiding the admission saved the additional stress that comes with hospital admissions. For the hospital and those involved in the reimbursement of the patient’s care, they were able to save $1,400 per night – the average cost to have a patient stay overnight in a monitored bed.
myTruHealth has made physician visits more productive as patients come prepared with a better understanding of their own health and questions for their appointment. Physicians appreciate the relationship the portal allows them to build with their patients.
“It allows me to intervene much more quickly, eliminate visits, and reduces the cost of care to the patient,” says Dr. David Voran, informatics director of community and family medicine at TMC. “Patients are much more engaged because they see their conversation as part of the record now.”
TMC’s portal utilization suggest significant saving for all health care, considering half of all U.S. adults suffer from at least one chronic disease. This accounts for 75 percent of the industry’s health care costs. If these 117 million people could avoid even one hospital stay in a monitored bed, costs would decrease by more than $163 billion in a single year.
“We are looking at reducing the number of beds we have and keeping the population healthier,” notes Senior Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Technology, Mitzi Cardenas. “And, with the touch of a button, patients are empowered to do just that, saving money and improving outcomes for themselves and hospitals.”