Improving Patient Experience: Sharing patient data for medication management

Miriam Isola, DrPH CPHIMS, David Troiano, RPh, MSIA, CPPS, Kathy Schneider, PhD

Previously we have written about the importance of patient engagement and activation to improve patient health outcomes.  Along with outcomes, the patient experience is enhanced through a collaborative approach with their care team and tools to support monitoring and positive health behavior changes.  We have also talked about the need for providers to have timely and accurate information regarding patient health. Both collaborative communications and data sharing specifically related to medication use are fundamental components of improving the patient experience.

Appropriate medication use is essential for managing many chronic conditions, including diabetes, asthma and heart disease.  However, there is not a simple solution to ensure patients receive the prescriptions, education, and support needed to maintain the desired medication therapy. Medication therapy management is a complex issue that encompasses: 1) evidence-based clinical guidelines for the pharmaceutical management of the condition, 2) provider prescribing the recommended medication and the correct dosing, 3) provider verifying the patient is not taking any contraindicated medications, 4) the patient obtaining the prescribed medication, and 5) the patient taking the medication as prescribed (and continuing to do so for the duration of therapy).  Getting all of these steps right is critical to optimal medication therapy management and to avoid issues such as:

  • Polypharmacy -taking five or more medications, many for the same condition.  This can lead to an increased incidence of drug interactions, side effects, and adverse reactions. 

  • Medication errors– not using a medication as intended is a significant source of harm.

  • Patient adherence -lack of adherence often results in suboptimal disease control.

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Farewell to 2016 – and Moving Ahead to 2017

Sum-IT Health Analytics is completing its first full year of operation! We have been fortunate to work with several different hospitals and healthcare organizations during 2016.  Each new experience enables us to build relationships as we learn about your successes and challenges in being data-driven.  We are privileged to witness exceptional leadership and devotion to high quality patient care that has been so apparent in our meetings. 

In 2016, Sum-IT wrote White Papers on vital topics to help our clients to build analytic capabilities.  These include:

  • Population Health – the importance of taking a Public Health approach

  • Patient Engagement and Activation: the last mile towards healthier outcomes

  • Patient Complexity and Population Stratification Strategies

Patient Complexity and Population Stratification Strategies

The prevalence of multiple chronic conditions is significant, and must factor into strategies for effectively managing care for patient populations.  However, the presence of chronic disease is not the only meaningful way to risk stratify this particular patient population.  Caring for your population doesn’t begin with a risk score; it begins with a clear objective for the scoring strategy.  The risk score cannot be the sole driver in caring for the population, but rather it is a key metric to use for population segmentation and refining strategies that ultimately lead to the appropriate plan of care.

Patient Engagement and Activation: the last mile towards healthier outcomes

In an earlier paper we discussed the benefits of incorporating a public health approach as healthcare providers build programs for population health management.  We can use analytics to develop risk segmentations of our population and predictive models so we can target patients with personalized interventions.  At the same time, we know that healthy behaviors can account for 30% of health outcomes, therefore, it is imperative that we find a way to engage and activate patients so that they have the knowledge, skills, and support to make behavior changes that will lead to better health. 

Population Health – the importance of taking a Public Health approach

The healthcare industry is experiencing a growing realization and acceptance of the importance of patient-centered care with a focus on health and wellness.  This movement is described as a shift toward population health.  Along with promoting access to medical care, one of the major thrusts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to transition from an illness-based medical system that treats sick people, to one with a primary focus of keeping people healthy. 

Bottom-Up Strategies for Improving Quality and Reducing Costs – why delay ROI?

Now that investments have been made and electronic medical records (EMRs) are prevalent throughout the US healthcare system, healthcare organizations (HCOs) are challenged to get value from their investments.  EMRs not only digitize patient information, they function as data collection tools, helping to structure patient information and they have some obvious benefits such as: