Many of us have seen and tried to describe what has been a decade long transition from the hospital being at the center of the healthcare ecosystem to finally, a focus on putting the patient at the center of care. Standards have evolved and most (if not all) organizations have embraced an electronic health record (EHR). It is these systems of record that allow us to now embrace patient-centered care – but how do we get the right information, to the right care team, at the right time, especially during care transitions or in important moments of care?
For decades, and for many good reasons, the hospital has long been at the center of the healthcare ecosystem. High acuity patients, patients needing surgery, or patients with comorbidity would arrive at their hospital in need of significant medical attention. Before the digitization of healthcare, hospitals needed to conduct labs and diagnostic work to ensure they could provide the proper necessary care for the patient. Hospitals were, in effect, the necessary center of the healthcare ecosystem.
All that has changed. We now live in the era of the decentralization of care, an era where care is often rendered at smaller, more cost-effective “focused factories”, either as an “in-office” or outpatient procedure. Today, the digital footprint of the patient is well established with EHR’s largely deployed in both an ambulatory and acute care environment. Combined with clinical systems of record such as PACS, LIS, and others, we now have the technology to enable care teams to put the patient at the center of care.
Additionally, over the past several years, population health vendors have developed platforms to bring together disparate clinical information, aggregating data at the personal level to facilitate the identification and outreach to patients in homogeneous care categories. The goal of this process is to ensure proper care protocols are both established and acted upon. As more and more health systems, hospitals, and medical practices embrace fee-for-value, these systems and their associated outreach become essential to look after the entirety of a person facilitating the grand pivot to wellness. But this population health process also requires a new system of action.
Armed with a digital footprint of the patient from most, if not all, modalities of care, hospitals now have a solid “system of record”. At TigerText we have witnessed and believe that care teams are searching for a tool that renders the appropriate clinical information to the appropriate care team members at the appropriate time. In fact, they seek what we call a “system of action”.
For us, what began as a HIPAA compliant secure text messaging solution has evolved through TigerFlow, our workflow engine, to become that system of action, one that truly, finally, and completely puts the patient at the center of care. Further, we believe we are in the early days of this transformation and that like an EHR, it will require attention to detail and embracing the proper foundations of effective change management.
Everyone has a personal connection to the challenges that face healthcare. Healthcare organizations are staffed with noble, purposeful physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals caring for our loved ones, yet working with processes and technology from yesteryear. As a result, time is lost, care is depersonalized, and sadly, mistakes happen – even at the finest of healthcare institutions.
So I ask myself, is this the beginning of a revolution? My life’s work would suggest that it just may be, but if I’ve inspired you to think about care team communication, please take five minutes and watch the video below to judge for yourself.