Direct outreach to patients by HIM professionals improves outcomes, patient satisfaction

Oct. 19, 2016

Proactive outreach to patients by HIM specialists increased the use of a personal health record, improved outcomes and satisfaction, and enhanced communication between health IT specialists and providers, per information presented here today at the American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) 88th Annual Convention and Exhibit.

A unique patient outreach program at Children’s Health in Dallas deployed an AHIMA-credentialed personal health record (PHR) coordinator to meet with patients to explain the benefits of a personal health record. The program began in 2012 when Children’s Health was approached by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology to do a pilot project with a PHR for patients with sickle cell anemia. The program has expanded and continues to grow, providing the resources and knowledge of technology tools for patients to manage their care.

The program includes a hands-on approach of removing barriers and engaging families.    Michelle Basco, RHIA, training consultant, Organizational Learning and Development. “We go out to the clinical areas of Children’s Health and get to know our patients providing hands-on demonstration of how to use the PHR including sending a message to their doctor, changing appointments and accessing test results.”

Today’s health record is much like a puzzle where multiple health care providers and hospitals hold “pieces” of a patient’s medical record. A goal for Children’s Health is to change that model through the personal health record placing control of the medical record in the hands of the patient.  The information is brought together in one location and overseen by the patient.

“Children’s Health is dedicated to making life better for children.  We believe that the personal health record is one of the many health delivery transitions underway that will improve the health and wellbeing of children, families, and the community—not just in Dallas, but across the nation.” Says Katherine Lusk, MHSM, RHIA, FAHIMA, chief HIM and exchange officer

“Online PHRs are a valuable resource that promote patients’ engagement in their healthcare. The record also remains accessible to patients if they change providers, thus enhancing care coordination and management,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “As the experts in electronic health records, HIM professionals can and should play a central role in advocating for patient access to their health records and educating them on the use of the patient portal.”

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