Westmed Medical Group, a client of patient engagement software vendor Bridge Patient Portal, has been recognized by eHealthcare Leadership Awards for their healthcare patient portal and mobile app in the category of Best Patient Access & Convenience in a Medical Practice/Outpatient Facility.
Bridge Patient Portal, a healthcare patient portal and patient engagement software vendor, is announcing that their client Westmed Medical Group, a large New York-based multi-specialty group medical practice, has been presented with an eHealthcare Leadership Award for Best Patient Access & Convenience in a Medical Practice/Outpatient Facility. This award recognizes web and mobile solutions that are both comprehensive and easy to use/access.
Westmed is known nationally as a highly innovative healthcare organization that leverages technology to deliver a premium level of patient care. In 2017, Westmed implemented Bridge’s patient engagement solution, comprised of a Westmed-branded patient portal and mobile app. “The goal was to provide a rich patient portal experience, then extend that same experience and functionality to a Westmed-branded patient portal mobile app,” explains John Deutsch, founder and CEO of Bridge Patient Portal. “Surprisingly, in healthcare, offering a consistent experience between a healthcare organization’s patient portal and mobile app is very uncommon. It is even less common for both solutions to be branded to the healthcare organization.”
The Bridge patient engagement solution works and interfaces with most Electronic Health Record and Revenue Cycle Management softwares. In the case of Westmed, Bridge integrated with the Centricity Business and EMR solutions that Westmed was already using.
The patient portal mobile app also offers additional features commonly found in healthcare mobile apps, such as provider search, location search, urgent care wait times, and news. Convenience is further boosted by self-service portal registration and username/password resets, thanks to Bridge’s two-factor, SMS-based authentication feature. The rich patient portal functionality found in the mobile app significantly increases the solution’s usage as a whole, which is only made possible by offering all of self-service patient portal functionality in a single mobile app.
The Bridge patient engagement solution does far more than put medical records online for patients – it offers a wealth of features, including:
Personal health records (ie. labs, medications, conditions, and more)
Online bill pay
Custom, integrated patient forms
Prescription refill requests
Patient self-registration with two-factor authentication
Email, SMS and mobile push notifications/reminders
Marketing & recall messaging
Urgent care wait times
Users can download the app in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store here:
Founded in 2012, Bridge Patient Portal is an enterprise patient portal and patient engagement solution that provides a superior user experience for healthcare organizations and their patients. It is ideal for organizations seeking to replace their existing EHR software’s patient portal, connect disparate EHR environments with a single patient portal, and/or consolidate costly patient engagement tools with a single patient engagement solution. Bridge truly engages patients with automated electronic communication and meaningful, multi-platform access to health, financial, and appointment information. With Bridge’s all-in-one patient engagement solution, healthcare organizations can safely achieve greater levels of patient engagement.
About Westmed Medical Group
Westmed Medical Group is an award-winning multispecialty medical practice, staffed by a team of 500 top physicians and advanced care providers, and 1,500 clinical employees, who are all dedicated to providing patients with comprehensive, lifelong care. The practice has 13 locations in Westchester County, NY and Fairfield County, CT, and is known for the convenience of its full-service medical facilities, and national reputation for measured healthcare excellence. Westmed has New York medical offices in White Plains, Rye, Yonkers, Purchase, Scarsdale and New Rochelle, with Connecticut offices in Greenwich, Darien, Stamford and Norwalk.
Bridge Patient Portal is excited to be attending Centricity LIVE 2017. We’ll be showcasing Bridge Patient Portal, our new mHealth app platform and our interfaces into Centricity products. Attendees can visit Bridge Patient Portal at booth #317. (more…)
Patient engagement has become the key to improving quality of care. The larger the role a patient plays in his or her own healthcare, the smaller the possibility of readmission. The adoption of patient portals along with the incorporation of mobile health apps has enabled physicians and patients to work together on successful personalized treatment plans. However, patient engagement is soon to experience an extreme makeover with the introduction of micro-scale body sensors.
Micro-scale body sensors transmit crucial health information and tackle the challenge of patient adherence. They work from inside the patient’s body, without batteries and without wires. While some sensors are still in the process of gaining FDA approval, many are soon to hit the market.
Micro-scale body sensors currently exist in three forms, offering different methods of application: intimate contact, ingestible and implantable.
Intimate Contact Sensors
Intimate contact sensors are the least invasive option and the closest to entering the mobile health market. They have been used for many years for other health purposes and are not as intrusive as other body sensors. When in contact with a patient’s skin, intimate contact sensors can transmit an individual’s health information to a smartphone or other device.
For patients who are comfortable with a more invasive method, ingestibles may be the micro-scale body sensor of choice. Ingestibles come in the form of a pill and contain a chip that has the same health tracking abilities as today’s wearables. Once a patient has swallowed the pill, it lodges itself in the stomach and transmits his or her health information to a physician or healthcare application.
There are three forms of ingestibles:
The thermometer pill, which records a patient’s core body temperature and transmits the information to a smartphone.
The camera pill, which takes pictures from inside the body and sends them to the patient’s physician.
The wireless sensor pill, which reports if and when the patient has swallowed his or her medication.
Implantables are the most invasive body sensors, as they are physically embedded in the patient’s body. This method is best for patients whose health is at risk. For example, they can monitor glucose levels for diabetics and blood pressure for individuals with a history of cardiac arrest. Although some patients might not be comfortable with the idea of inserting a sensor into the body, implantables transmit the most precise health information.
While some consumers view micro-scale body sensors as groundbreaking technology, others have developed a fear of Big Brother making its way into healthcare. These devices keep track of where a patient goes, what a patient drinks and eats, and if the patient is following the doctor’s orders.
If given the opportunity, would you incorporate micro-scale body sensors into your treatment plans?
The self-monitoring technology market is getting more competitive than ever now that Google Fit is available via the Play Store, officially becoming a rival to Apple’s HealthKit. But with so many self-monitoring devices available on the market, the question arises: are patients actually buying and using fitness tracking devices to use with platforms like Fit and HealthKit?
According to a study conducted by Google Consumer Insights, out of 979 adults surveyed 74.9 percent do not use wearable devices for tracking health and fitness. Moreover, 27.2 percent stated a lack of interest in the products, while 17.7 percent reported concerns with the cost of mhealth devices.
Not surprisingly, 57.1 percent of respondents said they would use a fitness tracking device if it meant lower health insurance premiums. It would seem, then, that insurance companies have the power to get patients using health and fitness tracking devices. Wearable and mobile devices collect data on a user’s exercise, movement, heart rate and other health observations that could potentially lower the patient’s health risks. Lower health risks mean lower risk profiles, which is what health insurance companies want.
With patient portals becoming more important in the healthcare sector, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to predict alliances between patient portal vendors and companies that make wearable devices. After all, smart watches and other mhealth wearables collect valuable information on patients’ health that can improve preventative care. If the information collected were to be uploaded to a patient portal, physicians could review the data and possibly prevent serious health problems – a win-win situation, for patients, providers and insurance companies.
Would you be more willing to use a patient portal if it integrated easily with health and fitness tracking devices and apps that could increase engagement and improve patient health?
If your healthcare organization isn’t considering mHealth in its efforts to improve treatment outcomes, promote patient engagement and increase profitability, chances are you’re falling behind the times. Mobile health isn’t just the future of healthcare anymore – it’s here now, patients are increasingly asking for it, and the big players in the industry have taken note.
With the success of health and fitness trackers like Fitbit and diet and exercise apps like MyFitnessPal, it’s obvious that consumer priorities are shifting. Patients want to be more active participants in their health and they’re looking for ways to do so by leveraging mHealth technologies – not surprising, considering 79 percent of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for most of the waking day.
It’s because of this that companies like Apple, Samsung and Google (not typically considered authorities in healthcare) are investing heavily in mHealth technologies and toolkits for developers to easily build healthcare-related mobile apps.
Here’s some of what the big players have in store:
Apple entered the healthcare space earlier this year with the release of iOS8 and its HealthKit platform, which aggregates health, fitness and medical data from third-party devices and apps. The technology giant also announced strategic partnerships with software vendors Epic, Cerner and Athenahealth to develop applications that connect HealthKit to the vendors’ EHR systems, making it easy for for patients to share HealthKit data with their physicians and vice versa.
The company also announced the highly anticipated Apple Watch, a high-end wearable device that is set to go on sale in 2015 which will allow users to measure body movement, take their heart rate, and track health and fitness goals.
The biggest challenge for Apple and its foray into healthcare will be getting people to pay upwards of $400 for the Apple Watch. Their alliance with major EHR vendors, however, will almost certainly ensure success.
Samsung’s no newbie to the healthcare scene – they’ve been developing medical devices and healthcare solutions for years. They had a health app before Apple did, they released their Galaxy Gear watch last year, and they were also first to introduce a fitness wristband, the Gear Fit.
Plus, almost as an anticipated response to the Apple Watch, Samsung unveiled plans this year for a futurist health tracker it’s calling Simband. There’s no release date in sight yet, but the buzz surrounding the wearable band is huge. According to the company, Simband will be able to track things like blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, hydration level and the amount of carbon dioxide in the wearer’s blood by using wavelengths of light beamed at the skin.
Let’s face it, Simband sounds a lot cooler than the Apple Watch. But will Samsung users be ready to pay what is likely to be a hefty sum just to better monitor their health and fitness?
When it comes to healthcare, Google’s been there and failed (see: Google Health) – but they keep trying. And if anyone has the resources to succeed, it’s Google.
In response to the release of Apple’s HealthKit, Google announced its own health data platform earlier this year called Google Fit, an open platform that will allow users to control their fitness data. The Internet giant is working with companies like Nike, Adidas, Polar, Intel and Runkeeper to develop fitness apps and devices that will integrate with Google Fit.
With Apple and Samsung being more established players in the mobile app game, it won’t be easy for Google to break in. Plus, the biggest problem with their app is that it won’t track health data, just fitness, making it an incomplete solution compared to its main competitors.
Using mHealth to Improve Health Outcomes
Has your healthcare organization implemented or considered implementing an mHealth program? Studies show that even something as simple as text message reminders can go a long way towards improving patient care and increasing medication adherence. It can also improve profitability – just ask Kaiser Permanente. The healthcare provider conducted a pilot program a few years ago and reduced no-shows by 0.73 percent just by sending appointment reminders via text message, totaling over $275,000 in annual savings at one location alone.
Do you think mHealth has what it takes to get patients more involved in their health? If so, which health and wellness goals would you be most willing to encourage patients to track?
Guest post by Eric Wicklund, Editor for mHIMSS.org
When a physician sends a patient home with a set of instructions for continued care, how far should the doctor go to make sure those instructions are followed?
The mHealth world is being flooded these days with platforms that promote doctor-patient communication and care management outside the office, allowing patients to check back in to make sure they know what they’re supposed to be doing (fill these prescriptions, do those exercises, lay off the fatty foods, etc.) and caregivers to see if those directions are being followed, or if they need to be modified.
Some are opting for the soft approach, marrying compliance to rewards or just showing the patient how much life would be better if he or she followed the rules. Others are taking a more hard-edged approach in the form of raised insurance premiums or reduced benefits.
But how forceful can a provider be if they feel a consumer isn’t holding up to his or her end of the deal? Should they be allowed to tap into a patient’s personal devices to see if they’re complying? Much like insurance companies send out investigators to target fraud, can they spy on their members to make sure they are exercising, eating right and taking the proper medications?
Mr. Baker, we see from your FitBit that you did NOT take the minimum required steps yesterday, and your e-scale tells us you’ve gained a pound over the past week. Have you been spending too much time on the couch or indulging in an extra doughnut or two? That’s not what we told you to do after your recent health scare…
It’s a slippery slope, and one that few doctors would likely want to traverse. After all, they’ll reason, they issue the prescriptions and hand out the instructions – if those rules aren’t followed, the harm is done to the patient, not the doctor. Likewise, a payer might just boost the premiums for someone who isn’t complying and leave it at that.
But in a healthcare landscape almost crippled by waste and rising costs, and with a pending deficit of healthcare providers and surplus of elderly and people with chronic conditions, shouldn’t we take a more forceful approach? In all honesty, one person’s failure to adhere to medical directions ends up boosting expenses, creating more work that could have been avoided, and affecting far more than just that one patient.
In a similar vein, a business executive who’s forking out huge sums of money for employee health insurance might want to be more forceful in getting those employees to toe the line on health and wellness. After all, a sick employee affects productivity, other employees (who have to cover for that employee) and, eventually, the bottom line. And can an employee be fired for not being healthy?
mHealth is giving healthcare providers and consumers new avenues on which to connect and share healthcare data, and at present it’s the consumer’s right to decide whether to share his or her healthcare data with providers. But sooner or later a provider is going to cut services because it’s just too expensive to deal with non-compliant patients, or a business will be forced to drop insurance (or even fold) because its employees just aren’t staying healthy enough. Then we may have to start wondering if healthcare is a right or a responsibility.
Where do you stand on monitoring patient compliance via mHealth devices?