In our series to date, we have been exploring the need for unified patient information management (UPIM). We’ve discussed the role that different healthcare stakeholders, including health plans and providers, play in making positive and long-lasting change in our healthcare system under the adoption of a patient-centric approach to information management. In this final post, we’ll address what role patients can play in helping our industry move toward a truly patient-centric approach to information management.
Patients have been increasingly demanding UPIM, a patient-centric approach to health information management, that allows easy access to all their clinical, financial and administrative data. Consider the rise of the empowered patient. In the last decade the empowered patient has emerged as a subset of patients who are refusing to take a passive role in their health. These patients are active learners, information seekers and answer gatherers. And with increased access to information, this isn’t a passing trend. Look no further than e-patient Dave’s e-patient bootcamp for evidence of the empowered patient staying power.
What are patients looking for today? Primarily, patients are demanding increased price transparency, more access to their providers and more information about their health. In fact, Intuit Health’s Second Annual Health Care Check-Up Survey found that nearly 75% of those surveyed would use a secure online communication solution to make it easier to get lab results, request appointments, pay medical bills and communicate with their doctor’s office. In every other aspect of patients’ lives, they control their information and they have begun to demand this in healthcare. It only makes sense, from their perspective, that the people who provide them care, including their insurance provider, physicians, nurses and lab technicians, have access to all the important, relevant health information at the time of care, to ensure the best possible decision is being made.
Patient management systems such as those built on the premise of UPIM, heighten transparency, provide instant access to information, empower, and help educate and engage patients. With systems for UPIM, health information becomes mobile—physicians can access it at any time they need it. Patients who have better-informed care providers use this to their advantage. They are able to find out what the health plan covers and what the cost is to the overall system. Systems for unified patient information management also empower physicians to have more thoughtful and frank discussions with their patients about proposed tests and labs, aligning on their necessity before prescribing them. Patients have a more complete understanding of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up plans, because all the stakeholders providing their care and coverage are in alignment and working toward the same outcomes.
This active role also demands more patient responsibility and management of their own health. Four-time cancer survivor Jessie Gruman educates us on what elevated patient responsibility for their care really means in this talk presented earlier in 2011. Here’s the key takeaway for patients: “We have to participate actively and knowledgeably in our care if we are to realize its benefits.”
Unified patient information management (UPIM) puts the patient at the center of their health ecosystem allowing them to participate actively and knowledgeably. More importantly, it allows them to hold everyone on their care team, including themselves, accountable for their healthcare experience. Personal health data-clinical, financial and administrative-is easily transferred, shared and actioned by all healthcare stakeholders. Ultimately, this provides them with valuable medical interactions with caretakers they can trust and a treatment roadmap they understand and support.
Thanks for checking out our guest series here on HL7. We are grateful to be part of a community that is committed to bettering the healthcare experience for all stakeholders. A huge thanks to Erica and her team for all the hard work and phenomenal content they produce weekly. If you want to further your understanding of UPIM, watch this video on UPIM, check out the site, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Kimberly Labow is the chief marketing officer, overseeing all marketing and product management responsibilities for NaviNet. She has over 19 years of technology marketing experience in a variety of industries, including healthcare, and brings to NaviNet an in-depth understanding of the healthcare connectivity marketplace.
Before joining NaviNet, Ms. Labow was vice president, marketing and product management for Medfusion, where she was responsible for all aspects of both marketing and product management. Her team was engaged not only with direct marketing activities for Medfusion, but in the overall efforts to aid Medfusion’s clients in the marketing of their practices to drive ultimate utilization of their Medfusion healthcare solutions from new and existing patients.
Prior to joining Medfusion, Ms. Labow was vice president, marketing and product management for Performix Technologies where she was an integral part of the management team that led Performix to a successful sale of the company to NICE Systems in 2007.
Prior to Performix, Ms. Labow spent four years at Progress Software where she built and managed teams for both services marketing and offering management and later product marketing. Ms. Labow’s healthcare experience includes several years as marketing manager for Kronos’ healthcare systems division, as well as owning product management for PCN’s EHR product HealthPoint (now Allscripts’ HealthMatics EHR).
Ms. Labow has a B.A from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, and an M.B.A from Northeastern University in Boston.