Dr. Jennifer Bolduc attended medical school and completed her pediatric training at the University of Vermont. She practiced pediatrics for the U.S. Navy in Yokosuka, Japan, and Bremerton, Washington, prior to practicing and serving as CMIO at the Walla Walla Clinic. Dr. Bolduc joined Allscripts in 2013 and currently serves as Medical Director, Client Experience.
The patient experience: Through a clinician's lens
How patients can optimize their point-of-care interactions with clinicians and take a more active role in their health
JB: Patient engagement has come a long way over the past few years, but there are issues we still need to address. For example, many people are frustrated with patient portal usability. Patients want to engage, but the technology itself stands in their way. Another common challenge is that many patients have multiple portals for multiple providers, which leads to fragmented, partial views of their information—and that's if they can successfully manage their multiple logins and passwords. Having many engagement options can often add to the confusion of knowing when to access what kind of care.
It is going to remain an important industry objective to make patient engagement practices as easy and user-friendly as possible. We've already seen many of our clients begin to adapt the way they reach their patients—above and beyond patient portals and appointment reminder systems. For example, some clients have begun offering online appointment scheduling options for greater convenience.
JB: Patients now have more access to information that can help them choose the best physician and/or specialist for their needs. Much of this information is based on quality, but it also highlights the fact that patients are using these resources to learn about other patients' experiences to better decide.
From home visits to walk-in retail clinics, patients have more options for how and where they receive care—and it's even moving toward virtual options. For example, nurse triage and other healthcare apps are helping patients (and their loved ones) determine which level of care is best to address certain symptoms.
JB: Now more than ever, patients are seeking more care delivery options, so organizations are adapting and exploring new ways to offer care—telehealth being just one great example of the advances being made.
There are also regulatory requirements that are reshaping how providers deliver care. The shift to the value-based care model and other government-mandated quality reporting initiatives, for instance. Not to mention that payers have started influencing the way care is delivered by supporting nurse triage and care coaches, to name just a couple.
JB: First off, every patient is different. Every patient requires a different level of engagement and intervention. Visiting doctors can be stressful, so it's important to let the patients decide how they want to be engaged and which tools they are most comfortable using.
As a pediatrician, I know that educating the patient's family is crucial in ensuring the patient, whether a baby or teenager, stays on course toward the best outcome. This is also true when discussing which care modality is best for their specific needs. Family members can help manage the patient's care and be the one with whom the clinician interacts most.
JB: To keep patients engaged, and to keep patients feeling positive about their healthcare journey, the industry will need to focus on making the engagement opportunities convenient, mobile and meaningful. For example, providing incentives to patients for enrolling in a patient portal is a great way to help patients develop an engagement habit. And as patients track and monitor their health journey, they will start discovering the positive effects it has—and if that health information is delivered in a streamlined fashion, it
becomes more likely they will be motivated to stay engaged.
Learn more about how Allscripts is improving the patient experience by clicking here.