3 Proven Ways Technology Drives Business Results:

icon-PatientMotivation Patient Motivation, icon-EmployeeRetention Retention, icon-ClinicalEfficiency Clinical Efficiency


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Research has demonstrated enhanced technology can improve communication between patients, families and care providers, improve motivation, and has the potential to effect better outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction. Additionally, better technology also makes the workplace more appealing to employees.

With the investment and complexity involved, how can health systems utilize technology in the most efficient and effective ways to drive business results?

This brief provides concrete examples of how providers are using technology in rehabilitation to maximize success, and excel in key areas such as patient engagement and outcomes, employee retention, and clinical efficiency. Further, it shows how technology continues to mitigate age-old challenges and inefficiencies in our healthcare system.

Ensuring access to the latest technological innovations is not only a strategy that offers a higher likelihood of improved patient outcomes, it’s a necessity for business success in today’s environment.

The time is now to integrate technology into patient care and hone those efforts for maximum success.


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Technology To Improve Patient Motivation


Rehabilitation professionals have long understood patient engagement and motivation are strong predictors for whether or not the patient will have optimal clinical outcomes and improvement.
However, it is difficult to define the concept of patient motivation.1 One analysis indicates that motivation is caused by a patient’s own personality, but affected by clinical factors, family factors, cultural factors, the rehabilitation environment, and the rehab professional’s behavior.2

Fortunately, therapists point to specific strategies to improve motivation and engage patients in their goals, including:

  1. Working with the patient to set relevant goals that are understandable and achievable,
  2. Providing information about rehabilitation such as their progress toward recovery,
  3. An understanding of how the patient could fare with no rehabilitation gains,
  4. The rationale behind why certain exercises had to be performed.3

According to 2016 peer-reviewed research published in the journal JMIR Research Protocols, the time is now to integrate technology into patient care and hone those efforts for maximum success.4

Additionally, it is imperative that strategies account for cultural norms and family dynamics to meet patients and their support networks at all levels. Enter: new technology.

There is significant opportunity for healthcare providers to put new tools into the hands of patients through their own smart-phones to improve their motivation in achieving their rehabilitation goals. This is based on analysis that supported the fact that inpatient rehabilitation patients preferred to rely on the continued use of mainstream devices, such as cell phones, when they were discussing opportunities for using technology to increase therapeutic engagement.5  Patient interviews supported the use of reliable and intuitive technologies that feature opportunities for practice outside of therapy, goals for rehabilitative exercises, ongoing motivation and social interactions.6


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Technology to Enhance Employee Retention

 

In addition to patient motivation, the latest research shows a clear connection between technology and employee retention and job satisfaction. A TC Talent Culture article titled “The Link Between Technology and Retention” made the point that:

“To provide a more satisfying, rewarding environment in which people can prosper, we need to start mirroring the way people use technology at home.

“That involves providing better, quicker technology – and yes, we have to work through the security issues that inevitably arise; that’s not impossible.

“That involves providing more supporting technology… you need to give people the tools they need in order to succeed. If you’re not doing it, your competition might be, and it’s a great recruitment tool to say that you’ve adopted the latest technology.”7

Further, as a majority of the workforce becomes millennials, adopting the latest technology will become even more critical to meeting employee expectations. According to TC Talent Culture, “this generation of people, who grew up learning in computer labs, taking tests on computers, and researching on their tablets, will want an experience tailored to their needs...”

Adopting technology that enables providers to more effectively care for patients and connect with other providers will be key to hiring and keeping top talent.


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Technology for Clinical Efficiency

 

The U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare than any country in the world. This has made the industry ripe for technologies designed to improve efficiencies and lower costs.

“Hospitals and health systems continue to make progress leveraging technology to improve patient safety and quality of care,” said Chantal Worzala, AHA8 vice president for health IT and policy. “We are also seeing that those engaged in new models of care are driving greater adoption of advanced health IT functions. These systems make it easier for patients to do things like request prescription refills online, and view and download clinical information. These advancements continue to enable patients to play a more informed, active role in their health and healthcare. They are also enabling hospitals and health systems to move from volume to value, empowering them to offer higher quality, more coordinated care and address broader population health concerns.”

A review of 13 studies involving the adoption of new technology in healthcare “identified evidence about the ability of mobile handheld technology to positively impact rapid response, error prevention, information accessibility, and data management in healthcare settings.

The study findings support claims of the potential beneficial impact of this technology on aspects of healthcare delivery.”9 Despite the importance, implementation of successful technological tools is by no means an easy endeavor. As with any business plan, it often makes sense to partner with an organization that already has resources that have been proven effective rather than try to re-invent the wheel. An article titled “Joint Ventures and Partnering,” published on the website Info Entrepreneurs, posited that a successful joint venture partnership can offer “access to greater resources, including specialized…technology.”10


Case Study: RehabTracker, a Hand-held Technology to Improve Patient Motivation and Therapist Job Satisfaction

Image of Rehabtracker logo and iPhone with rehab tracker application with Quote “Since implementing Rehab Tracker in each rehabilitation unit, key quality metrics of Functional Independence Measure (FIM) gain and Discharge to Community have improved."

A case study of such a tool easily accessible to patients is RehabTracker, a free, patient-focused smart-phone application that is increasingly being adopted by rehabilitation facilities across the country.

The HIPAA-complaint app enables patients to engage in their progress as they view updates from their therapy team, track progress on areas of functional improvement and celebrate rehab milestones with family and friends. 

“For patients who have had a stroke or an injury such as a hip fracture, RehabTracker enables them to view their goals, track progress and enhance communication in their support circle,” explained Muhammad Khan, physical therapist and program director at St. Catherine Hospital, where the app was first piloted for the hospitals of Community Healthcare System®.

Additionally, Mr. Khan noted that “Motivation is the key for patient success in rehabilitation. These patients are medically complex and they need to be motivated with lots of encouragement on a daily basis to help them progress. Engaging the patient in daily targets helps to get them home.”

Community Healthcare System® in Indiana has adopted the RehabTracker app for patients within its hospital-based rehabilitation unit at three of its hospitals in northwest Indiana – Community Hospital, St. Catherine Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center.

Since implementing RehabTracker in each rehabilitation unit, key quality metrics of Functional Independence Measure (FIM) gain and Discharge to Community have improved.

chart-FIMGain-Community Hospital 27.4 2017, 29.24 2018. St Catherine Hospital 25.39 2017, 33.03 2018. St Mary Medical Center 29.88 2017, 31.8 2018. Discharge to Community - Community Hospital 72.1% 2017, 74.7% 2018. St Catherine Hospital 72.3% 2017, 77.2% 2018. St Mary Medical Center 82.9% 2017, 82.9% 2018

References

  1. Maclean, N., Pound, P., Wolfe, C., & Rudd, A. (2000). A critical review of the concept of patient motivation in the literature on physical rehabilitation. Soc Sci Med, 50(4), 495-506.
  2. Maclean, N., Pound, P., Wolfe, C., & Rudd, A. (2002). The concept of patient motivation: a qualitative analysis of stroke professionals’ attitudes. Stroke, 33(2), 444-448.
  3. Maclean, N., Pound, P., Wolfe, C., & Rudd, A. (2002). The concept of patient motivation: a qualitative analysis of stroke professionals’ attitudes. Stroke, 33(2), 444-448.
  4. McAlearney AS, Sieck CJ, Hefner JL, Aldrich AM, Walker DM, Rizer MK, Moffatt-Bruce SD, Huerta TR. High Touch and High Tech (HT2) Proposal: Transforming Patient Engagement Throughout the Continuum of Care by Engaging Patients with Portal Technology at the Bedside. JMIR Res Protoc. 2016 Nov 29;5(4):e221.
  5. Fager, S. K., & Burnfi eld, J. M. (2014). Patients’ experiences with technology during inpatient rehabilitation: opportunities to support independence and therapeutic engagement. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 9(2), 121-127.
  6. Fager, S. K., & Burnfi eld, J. M. (2014). Patients’ experiences with technology during inpatient rehabilitation: opportunities to support independence and therapeutic engagement. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 9(2), 121-127.
  7. The Link Between Technology And Retention  by Gareth Cartman | November 5, 2014 talentculture.com
  8. https://www.aha.org/guidesreports/2018-07-25-trendwatch-issue-brief-3-improving-patient-safety-and-health-care-quality
  9. Mirela Prgomet, BAppSc(Hons), Andrew Georgiou, PhD, and Johanna I. Westbrook, PhD. The Impact of Mobile Handheld Technology on Hospital Physicians’ Work Practices and Patient Care: A Systematic Review. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2009 Nov-Dec; 16(6): 792–801. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M3215
  10. http://www.infoentrepreneurs.org/en/guides/joint-ventures-and-partnering/