During the early 2000s, a number of enterprising acute provider organizations and their ambitious, well-intentioned healthcare IT partners offered their patients their own personal health record (PHR) upon discharge. As they made their way out of the hospital, along with discharge instructions, they were given a temporary user name (john.doe.phr@general_hospital.com) and password and encouraged to create their PHR as soon as they returned home.
This PHR was tethered to and initially ‘fed’ by the provider organization with the data generated during their patient’s recent hospital stay. The data was scant (a few days’ worth of lab results, allergies, meds and a pdf copy of discharge instructions) and the PHR was not interoperable with anything else in the community besides the hospital itself, and certainly did not offer an opportunity for the patient or family members to contribute to the information in the health record. It’s not too difficult now to have an appreciation for why this strategy was short-lived.
A PHR tied to a specific care setting that represented a very, very short episodic event in a person’s life held no value as a tool to maintain a health and wellness path for the duration of that person’s life (a life that, ideally includes never having to go to a hospital again!).
As the leader of MatrixCare’s Life Plan Community business (and, by the way, one of those previously mentioned, well-intentioned healthcare IT providers above), I have a newfound appreciation for the tethered PHR. In the LTPAC world, the need for a single source of truth for our senior residents is as important as ever as they become increasingly more active in managing their health and wellness. MatrixCare clients can now promote and deploy a PHR for their residents and invited family members, a technology that presents integrated health information in ways not imaginable a short time ago. This allows tremendous interactivity and engagement with health and wellness care plans (imagine an easy-to-follow diabetes care plan from your connected primary care physician that you easily mark your compliance to), focuses on medication adherence (think about a reminder sent to the senior and/or their family member that in 3 days a medication refill is due), allows monitoring of therapeutic progress without the need to enter readings due to linked telehealth devices and wearables (electronic blood glucose device, wireless scale, digital blood pressure monitor), allows for secure messaging with your healthcare team, and more.
This incredible, new-age technology platform is delivered in MatrixCare’s CareCommunity and is changing the way healthcare is delivered for the consumer. Seniors and families can rely on the visibility provided with CareCommunity to engage in the treatment plan and daily tasks to ensure buy-in and compliance, understanding of the patient living situation, barriers to accessing care, and support systems in place. Physicians and other care team members can manage their entire populations across provider and care-setting boundaries through a single access point, making it easier to impact and monitor resident care. Family members are kept apprised of the health status and progress for their loved one’s care plan, as well as daily activities and appointments, reinforcing the family’s choice for choosing a community for their loved one that promotes such an innovative tool for use by all the stakeholders involved in a senior’s health.
Life Plan Communities, that offer to their residents the ability to be actively engaged in their own health management, are the most logical consumers for this technology platform. The health information housed in an LPC’s EHR application provides the most logical “seeding” of health information in the platform, and provides a clinical baseline from which outcomes and improvements can be measured going forward. As provider organizations seek new approaches to outcome-based care models and opportunities to attract residents, offering a seamless, fully integrated, interactive, and meaningful platform for personal health information and the PHR is certain to play a big role.