May 31 2018 By: Mary Bond, MBA, BSN, RN

Patient Engagement vs Patient Empowerment Part 2

Earlier this month we shared part one of this series on Clarify’s patient empowerment and care coordination system, Care Pilot and Care Connect. In part two, we will hear from Clarify’s Chief Nursing Officer, Mary Bond about how Care Pilot and Care Connect work together to improve care coordination and patient engagement. As a nurse with over 20 years of experience, and a self-proclaimed techie, Mary brings a unique perspective to the Health IT conversation.

Can you tell us about your experience and what led you to Clarify?
Early on in my career, I was a care coordinator for a group of five orthopedic surgeons. My role was to schedule patients for surgery and complete all the tasks associated with ensuring the patients were cleared and prepared for their procedure. My role was to meet with patients after the surgeon had prescribed a procedure, schedule the surgery, and then do everything that needed to be done to ensure the patient made it to their surgery date without complications.

My time with the patient was often limited. The best I could do was use the time I had to talk about what to expect on the day of surgery, show the patient the implant their surgeon would use, and discuss what their recovery would look like. Often, the patient wasn’t as informed as I would have liked, because, at that time, everything was manual. I printed and mailed paperwork and instructions to patients, and there definitely weren’t any extra handouts or resources to help educate patients and their families. There were many phone calls, back and forth, between me and the patients, primary care practices, labs, hospitals, and surgery centers – all to ensure the patient was ready for their procedure.

One of the most frustrating experiences for a patient is planning for a surgery only to realize it needs to be rescheduled because he or she isn’t fully prepared – they don’t have a ride to or from appointments, or there is no one available to help take care of them while they recover.

Over the years providers realized that patients really want all the information they can get. So, there’s been a big investment in prep materials and providing information up front.

Clarify is taking this a step further by helping guide patients through their entire journey of care, from pre-surgery all the way through to recovery. We want to make sure that you and your family know what’s going on at every step of the way.

So, we built Care Pilot to engage the patient and their caregivers in their own care. We send patients and their care networks the information they need when they need it. Patients receive reminders at times when they are most likely to respond, we provide reading material that’s accessible at any time, and we encourage their support network of friends and family to read it with them.

Over time, we found that the more hands-on you can be with each patient, the better the outcomes and the better the satisfaction. But with pressures to compete and increase the volume of patients treated, providing precise and personalized care can become challenging.

For me, this is one of the biggest reasons why I started working here – I saw an opportunity to join a team that was building technology to help alleviate all the roadblocks I faced as a care coordinator.

What do you see as some of the challenges solutions like Care Pilot and Care Connect can help solve for care coordinators?
For one thing, you’re no longer having to pick up the phone to call for patient check-ins. You’re not having to pick up the phone to answer repetitive questions or repeat the same information over and over. That’s not to say technology is going to or should replace the doctor-patient relationship. Having a prioritized list of important interventions and tasks allows you to serve more patients. And patients are becoming more and more interested in getting their healthcare information where they are. As we build new solutions, we need to remember that these products need to meet patients where they are in their journey.

So, how do Care Pilot and Care Connect work?
Care Pilot is a dynamic mobile- and browser-based patient engagement platform, activating patients in their own care by delivering the information they need when they need it. As a result, patients feel more satisfied with their experience, are better prepared for their procedure, and form a stronger bond with their care teams.

Care Connect is an exception-based care coordination and patient guidance platform. It collects critical data from patients about their progress through the journey and alerts the care team when an intervention is necessary. Care Connect allows care teams to more efficiently manage a panel of patients, focusing their energy on the interventions that will have the most positive impact on patients.

How would your work have changed if you had Care Pilot and Connect when you were working as a care coordinator?
If I had a program like this when I was working for the orthopedic surgeons, I would have been able to spend more time with patients and their caregivers. I would have been more timely and responsive to patient needs, handled the most urgent items first, been more organized in my daily activities, made fewer phone calls, and decreased the amount of paperwork I had to print and mail. With technology like this, you can do more than less.

What would you say to folks that worry new technology is going to slow them down?
Once they realize that their administrative burden is significantly reduced, they have one source of truth for what needs to get done today for their patients, and who needs attention now… and it’s all in front of them, without having to go searching for charts, and then proceed to make a series of calls to the patient, the lab, the insurance company, and on and on, I think they’ll be onboard. Even for people who are less tech-savvy, they’ll be much more open and responsive to new technology.

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