Patient Engagement? There’s an App for That
by Theresa Jacobellis
As the American healthcare system is reformed, greater emphasis is being placed on wellness and prevention. Savvy providers are harnessing mobile technology to empower patients to be more engaged in their own healthcare, with the potential to improve treatment compliance, enhance outcomes, and even maximize reimbursements by reducing readmissions.
Earlier this year, Boston Children’s Hospital rolled out MyPassport, a mobile application designed to improve patient satisfaction by providing patients, along with their families, with accessible information about their hospital stay, plan of care, and post-discharge instructions.
Passport to better patient understanding
The journey to develop MyPassport began four years ago, when members of the hospital’s Diversity and Cultural Competency Council (DCCC) noticed that non-English-speaking patients reported lower levels of satisfaction than their English-speaking counterparts.
This observation led to the formation of a research team consisting of urologist Hiep Nguyen, MD, emergency medicine attending Lois Lee, MD, and radiologist Valerie Ward, MD, who heads the DCCC. They were tasked with uncovering the reason for the discrepancy.
The team spent three years reviewing patient satisfaction surveys, conducting literature reviews, and using tracer methodology to follow patients from admission through discharge. They found that although the care rendered to English-speaking and non-English-speaking patients was identical, patients’ and families’ perceptions of their care varied.
“Many of our patients and families had a difficult time understanding what was happening in the hospital,” says Nguyen. “With many people involved in a patient’s care, and many tests ordered, often patients felt they didn’t know what was going on. And this was magnified in patients who did not speak English.”
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