In my two-part blog post looking ahead to 2025, I noted that we are developing the next iteration of our strategic plan. We are more than halfway through our Strategy 2020 framework and we aim to have our Strategy 2025 plan developed one year from now.
For our 2025 planning, we have developed a futuristic story about the care of a fictional patient, HONDA. The name is an acronym for Hypertensive, Obese, Non-compliant, Diabetic and Asthmatic – the type of patients that collectively account for 5 percent of the population, but 50 percent of the health care spending.
Our case study also develops the story around HONDA’s adult, millennial daughter who is involved in her father’s care and support network.
A key theme that has emerged as we developed the case study has to do with the profound ways in which technology could enable HONDA’s care and Molly’s support of HONDA in the future. Here to provide you with his perspective on some of the ways in which technology will further enable care and family support is today’s guest blogger, Reid Stephan, vice president and chief information officer for St. Luke’s Health System.
- David C. Pate, M.D., J.D.
I remember the first time I experienced online banking.
It was 1996, and I used a dial-up modem on a home computer to access a basic website that let me do little more than view the balance of my checking account.
Initially, it proved to be much more of a novelty than it was productive tool. I could only use it when I was sitting at a computer with internet access. It was slow, and I still had to visit my bank branch to conduct most transactions.
As mobile devices proliferated, internet access speed and availability improved and online banking services matured, an inflection point occurred. For the first time, I felt like I was truly at the center of my banking experience.
Rather than coordinate my schedule with the bank’s hours and locations, I now had the freedom and flexibility to conduct my banking transactions at any time and from any location. This convenience not only gave me back time, it improved my ability to manage my finances and engendered feelings of loyalty to my bank for providing this capability.
After years of promise and hype, I believe we are at a similar inflection point in health care. In 2012, St. Luke’s went live with myChart, a patient portal accessible via a website or mobile device application.
Initially, a patient could send their doctor a message, request appointments, view and update medications, access test results and view details of past and upcoming appointments. In the intervening years, additional functionality has been added to myChart, including the ability to request prescription refills, schedule appointments and share health records.
As we move forward, features in St. Luke’s myChart will include:
Earlier this year, St. Luke’s became one of the first health care providers to enable Apple Health Records, which makes it possible for any St. Luke’s patient with a myChart account to use their iPhone to view their medical records within the Apple Health application. This gives patients greater control of their data, which in turn gives them greater control of their health.
The expanding and robust use of tools like myChart is ushering in an era of patient data democratization. It has the potential to provide a consumer experience that will be like what we have come to expect from other industries such as finance, retail and travel. It can also become the cornerstone in the foundation of reduced health care costs and improved outcomes.
Consider the following possibilities:
These scenarios are not some futuristic vision. They reflect the initial, nascent steps being taken toward a future where patients are at the center of their health care experience.
I am convinced that when provided with the necessary tools and appropriate access to their data, consumers can and will self-manage their care and that this will lead to reduced costs of care, and more importantly, improved health outcomes.
Reid Stephan is vice president and chief information officer for St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho.