United Hospital Fund Co-Designs Digital Prototype to Facilitate Patient-Provider Interactions

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

United Hospital Fund Co-Designs Digital Prototype to Facilitate Patient-Provider Interactions

In an effort to improve the quality of interactions between patients and their health care providers, United Hospital Fund (UHF) released a report today describing the development of a prototype for a new digital resource, How’s My Health Dashboard, which would help  patients and providers work together to achieve the health goals important to patients.

Over the past 20 years, there have been great advances in care for chronic illnesses, yet challenges persist in the nature of the interactions between patients and clinicians, hindering effective co-management of health. These barriers have become all too apparent during the pandemic, as patients and clinicians adapt to changes in visits, some of which have moved on-line, and some patients’ conditions became even more complex due to pandemic-related delays in care and behavioral health problems.

A team from UHF’s Quality Institute facilitated a nine-month long co-design project with patients and clinicians from an New York City primary care practice that serves a diverse group of patients with high prevalence of diabetes. The practice had long endorsed patient-centered innovations, adopted health information technology (HIT) and promoted use of portals and various apps with their patients. 

The team engaged ten patients and practice staff, conducting a series of active listening interviews to cultivate trust and set the stage for the co-design collaboration. These conversations explored the shared experience of both partners in co-managing diabetes, and revealed their common ground in seeking successful communications, discussing priorities and values, and setting an agenda and goals of care. Inclusion and trust also surfaced as important aspects of their interactions.

In the second phase, the team conceived of a digital tool that could help achieve what patients and clinicians seek from their interactions, and developed a blueprint for the tool, How’s My Health Dashboard, in partnership with two health information technologists/designers.
“The interviews shed light on the limitations of current HIT tools in facilitating effective communications between doctors and patients when co-managing chronic conditions like diabetes,” said Anne-Marie J, Audet, MD, UHF senior medical officer and author of the report. “Clinicians want to easily access patient-reported information that can make their interactions more effective, and patients wish they could more easily share this information with their doctor, especially about the issues that matter most to them. Existing HIT platforms create limitations for both.” 

Clinicians access information about patients via their electronic medical records (EMR) system, and patients access theirs via a patient portal. Interviews confirmed that information generated by practitioners—such as physician notes and test results—can only be partially shared with patients on the portal, while patient-generated information—such as health status, self-reported symptoms, and goal achievements—is absent from the clinician’s EMR, or not easily accessible. Patients reported difficulties accessing their own information once it had been shared with physicians...

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