Patients have to always come first, and technology can enhance their care experience, stated Anne Marie F. Rainey, MSN, RN, CHC, director of quality and value-based care at Clearview Cancer Institute.
Patients have to always come first, and technology can enhance their care experience, stated Anne Marie F. Rainey, MSN, RN, CHC, director of quality and value-based care at Clearview Cancer Institute, who moderated the workshop, “ACCC Alternative Payment Model Coalition: The Economics of Value-Based Care and Strategies to Bend the Cost Curve,” on the final day of the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ National Oncology Conference.
What role can technology play for patients to have a better care experience in light of the care provider shortage and burnout?
The biggest piece of the puzzle is that the patient has to come first. So, if we don't have the practice culture that the patient is put first in every decision that we make across the board, that’s very hard to achieve. I also think that if we don’t have a team that puts the patient first, that’s a hard stop as far as reevaluating and trying to determine where our downfalls are in terms of burnout, in terms of staff shortage, things like that. That needs to be the root of everything that we do.
With that being said, absolutely technology can play a huge role in the patient experience, in combating burnout, in combating a staff shortage. Something that we think about a lot at our practice is, how can we automate and autopopulate? If we’re using technology appropriately, it should reduce the number of clicks for physicians, it should populate information in our EMR [electronic medical record] system or other programs so that we’re not documenting times 2 or 3 or 4 times. Same for automation. If we're able to identify patients early and often, [and] flag those patients, that makes a big difference, because work is done on the front end instead of cleanup on the back end. That’s obviously going to contribute to higher quality of patient care, because the patient’s getting what they need the first time, instead of the second, third or fourth time.
Along those same lines with technology, that can also be an enhancement for patients. We know that maybe some patients are older and they may not be as excited about using some of that technology, but it does play a role in delivering quality and value and care. For example, electronic patient-reported outcomes and patient portals. Those are great tools for patients who are willing to use them to communicate with the practice in a very effective manner and a very timely manner. So, if patients are reporting symptoms based on a specific algorithm that helps our nurses address items to the top of their scope, and very quickly in terms of communication back with instruction for that patient or instruction to come into the clinic to be seen by a provider.
The same goes for telehealth. That’s something that I think is a great thing that came out of COVID-19. We can’t always say that about everything, but telehealth has been a great benefit to us. And for patients who have the technology at home and are willing to use that, that’s a great service to them. It keeps [them] from additional visits to the clinic when appropriate—that reduces the need for transportation assistance. And many times if the patient is sick and we can address it from home, that allows them to heal at home.
So, technology obviously plays a great role, and I think that over the next couple of years, we’ll see that that plays an even larger role in how we deliver care at highest quality and highest value in some of these programs.