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The Truven Health Blog


The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Patient Activation Matters! Does Your Patient Health Education Solution Engage and Activate?


By Heather Du Mez/Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Heather Du Mez imageWith the proliferation of patient health education solutions designed to take patient engagement to the next level, how can you ensure the solution you choose engages your patients and increases their “activation?” Do your patients understand their role in the care process, including the knowledge, skills, and confidence to take on that role?

Research continues to demonstrate that highly activated patients are more likely to have better outcomes:
  • Highly activated patients have lower healthcare costs (1)
  • Patients with higher activation levels are more likely to have normal systolic blood pressure, triglyceride and HDL levels, a healthy weight, and less likely to visit the emergency room or become hospitalized (2)
  • Highly activated patients have more positive care experiences (3)   
At Truven Health Micromedex® Solutions, our collective experience of providing patient education solutions to thousands of hospitals world-wide, has resulted in evidence-based patient health education content that is designed to engage and activate. The content, found in our Micromedex® CareNotes® Solution, adheres to health-literacy standards (written at a 5th-to-7th grade reading level, in plain, easy-to-understand language) and  leverages ADDS (actionable, direct, directive, streamlined) design principles. CareNotes are:
  • Actionable. Instructions emphasize how to complete a task, including crucial details and steps describing the behavior a patient must change, or the actions a patient must perform. 
  • Direct. State information directly and concisely. The message is not complicated with extra words or unnecessary medical terms. 
  • Directive. Tell the patient what to do and what not to do, so the patient is not left to guess whether directions are necessary or merely suggested.
  • Streamlined. Remove information that is not necessary in order to highlight need-to-know information.
This approach is responsive to the research around activation and best represents the needs of our customers to keep their patients actively engaged in their own health care.

What innovations is your hospital or staff making to promote activation and to ensure the patient experience is interactive? What do you think are the most critical imperatives for activation improvement? Post a reply and share your ideas. Sharing our collective experiences is a great way to learn what is and is not working among your peers.

Learn more about how our comprehensive editorial process and procedures promote patient activation to improve health literacy, motivate patient behavior, and increase compliance.

Heather Du Mez, RN, BSN
Editorial Manager

How Hospital Pharmacy Can Integrate Technology to Impact HCAHPS Scores


By Tina Moen/Friday, September 27, 2013
Tina Moen imageQuality care and finance. The balance of these essential elements holds the key to the future of how we provide healthcare. Multidisciplinary care is more important than ever in caring for patients, and looking at the whole picture is the best way to care for the whole patient. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) agrees. How your hospital scores on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey is becoming increasingly important, especially since under the CMS Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program,
reimbursements are partially based on those scores.

How can pharmacists use their expertise to impact patient satisfaction and boost HCAHPS scores?

HCAHPS wants to know, if during the hospital stay, did the patient receive new medication? If so, how often did staff tell the patient what the medicine was for, and did staff describe possible side effects in simplified terms?

Pharmacists can directly impact these questions by combining clinical expertise with technology. We can make every reasonable effort to:
  • Explain to our patients why they are taking new medications – when prescribed, at first dose, and at discharge.
  • Use clear wording to help patients understand why they are taking a medication and what they can possibly expect as a result.
  • Give them patient-specific medication handouts and discharge instructions.
  • Make ourselves available to patients and to staff, to answer medication related questions.
And with technology, we can ensure we are educating our patients by scaling our efforts and making our available manpower more efficient. One of our clients, Arkansas Methodist Medical Center, is using Micromedex® Pharmacy Intervention to set alerts to remind their clinical pharmacists which patients are on new medications, develop protocols with simplified terminology for all pharmacists to follow uniformly, and then track their progress. View the video to see how they are making this work for them.

As pharmacists, we can also leverage Micromedex clinical decision support, embedded within the Pharmacy Intervention solution, or accessible via the 2.0 platform, to access the talking points within the Clinical Teaching section. Clinical Teaching highlights the most pertinent medication information and serves to inform clinicians on what patients need to know about medication use, safety, and side effects.

Lastly, we can use Micromedex Patient Education, as a standalone or embedded in the hospital EHR, to provide high-quality, evidence-based, consistent education to our patients. Health education resources are written in simple to understand language, an active voice, and at a 5th to 7th grade reading level. Patient-specific handouts and discharge instructions can be printed, and also made available to your patients via a patient portal and email.

Using Micromedex Solutions, we can compare internal benchmarks, which can be captured and quantified, to customize how pharmacy can improve care for patients. With these trusted solutions, we can make sure that the pharmacist and patient have all of the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions while aligning directly with HCAHPS standards. Well-honed tools help us adapt to the dynamic nature of the practice of pharmacy and no doubt solidify a blueprint for future regulatory and value based reimbursement programs.

Tina Moen, PharmD
Chief Clinical Officer

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