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In April 1999, Michael O’Neil was a cancer patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Following surgery and chemotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Michael began his recovery and mission to improve patient care based on his experience. Founded on the core premise that a more active and involved patient is a better patient, Michael developed a concept called Interactive Patient Care and created a company focused on improving patient outcomes through patient and family engagement.

With five million patient interactions each year, GetWellNetwork works beside some of the foremost providers of healthcare including many large IDNs like Adventist, Ascension, Catholic Health West, Trinity Health and the Sisters of Charity; in government the Military Health System and Veterans Health Administration; and academic medical centers such as the University of Chicago, Loma Linda University, Thomas Jefferson in Philadelphia, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
GetWellNetwork is also running in over 25 of the top children’s hospitals in the country, four Baldrige Performance Excellence winners: Sharp Healthcare in San Diego, Poudre Valley in Colorado, Saint Luke’s in Kansas City and Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. And They work with many leading independent healthcare providers like Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and West Jefferson Medical Center in New Orleans.There is an increasingly common belief among hospital executives and healthcare organizations that patient and family engagement must be a key driver in the transformation of the healthcare delivery system. The Healthcare Advisory Board named it as one of the three pillars for healthcare transformation in its recent Playbook for Accountable Care. In 2008 NQF announced patient and family engagement as one of the five National Health Priorities that will guide and shape healthcare transformation. Since then, policy, regulation and standards have been developed to include patient engagement as a core element.
There is a growing amount of data available demonstrating that when patients become active participants in their care, they are more inclined and motivated to assume responsibility for managing their own health. When that happens
, the results are better outcomes for the patient, and lower costs and better performance for the hospital.
The healthcare industry has invested a lot of time and resources on finding ways to deliver more patient-centered care over the last ten years.  Many different strategies have been tried and tested – some successful, many not. Many of those efforts were focused on strategies around the patient. The company believes that in order to realize the benefit of patient engagement, they will have to change the way they deliver care. They must move from a model where care is delivered to and around the patient to one in which the care is delivered with the patient.
There is an emerging care delivery model known as Interactive Patient Care (IPC). IPC is based on the premise that a more engaged patient is a satisfied patient with better outcomes. There is now ample evidence-based outcomes data associated with this innovative care delivery model that demonstrates patient engagement through IPC is a proven strategy for performance improvement.
At GetWellNetwork, they provide a software platform that offers caregivers tools and resources that support an IPC delivery model. Consider the challenges hospitals and healthcare providers face today, especially with the advent of pay for performance. In response, hospitals have invested significant resources around the patient to address these challenges. Our focus is to optimize those resources by directly connecting them to the patient through the lens of safety, quality and service.
They have been collecting outcomes data for nearly eight years. This data tells them that when hospitals effectively hardwire patient engagement through an IPC delivery model, performance improves in three categories – patient satisfaction, quality and safety, and finance and operations improvement. Their clients have been reporting double-digit increases in HCAHPS and care measures performance, significant reductions in hospital acquired conditions such as falls and readmission’s  and strong improvements in workflow efficiency, revenues and average length of stay.
To demonstrate the power of effective patient engagement particularly in a high priority area for performance improvement – they turn to the research being conducted through the Institute for Interactive Patient Care (IIPC), to formally assess the impact of patient activation on reducing heart failure readmissions. The study is underway at three leading hospitals and is nearly complete. Results to date have shown very similar, statistically significant advances in the level of patient activation at all research sites. And more importantly, they are seeing a very significant impact on heart failure readmissions. At one facility, where the study has been completed, the analysis shows a 50% reduction in all cause 30-day readmissions.
At a time when they are searching for transformative strategies in the way care is delivered and in particular, finding solutions that assure performance improvement in both managing patient care delivery and in managing the health of populations – it is important that we make patient and family engagement a central part of the strategy.
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