If you read Part 1 of our Q&A with Jason Peoples, (and we hope you did), then you already know that Jason is a Virtual Care Developer at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a member of eVideon Health’s Advisory Board. As an expert in non-traditional care delivery, he is passionate about discovering new modalities as well as the best way to use traditional “hub and spoke” models via virtual care. He also studies industry disruption in technology and ways to embrace the rise of consumerism and develop strategies to give patients the right access to the right care at the right time. He is currently developing partnerships with technology companies that can further advance unique use cases with proof of concepts using AI/ML and voice assistants. Find him on Twitter at @jjpeoples311.
Today, we continue our Q&A series with a focus on virtual health’s role in patient engagement.
Tell us about your experience with telehealth. Explain your philosophy that “telehealth is patient engagement.”
I have been in the telehealth space for 10 years, first in acute care followed by post-acute. While CMS continues to add additional reimbursable services, there is certainly opportunity to expand reimbursement for services beyond the designated “originating site.” The hub-and-spoke model has been the standard for telehealth for many years. As internet connectivity has become readily available along with personal computing with mobile devices, healthcare systems are developing alternative care delivery methods that meet patients’ needs for access to care. With the term “telehealth” having broad meaning and incorporating new approaches, the technology modality ties nicely into patient engagement. Digital strategies that fall under the telehealth umbrella can certainly include voice and video, but also targeted program messaging specific to the patient is a form of engagement. And of course, an engaged patient is more likely to be more compliant with better outcomes.
Do you think the term “patient engagement” is overused? Why/why not?
I think the term “patient engagement” is not as well-defined as “patient education.” Education has a certain stigma with an educator or clinician talking with the patient. Engagement is a softer term that I think we’re starting to see adopted more and more across the health care systems. You can educate a patient verbally, with clinical oversight, paper hand-outs, digitally, or a combination of education tactics with the hope that they’ll comply with the care plan. In contrast, engagement is a continuous process that keeps patients involved with their care plan by incorporating voice and video, digital resources, and platforms with outcome measurements. It’s crucial as we all shift to value-based care.
How does patient engagement look different in a rehab facility versus other areas of healthcare?
The biggest challenge we face is the lack of content in rehabilitation for acute rehabilitation such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, etc. In the outpatient therapy space, a patient may be referred to PT by a PCP or other provider. Depending on the case, they develop a 6-8 visit care plan. Depending on how well the patient is progressing, we often see a higher no-show rate toward the end of the treatment plan due to the patient feeling “well enough.” Developing strategies that provide access to the resources that can assign specific exercises and activities for the patient’s unique needs as well as web resources, program messaging, voice, and video are tactics we’d consider to increase patient engagement and better outcomes.
Can you share a patient story or anecdote of how you’ve seen virtual care succeed in rehabilitation?
Since joining Mary Free Bed in 2016, our initial focus for virtual care integration was on admissions. Oftentimes with out-of-area referrals, the information we receive doesn’t provide a complete picture of the patient. Then we’d have additional questions that stem from a lack of discharge plan. Since implementing virtual care into the admissions process, we’ve seen an increase patient acceptance by simply adding a real-time voice and video interaction.
Miss Part 1? Read it here!