MedStar National Rehabilitation Network (NRH) is a rehabilitation center that specializes in treating persons with physical disabilities including spinal cord injury (SCI). MedStar NRH is a part of MedStar Health, a non-for-profit, community-based healthcare organization in the Maryland/Virginia/Washington, D.C. region. As the largest healthcare provider in the region, MedStar’s ten hospitals, the MedStar Health Research Institute, MedStar Physician Partners, and their other programs and services are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care.
Get Real Health was tasked with developing, designing, testing and launching an application that would focus on improving primary care for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The objective was to make the portal easy to use, especially for those with limited hand function. The project required adherence to strict budgetary caps that limited new development capabilities. Thus, the work focused on configuring existing widgets and features to make them WCAG compliant while not losing functionality or usability.
The initial pilot phase was rolled out to a handful of patients as a way to measure ease of use and garner feedback from the actual user’s experience. Feedback was collected to help shape future phases in anticipation of the portal being released to more users.
This project utilized the InstantPHR patient and provider portal, customer service administrative portal (CSA) with an emphasis on the health journal, action plans and survey widgets. Although most of the data was patient generated, patients had the ability to sync with a Microsoft HealthVault account. The portal was intended to serve as one hub to house data culled from Medstar’s electronic medical record system, results from labs, pharmaceutical information, the aforementioned patient data as well as relevant educational content.
The fact that new development was limited challenged the team to find ways to meet client and user needs with out-of-the-box features and workarounds with existing features. For example, capturing the weight of a wheelchair when adding weight data was essential for this user group to ensure accuracy. To address this need, the weight widget Notes field was updated to make room for this data.
Site navigation was also enhanced to accommodate a wide range of user mobility and function while maintaining branding specifications for continuity across MedStar’s sites.
Get Real Health is assisting MedStar NRH in its mission to better the lives and overall health of those with SCI. This pilot will give real-time feedback regarding the use and benefits of the solution as a guide for future releases and enhancements. This type of PHR will empower those with SCI to monitor their health remotely, cutting down on the labor intensive in-office visit. Providers will also benefit, as they can view up-to-the-minute patient data assisting in early detection of harmful trends and intervention if necessary.
For Get Real Health, this project has been a testament to the modular framework of our InstantPHR product. Our team was able to retool the existing features to accommodate a broad spectrum of needs for SCI patients without starting anew with development, thus avoiding cost overruns. It also proved that our products can serve any segment of the population regardless of condition or ability.