MedStar Health is a $4.4 billion not-for-profit, regional healthcare system with a network of 10 hospitals and 20 other health-related businesses across Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region. MedStar Health has a patient-first philosophy that combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service.
Consistent with an institution-wide focus on leveraging IT to improve outcomes, the Medstar Diabetes Institute decided to pilot a study to determine whether a diabetic patient portal would help its most disadvantaged Type 2 diabetes patients and their providers manage this disease.
eHealth2go focused on providing tools for diabetic patients to collaboratively manage care with their providers and family members. Patients utilized OneTouch Glucometers that uploaded directly into the patient portal so that patients and providers could track readings and trends over time. For out-of-range readings, the patient and the care management team received alerts that facilitated action. Care plans provided the necessary tools to take corrective measures to help manage clinical measures and improve overall care. Health journals enabled patients to see correlations between diet, exercise and outcomes. Reports generated through eHealth2go spurred value-added communication, because a record of the time between office visits was captured through the portal.
MedStar launched an updated version of eHealth2go to reach a broader spectrum of their patient population. The new version includes a mobile interface for patients to access and monitor care more effectively and efficiently. They added disease centers to include a general wellness center, diabetes/diabetes-prevention center, heart failure center and kidney center. Each of the disease centers incorporates personal health information, care plans and educational material specific to the intended cohort of patients.
In its pilot deployment to a low socioeconomic and elderly diabetic patient population, MedStar patients saw significant reduction in HbA1c (9.3% to 7.7%) and in blood glucose (181 mg/dl to 153 mg/dl) as well as positive increases in e-health literacy levels and patient satisfaction. During follow-up surveys and interviews, patients in the study said that they found ways to access computers, such as by going to the library or a family member’s house, because they saw the value in utilizing the breadth of tools provided in eHealth2go. Additionally, the simplicity of the charts added value and increased usability. For example, if a patient’s blood glucose was too high, then it would appear in a color-coded chart as out-of-range. By simply providing this visual aid, patients who were out-of-range knew that they should consult their care plans provided in eHeatlh2go. Messages were also automatically sent to the patient’s care management team at the patient’s discretion.
This project received numerous awards for its innovation with the Medstar population, including the 2011 Microsoft Innovation Award and the 2011 Promising Practice Award of Excellence at the 4th American Diabetes Association Disparities Forum.
eHealth2go supports care coordination and enables patient engagement for diabetes/diabetes prevention, heart failure, kidney disease and general wellness.
“eHealth2go focused on providing tools for diabetic patients to collaboratively manage care with their providers and family members.”