How to know what digital health tools will improve patient experience

With remote care proliferating amid the pandemic, patients have now started to expect streamlined communication, care coordination and quality care both in person and via telemedicine. 

During an Oct. 8 session at Becker’s Health IT + Revenue Cycle Virtual Event, two industry experts discussed digital health and its effect on clinical care and the patient experience.

Panelists included:

  • Darren Dworkin, CIO at Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai
  • Chris DeFlitch, MD, emergency physician and chief medical information officer at Hershey, Pa.-based Penn State Health 

Here is an excerpt from the conversation, lightly edited for clarity. To view the full session on demand, click here

Question: How can hospitals differentiate between digital health tools that won’t improve patient experience and those that will?

Darren Dworkin: I love the question because it gives me the ability to give a very simple answer: We ask them. We integrate patients and their families in our decision-making. We have patients on committees, on some of our technology groups. We have unbelievably smart people working at Cedars-Sinai, but even better than asking smart people to guess what patients want is just asking patients and involving the feedback in the work we do. I’ve already seen some of the wonderful benefits it has had, and I’m excited that we have created more opportunities to do that in the future.

Chris DeFlitch: Darren is right on. You have to know what’s important to the community you serve. There may be some technologies that are unbelievable from a tech perspective, but don’t have a practical application or are so complex that most people can’t use them. Penn State Health is implementing technology that values the individual. Our electronic record includes information that is important to the patients. We’ve had patients who say they don’t want to have a certain surgery, and the reason is they want to go home to feed their dog. It seems so simple, but that’s what’s important to them. We have to value the individual and enable them with usable technologies. Some of these new developments are cool and fancy, but we’ve got to get the simple part right — does it provide value to the patients and the provider? 

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