Cincinnati, OH – A new app allows hospital patients to use tablet computers to look up their test results, order ice chips, and do much more. Some patients even take tablets home as they recover, with a goal of improving patient satisfaction and reducing readmissions.
Catholic Health Partners (CHP), Ohio’s largest health system, plans to roll out the application for tablets called MyChart Bedside to its 23 hospitals after a successful pilot taking place at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio. In the pilot, 34 patients have received tablets from St. Rita’s (or used their own Android tablets) since late August.
CHP has teamed with Madison, Wis.-based Epic to pilot MyChart Bedside. CHP deployed MyChart Bedside to improve patient experience, reduce readmissions and provide other benefits for both patients and the health system. CHP has been installing a $400-million electronic health system, called CarePATH, based on the Epic platform.
Patients say that MyChart Bedside helps them better understand why they are admitted and why they are taking medications.
"I feel like I know how to take care of myself," one patient said after using MyChart Bedside.
Other examples of how MyChart Bedside impacts patients include:
A man reporting that the app helped him understand why he was being admitted so often and why he was on all of his meds.
A woman took the tablet to lunch with her, using the messaging feature to make sure she didn’t miss her physician during rounds.
A patient who had thought he was misdiagnosed, but was able to look up information about his illness.
Another who spoke about using the tablet to stay connected with his workplace and feel more in control of his life.
A patient who tracked vital signs and more deeply researched his medications.
Another who liked the ability to watch basketball and play games with his son, making his stay less stressful.
MyChart Bedside ties directly to each patient’s electronic health record, providing information on test results, medicine and upcoming procedures. It also provides educational information related to a patient’s condition and treatment, and allows patients to access web based programs like Facebook, and email, to stay in contact with family members during their hospital stay. Patients may view medication instructions, learn about upcoming procedures, view photos and bios of caregivers, request blankets… and perform other tasks to make their stays more productive and enjoyable.
The application also allows patients to ask questions or make non-urgent requests to nurses. Without the app, patients may have held back from asking questions because they did not want to bother nurses with call buttons designated for urgent matters. Family members of patients report that they liked not having to go to nurses stations and interrupt nurses with routine questions or requests.
"We are very excited about the potential of this new product to improve patient care," said Dr. Stephen Beck, CHP’s chief medical information officer. "We believe this will improve patient engagement and we’ll get better outcomes. People will be happier and healthier. Patient satisfaction will improve dramatically."
Carl Dvorak, Epic’s President, said: "St. Rita's’ first use of MyChart Bedside reflects a pioneering spirit of Catholic Health Partners and true leadership in the important areas of transparency and patient engagement. It's an exciting step and we're excited to work together to see where we go from here."