Connecting Expectant Moms and Others with Trusted Content—and Gaining Patient Engagement | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health ITSeptember 1, 2018
Can the implementation of mobile health applications improve patient outcomes and enhance patient engagement? The leaders at South Shore Health System (SSHS) have invested in the proposition that it can. That three-hospital integrated health system, located in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, had been facing the same types of challenges that other integrated health systems have long faced, in terms of consumer health content that was not optimally presented or shared with patients and families.
So, partnering with the Raleigh, N.C.-based MobileSmith, an “app-as-a-Service” company, South Shore leaders have been able to achieve more targeted, consistent messaging and care to all obstetrical patients, regardless of practice.
Now, instead of frustrating users with irrelevant notifications or pages of unnecessary content, expectant mothers can use the app to quickly connect to everything they need to know at each stage throughout their pregnancy.
Among the results SSHS leaders have documented include the following:
- OB-Maternity HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey scores have risen by 68 percent — jumping SSHS from the 53rd percentile to 89th
- The hospital’s Care Transitions ranking also improved by 40 percent (from 43rd percentile to 60th)
- Nearly 50 percent of new moms have opted for the app over printed handouts
- Beyond new referrals, SSHS saved $10,000-15,000 in printing costs alone last year, reducing wasted paper-based booklets still used by many OB/GYN practices
- SSHS is about to roll out a new bariatrics app that will be used as part of their certification program
Recently, three leaders from South Shore Health System spoke with Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland about their initiative, and its results. Kim Dever, M.D. is the health system’s chair of obstetrics and gynecology, and president of its medical staff; Luke Poppish is executive director of obstetrical and gynecological services; and Faye Weir, Ph.D., is director of parent/child services for the organization. Below are excerpts from that interview.
Tell me about the origins of this initiative?
Kim Dever, M.D.: At South Shore Health System, patients were getting the bulk of their information through smartphones, and we thought, what better place for our information to go to them, than through the tool they use every day? So, Luke Poppish said, let’s develop an app for our pregnant patients. We wanted to get them information. So we created the South Shore Hospital Babies app… Paper information wasn’t being used or saved. And we also could save money on printing all those brochures, etc. They can time their contractions, they can register for classes. It’s really been a nice way to reach our target audience.
Luke Poppish: We also had a lot of moms coming from a variety of different private practices—five at that time—whose doctors delivered at South Shore. So, we were faced with five different ways of…