How Healthcare Is Optimizing Patient Engagement

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Published on November 29, 2023 by Chris Hayhurst. Chris Hayhurst is a contributor to the CDW family of technology magazines.

Healthcare organizations are expanding their digital connections to boost patient engagement and improve the care experience. Although Vish Pasumarthy isn’t a doctor, he’s familiar with how patient engagement can improve the care experience.

As the CTO of Cleveland-based University Hospitals Cutler Center for Men, Pasumarthy recently led the organization’s deployment of a customized app that he says “brings digital communication to the forefront of everything we do.” The tool was developed using Power Apps, a suite of low-code technologies and services available through Microsoft’s cloud-based Power Platform.

UH Cutler Center for Men was established in 2021 to address the fact that men are less likely than women to go to the doctor. In Cleveland alone, 250,000 fewer men than women see a doctor annually, contributing to a national shorter life expectancy than women, higher rates of cancer, behavioral health issues and more, according to the health system. UH Cutler Center for Men’s free program offers a concierge service where certified healthcare navigators called “Joes” work closely with program members to help them access much-needed care.

“Your Joe is like your wingman,” Pasumarthy says. “They’re somebody who’s going to speak to you at your level and explain things you may not otherwise understand or think to ask.”

When the program kicked off, the Joes used spreadsheets to manage their work, including their interactions with patients and providers. They had access to University Hospitals’ electronic health records system, but only directly through the system itself.

In partnership with UH Ventures, the enterprise’s innovation and commercialization arm, Pasumarthy created a solution that would both power and empower the concierge team.

The HIPAA-compliant app, launched in 2022, uses automation, tracking and text-messaging capabilities to streamline what had been relatively cumbersome processes. Now, Pasumarthy says, the Joes at the center simply turn to their tablet devices for everything from patient registrations and appointment calendars to medical histories and personalized task lists.

The Joes can also text a member’s physician for clarification if a patient has questions about their treatment, and they can easily send educational information and communicate with members wherever they happen to be.

“It helps the Joes work a lot more efficiently and create a much more personalized experience for the people they’re serving. What used to take them 30 minutes now takes three, and they’re connecting with members like they’re chatting with a buddy.”

– Vish Pasumarthy CTO, University Hospitals Cutler Center for Men

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