As the Hello Health team works increasingly with integrative medicine practices, it strikes me how many observers of electronic health records in ambulatory care neglect to consider the fit with this important and growing segment.
Integrative medicine, sometimes also referred to as holistic care, is emerging as an exciting new option for patients. Incorporating a view of the patient that encompasses diet, lifestyle and exercise, integrative medicine practices offer patients the expertise and knowledge of both doctors trained in conventional medicine with nutritionists, dieticians, acupuncturists, therapists and health coaches. Patient services can include nutritional supplements, educational events focused on healthy living, and even exercise programs too.
Often it is the “engaged patient” looking for a broader outlook on health and wellness who seeks the practices that this kind of multi-provider care team offers. At Hello Health, we have the privilege of being the EHR provider and practice partner to practices that offer a range of integrative and holistic care, either on a dedicated basis or in combination with a traditional practice.
Which brings me to the wonderful opportunity that an EHR platform that considers the patient as an active and vital constituent can offer these practices.
Patient portals give the patient an opportunity to invest in their health by managing their health information, sharing results from specialists, or asking their primary care doctor questions about their health. It's a lot about owning your wellness. This kind of active participation is especially well-suited for integrative care, where patients are challenged to be engaged across multiple facets of their life to achieve their health and wellness goals. They often bring a wellspring of energy and commitment to their health as well. Unfortunately, without a technology platform to support this level of engagement, the realities of a patient panel that may live some distance away from their integrative practice, as well as the traditional issues of paper and phone-based communications can get in the way of a wellness dialog with their care team.
So just as their traditional primary care practice colleagues can benefit from a holistic integrative approach to an electronic health record, holistic practices can leverage the inclusiveness of a platform that integrates the electronic health record, a patient portal and a suite of secure communication tools to reinforce their care vision. Patient adoption, and more importantly utilization, will be driven not only by the convenience an integrated patient portal offers, but by having another tool supporting their wellness.
Stephen Armstrong is senior vice president for Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement.