Nemours Children’s Health System already sees a million visitors a day at Kidshealth.org, a content site devoted to children’s health issues and used by more than 200 million parents, kids and teens annually.
Now Nemours plans to deploy a new patient portal pulling together information from that site and other key resources at Nemours.
The new portal, now in early pilot testing and due for initial release in December or January, pulls together patient experiences ranging from traditional electronic health records data pulled and aggregated from the system’s EHR software from Epic Systems Corp., telehealth visits and KidsHealth.org.
The new portal is the first part of a multi-tier plan to centralize all of the health system’s digital programs in order to give patients a “one stop shopping” experience. “This strategic initiative focuses on the millennial consumer,” says Gina Altieri, senior vice president and chief of strategy integration at Nemours. “The new parent is that millennial consumer, so they want what they want and they want us to meet them where they are.”
The initial portal tool is an app that helps Nemours patients and their parents manage asthma, says PJ Gorenc, operating officer at the Nemours Center for Health Delivery Innovation.
The app looks to address the most challenging aspects of treating chronic conditions—and asthma in particular—by offering access, anytime or anywhere, to encourage families to participate in care whenever it is necessary, giving both families and physicians more information and support to design and comply with care plans, Nemours says.
The asthma app supports the use of physician ordered home-monitoring tools, such as a breath-flow monitor and a digitally connected stethoscope, provides video instructions for inhaler use, allows families to keep a real-time digital journal of symptoms, and enables better communication for telehealth visits with asthma specialists, Nemours says.
Nemours also will be monitoring the care of families using the app to determine how the digital tool helps patients manage and control their condition, compared with traditional care.
To develop the app, Nemours designed a system that brings together data from the electronic medical record, KidsHealth.org, and its CareConnect telehealth service. The coordination of technology requires that each component is interoperable within one system to enable the file-sharing, journaling, and use of clinical tools, Nemours says.
“Families have trouble judging asthma exacerbations and how serious they are,” Gorenc says. “So we realized telehealth has to be a tap away from their online experience, just one tap to be able to see a Nemours clinician who can see and hear their child and help them understand whether this is serious and the child needs to go to the emergency room, or if they can just follow their asthma action plan at home.”
The Nemours App for Asthma will be the first of several disease-specific tools designed to help patients and families better manage their chronic conditions by integrating the patient and clinician experience into one platform. The tool is now being piloted and is scheduled to be released for use in iPhones through the Apple store in early 2018.
In late 2018, Nemours also will be “well down the road” of developing a primary care or well-child experience for the smart patient portal, Gorenc says. As of November, the current MyNemours patient portal has approximately 100,000 users.
Nemours Children’s Health operates Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children’s Hospital, Orlando, Fla. The system cares for 250,000 children annually.
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