Geisinger-Merck partnership produces care coordination apps

Geisinger and Merck have collaborated to produce two web-based workflow solutions, one for patient care and another intended for medication reconciliation.

The initiative aims to improve communication between patients and their care teams, while additionally providing an approach to increase clinician awareness of whether patients are adhering to medication regimens.

The apps were developed through an ongoing collaboration between Geisinger, a Pennsylvania-based integrated delivery system, and Merck, a biopharmaceutical company. Both are embedded within Geisinger’s electronic medical record, and they’re accessible within a provider’s workflow, easing their use in accessing clinical and patient-reported data.

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The apps will use SMART on FHIR technology, resulting in an open, standards-based platform that can incorporate data from different vendors’ health records systems. As a result, the applications can be used by any healthcare organization.

The Family Caregiver Application aims to improve two-way communication and coordination of care for patients with their caregivers. It’s accessible to family caregivers as well. It features a calendar that integrates medical and personal appointments, helping to coordinate medical care; a patient-managed medication scheduler; journal features that enable patients to write notes; customization capabilities; and quickly accessible contact information.

“Providing these tools for patients and family caregivers—tested within our own system—enables patients to be more active in healthcare decisions and could increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to their treatment plans and lead healthier lives,” says David Ledbetter, Geisinger’s executive vice president and chief scientific officer.

The other app, called MedTrue, includes medication fill data from a national prescription data aggregator; a patient web interface for patient-reported medication verification, changes and adherence; a healthcare team web interface through the patient’s electronic medical record, enabling point-of-care access to the patient’s validated medication list and adherence report.

“We know from prior work that about 70 percent of our medication lists are inaccurate, and these inaccuracies can lead to medical errors,” said Mike Evans, vice president of enterprise pharmacy and chief pharmacy officer for Geisinger. “The MedTrue application provides an interface that seeks to clean up medication lists, so patients and providers can be on the same page regarding medication use and better care decisions can be made.”

“Our collaboration with Merck has allowed both of our organizations to leverage our individual strengths, expertise and resources to better enable a shared decision-making process through healthcare technology," Evans added.

In addition to being tested within Geisinger’s system prior to launch, real-world experience studies are being conducted to gather additional evidence on each solution’s effectiveness.

“We are confident these applications can be successful with other health systems,” says Lisa French, Merck’s associate vice president of strategy and commercial model innovation-U.S. market. “We are excited to begin the next phase of our work together, as we actively explore the expanded use and commercialization of these applications with other stakeholders in the healthcare system.”

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