Henry Ford looks to boost patient experience with technology

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Walt Disney World knows how to give families an experience they will not forget, supplemented with a technology badge called a MagicBand that serves as a pass and check-in device to parks and their attractions and can be used to purchase merchandise.

It’s the Disney Experience, says Spencer Hoover, vice president and executive director at Henry Ford Cancer Institute. That model is coming to Henry Ford, starting with the Cancer Institute.

At Henry Ford, use of Bluetooth technology put on patient smartphones will help staff and doctors know that the patient has arrived and whether the patient is in the building or outside in the drop-off zone. Once inside, patients will wear a badge that monitors where they are during the visit. Bluetooth also can alert staff of a patient’s specific needs.

Patients who don’t have a smartphone or tablet will check out a tablet during the course of treatment, and the Cancer Institute is working with telecommunication companies to get free tablets for poor patients to take home.

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When patients arrive, staff will know why the patient is coming, what condition needs treatment and various preferences of the patient, Hoover says. “Our entire delivery system focuses on best outcomes, survival rates and patient satisfaction, taking lessons from digital industry environments.”

Henry Ford is working with Accesso Technology Group, a vendor serving the leisure, entertainment, cultural and hospitality markets and now is focused on entering the healthcare industry—the pilot program at Henry Ford will test the vendor’s platform, called The Experience Engine.

The platform will support a dashboard linking all data financially and clinically to a patient, giving staff and doctors more information to better understand the patient’s needs.

The platform also will support patient use of smartphones or tablets to take their blood pressure, heart rate and other measures, and enable clinicians to know the location of a patient and monitor such measures as their fall risk or the best time to have a follow-up scan.

The technology platform further will support concierge services that enable staff and physicians to identify the patient and family by name upon arrival, enable patients to navigate within the facility, provide a list of care preferences, be able to order food during the stay, pay medical bills and co-pays via a smartphone and get proximity alerts so family members know how the patient is progressing through the appointment.

“This is unlike anything we’ve seen before in healthcare,” says Steven Kalkanis, MD, medical director at Henry Ford Cancer Institute and chair of the department of neurosurgery. “A cancer diagnosis and everything that comes with it can cause an unspeakable amount of stress for patients and families. A solution of this magnitude has the potential to ease that burden, and we are thrilled to create an improved experience for our patients.”

Pilot testing starts later this year, with a multi-phased implementation anticipated for 2020.

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