KALAMAZOO — Borgess Medical Center, a 422-bed full-service acute care hospital in Kalamazoo, announced new patient education incentives with the goal of improving health care literacy and patient outcomes.

The hospital is using the TIGR interactive patient education systems from Raleigh, N.C.-based TeleHealth Services.

These interactive systems will help drive improvements in patient understanding of their medical conditions, enhance post-discharge care, and better engage patients, families, and caregivers.

“Hospitals across the country are focusing on ways to improve health services and patient satisfaction ratings,” says Anita Heyman. administrative director of the medical, surgical and cardiac departments at the hospital. “Now, new government standards being applied to the reimbursements we receive for Medicare and Medicaid services are linked to financial incentives that target improved patient education, care coordination, and clinical efficiency. Borgess Medical Center has already embraced these opportunities for continuous improvement, and now we are implementing additional programs to enhance these services.”

According to Heyman, the hospital is implementing these tools to increase compliance and understanding, measure service responsiveness, and improve clinical outcomes. The intended goal, she adds, is to reduce readmissions and improve patient satisfaction ratings.

The TIGR interactive patient education system was developed to target and deliver customized patient education at the bedside through health videos that target the patient’s specific illness, medical condition, or recovery need. Nurses assign these videos to patients and families as part of their care-coordination efforts, and then use a “teach-back” method to follow up and determine if the patient understands content or needs additional support. The hospital has also linked their TIGR patient education system to its electronic medical records system, for documentation of education and further operational efficiencies.

“Patient education programs like the one at Borgess are good examples of how hospitals are rising to the challenge of meeting patients’ educational needs, enhancing clinical compliance, and improving outcomes,” says George Fleming, president and CEO of TeleHealth Services. “Patient education tools like TeleHealth’s TIGR interactive system engage families and alternate caregivers, allow hospitals more flexibility and efficiency in their patient teaching and communication efforts, and offer interactive capabilities that help hospitals provide coordinated, consistent care across an entire health system. These factors are increasing clinical efficiencies while improving quality of care and the patient experience, all important goals for enhancing patient satisfaction and meeting federal requirements for reimbursements and meaningful use.”

Borgess has selected a wide variety of video topics relating to cardiac care, maternity, heart disease, diabetes management, wound care, proper hand hygiene, and more. Efforts are under way to ensure that every surgical patient, prior to discharge, views a video on pain management as well as other assigned, condition-specific videos. The hospital is planning to expand educational subjects to include infection control, orthopedic care, and other topics that offer critical information patients and families need post discharge. Additionally, the hospital is creating custom menus and videos focusing on post-operative care and many titles are available in Spanish as well.

“Patients respond to these videos, and to the related discussion with their hospital caregiver,” Heyman said. “The families can watch and also ask questions. With these tools we can better educate our patients and empower them in the recovery process. That improves their quality of life and reduces the likelihood they’ll end up back in the hospital.”

To learn more about TeleHealth Services and the TIGR interactive patient education system, please visit www.telehealth.com.


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