An App A Day Can Keep The Doctor Away
Technology is helping fundamentally change healthcare delivery in the built environment, from the way patients check in for an appointment and how medical information is taken and recorded to how appointments and treatment are delivered. It’s also influencing the conversation between doctors and patients.
“I’ve seen my own patients coming in and saying ‘I’ve come across these apps, what do you think?’ or ‘Are you able to download my blood sugars off of my diabetes app?” says Dr. David Shulkin, president, Morristown Medical Center, part of Atlantic Health System.
Determined not to be left behind in this evolution, he started talking with colleagues about vetting some health apps so they could create a list of recommended ones for patients—from diabetes treatment to lifestyle applications. They even developed a medical app prescription pad with the list that doctors can check off and give to patients as part of their overall treatment.
As if that isn’t cool enough, Shulkin and his colleagues didn’t stop at simply suggesting new sources of information—they created their own in the form of a new retail space at Morristown Medical Center (Morristown, N.J.) called HealtheConnect.
Modeled after Apple’s Genius bar, the 300-square-foot space is located on the first floor and designed as a place where patients, family members, and staff can come in and learn about the latest healthcare applications and technologies, as well as how to use them.
Staffed by an IT professional with clinical skills, the space houses monitors, tablets, and devices, multiple seating options, and a small retail space at the back for purchasing devices, such as wearables. (Visitors can also bring in their own electronics to get assistance with downloads or tutorials.)
The space opened last fall and Shulkin says so far the most frequent requests are for help in using technology that the person already owns or for learning how to use a new app.
The idea is that a patient who was just diagnosed with high blood pressure can get some recommended health apps from their physician and then, on their way to the car, stop by the store.
“We think that technology is a growing and important part of healthcare and so we want be integral to our patient and our staff learning about these new technologies,” Shulkin says.
HealtheConnect puts Morristown in the right place at the right time and fits in with all the other trends in healthcare right now: patient satisfaction, preventative care, community health, to name a few.
It’s also the kind of innovative thinking that will help transform the next generation of healthcare design.
Speaking of innovation, don’t forget to participate in Healthcare Design’s 2015 Innovation Survey. We need your input and the results will be shared in a special report in the March 2015 issue. Take the survey here.