How HealthGrid helps Nicklaus Children's digitize check-in, discharge, and more

By Jonah Comstock

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Ed Martinez as a doctor.

According to Ed Martinez, CIO of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, one of the biggest problems with EHRs is that they’re not patient-focused systems.’

“We had just gone live in 2007, 2006 with Cerner and I realized there was a missing component in the whole Cerner story,” Martinez told MobiHealthNews in an interview at HIMSS18 in Las Vegas. “Look at the system. $100 billion and we don’t have a focus on the patient themselves.”

So he reached out to serial entrepreneur Raj Toleti and HealthGrid was born. The idea behind the system is as much of the communication with patients and parents as possible is done through an app, rather than through paper.

“When people walk out the door, we give them a full electronic discharge document,” he said. “Attached to that is education videos, attached to that is appointment reminders. You can sign your documents online if you show up at the next visit, so when you walk in you’re ready to go see the doctor. You don’t have to deal with all the minutia that comes with that because you can do that from your mobile app at home.”

Parents with the mobile app can also see where in the hospital their child is at any given time.

“Parents are always asking ‘what’s going on with my kid?’ so we keep them updated,” Martinez said. “We’ve figured out what’s the right timing. We don’t want to bog them with too many texts. We want to hit them just at the right time and it’s just enough to keep them calmed down, they’re not going to the nurses anymore saying ‘What’s going on?’ and they know where their child is."

Nicklaus is piloting another system which isn’t yet integrated into HealthGrid, but could be in the future, called KidChat. It is a HIPAA-compliant platform that lets parents who aren’t able to stay with their child in the hospital check-in via video chat.

At another hospital, the system is integrating the Cerner patient portal with HealthGrid. This also might be rolled out more broadly in the future.

Martinez says the implementation of HealthGrid has paid dividends by keeping parents and patients coming back. He says they went from a 2 to 4 percent profit margin to a 10 to 11 percent margin.

“Keep the patient engaged and keep them in the center of the discussion,” Martinez said. “If you do that, margins go up, satisfaction goes up, compliance goes up because the patient is more aware of what they have to do.”