How Dignity Health deployed a multilingual adherence, education program

SMART on FHIR was a key piece of the rapid rollout across 35 hospitals.
By Jonah Comstock
03:11 pm
Sarah Toy-Ding (left) and Tiffany Shields (right)

Dignity Health's Sarah Toy-Ding (left) and Tiffany Shields (right)

Using SMART on FHIR integration, Dignity Health was able to quickly roll out a patient-facing app that delivers education and medication reminders in 20 different languages.

“Our leadership was looking for an opportunity to improve the patient experience, by engaging patients more in preventive care to help reduce readmission rates, and by being able to communicate more broadly with our patient populations by offering discharge medication instructions in more than 20 languages,” Sarah Toy-Ding, an enterprise clinical informaticist at Dignity Health, told MobiHealthNews. “That is where the passion of the project started.”

The app is a medication reminder app that’s not only available in 20 languages, but also displays information in a large font and at a fifth grade reading level.

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“The app has a calendar view allowing patients to take home a grid that tells them which day of the week and at what time of day they need to take their medication,” Toy-Ding said. “No longer just a list of medications to look through, this grid displays icons and it’s clearly spelled out  in an easy to understand format.  With this level of engagement between patients and clinicians, we aim to improve medication adherence at home outside of the acute and ambulatory settings.”

But what really made the intervention unique was the speed of it, facilitated by the SMART on FHIR integration, according to Toy-Ding and Tiffany Shields, another enterprise clinical informaticist.

“We rolled out to 35 acute hospitals in a little over five months,” Toy-Ding said. “In the first week we implemented one unit within each of our hospitals, bringing 35 units live at one time.  The remainder were up and running soon thereafter. It was a really rapid rollout made possible by SMART on FHIR technology.”

“It was not only a rapid rollout but it also decreased significantly the amount of design, build, and testing time,” Shields added. “Those were the three phases of the project that were very small percentages of time compared to what we’re used to doing with your traditional EHR solution.”

The rollout has been a success so far, with 262,000 medication regimen calendars distributed to patients. Toy-Ding and Shields said that the offering has also been a hit with nurses.

“Prior to the implementation of Meducation the staff were limited in ways to customize patient medication regimes that were automatically printed from the system,” Shields said. “With this app they could spend more time with the patient to ensure that they go home with a good understanding of their medication treatment plan as well as a calendar view to assist them in remembering when to take their meds.” 

Toy-Ding and Shields will present at HIMSS19 in a session titled “Dignity Health Boosts Medication Adherence with SMART on FHIR.” It’s scheduled for Monday, February 11, from 3:00-3:30 p.m. in room the Rosen Centre Grand C.

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