Oklahoma Heart Hospital IT lead: Follow the 'digital golden rule' to improve outcomes, engagement

The hospital, along with appointment reminder vendor Relatient, will present at HIMSS20 about lessons learned from a successful implementation.
By Jonah Comstock

Last year Oklahoma Heart Hospital switched up its vendor for appointment scheduling to great affect. As HIMSS Media reported at the time, switching to Relatient took the hospital’s no-show rate down from around 6.5% to 5.1% and saved the hospital nearly a million dollars on an annual basis.

Jonathan Minson, lead software architect at OHH will present at HIMSS20 last month along with Relatient Chief Technology Officer Kevin Montgomery. Together, the two will speak about some lessons learned from that implementation.

Relatient’s mobile-first approach to appointment reminders, which includes text messages, phone calls, and web forms, offered OHH improvements in interoperability, transparency, and patient engagement without sacrificing privacy or security.

Minson said that as a software developer working in the healthcare space, he’s used to working with vendors that are highly siloed compared to vendors in other industries.

“But Relatient was not that way,” he said. “From day one we told them we needed an API so we could get your data and work it into our clinician workflow seamlessly and they were totally onboard. And so having that data transparency, they are able to offer the same type of technical capabilities that every other software partner outside of health care is offering these days, that was the big difference for us. And because of that, really what drove our declining no-show rate was data transparency."

Additionally, the company had a fresh approach to patient engagement which also presented a contrast to other companies he’s worked with.

“Their idea is, well, let's engage people as a health care institution the way that people engage each other,” he said. “We'll have higher adoption. And you know that it's absolutely the case that we've seen, as opposed to some other messaging tools we've used, which would send an e-mail to the patient saying go log in to the other website with credentials you may not even remember to see this important thing we need to tell you.”

Minson says he and Montgomery plan to sum up these and other insights into what they’re calling the “digital golden rule.”

“We need to treat our patients and business partners in the same way that we treat people and business partners outside of the healthcare space,” he said.

That rule extends to how health systems think about privacy and security as well, MInson added, where the lesson we can learn from other industries is that data privacy is a manageable problem and shouldn’t stand in the way of innovation.

“Yes, we need to treat our patients' data with the utmost sanctity, I 100% believe in that,” he said. “But, you know, there are other industries that have equivalent if not more stringent privacy concerns like banking and people dealing with national defense issues. And I've worked with various people in those industries and they have made strides way beyond what we're making in health care. So this can be done. Instead of using that as a reason not to innovate, use that as a launching point, to say, all right, we have to accept this world of HIPAA and privacy and the sanctity of patient data. Just don't let that stifle our growth.”

Minson and Montgomery will be presenting "Achieving Patient Engagement in a Mobile-First Market" at HIMSS20. It is scheduled for 1:00-2:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 at the Orange Country Convention Center in room W303A.