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How Did Baystate Health Uncover the Magic in Serving Its Community?

At Baystate Health in western Massachusetts, they have a phrase for when innovation works behind the scenes to help patients: “Things are automagically happening.”

woman at laptop

In the best cases, auto-magic powers a patient portal that’s built not just to deliver lab results, but also to foster engagement among patients and clinicians. Predictive analytics lean on auto-magic to identify who’s at risk because of certain social determinants of health. It can even determine whether an individual is likely to miss an appointment with Baystate, an integrated delivery network with 1,000 beds across three community hospitals.

“The magic, if you will, needs to occur both on the front end for our patients, our customers, as well as on the back end for our providers,” Ken Riley, director of patient and population health technologies for Baystate Health, said during the InterSystems Virtual Leadership Conference. “Innovation can simply be the notion that I hit a button, and I’m able to walk into the practice and get things done.”

Technologies like the patient portal and predictive analytics are meant to serve patient communities, whose satisfaction in turn serves Baystate Health—all without the challenge of hiring a data scientist. Here’s how.

Redesigned in partnership with community members and built on InterSystems HealthShare Personal Community, the patient portal strives to deliver a unique experience. Patients may message clinicians, request pharmacy prescriptions, and learn about health conditions like, say, COVID-19.

During development, patients said they wanted to be at the center of their care. So, Riley and the team at Baystate Health are building a system in which patients may tag specific data, allowing for real-time redaction of 42 CFR 2 information. They’re also creating a care plan manager to allow for the transaction and signoff of care plans between ACO partners via an orders/results feed.

Additionally, the Baystate team built a patient portal with a UI designed “by patients, for patients” to increase engagement and promote patient-centric interactions. As a use case example, if a Medicaid accountable care organization and the regional health information exchange requested patient consent to care within 48 hours, Baystate would be able to push the information to the patient portal, providing more understanding than possible in a phone call or clinic visit. Bringing all three of these initiatives together such that the patient can approve or disapprove their care plan via the patient portal is the end result of a four-year vision.

The results? Over the past year, nearly 80 percent of patients—or 80,000 people—have engaged with the portal.

Predictive analytics, meanwhile, are beginning to empower all sides of Baystate Health’s clinicians.

“We can create predictive models that truly enable us to provide the experience that we’ve been talking about for a long time,” Riley said. “Things that the Amazons and Googles of the world have already achieved, but health systems are on the cusp of achieving.”

Social determinants of health data helps them understand all factors that affect a patient, which lays the foundation for increased access and stronger outcomes. Data collected from patient technologies tells the organization who’s likely to use a blood pressure cuff monitor, so patients with hypertension can reap the most value from a limited resource.

But the kicker is that all of this innovation occurs without an in-house data scientist, thanks to Baystate Health’s technology partnerships. It’s yet another example of auto-magic in action.

Learn more about how healthcare organizations can unify Social Determinants data to provide integrated clinical care.


This story originally appeared the HealthShare Connections News Flash No.6 – June 21, 2021

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