The Heart of the Matter: Daily Engagement Elevates Care

The other week, my mom called to tell me that my stepdad had suffered a heart attack. My stepdad had just celebrated his 80th birthday the previous evening with family and friends, marking the occasion by enjoying a theatrical dinner experience at a local Japanese hibachi grill.

The next morning my stepdad began experiencing chest pain and other symptoms and immediately went to the nearest emergency department. Doctors determined he had suffered a heart attack and admitted him to the hospital. A few days later, he underwent a coronary artery bypass graft and is now recovering from the procedure. Unfortunately, my stepdad suffered some post-operative complications, including a stroke, and remains in critical care.

Being more than 2,000 miles away in Northern California, I felt helpless to provide any support to my mom and stepdad during his health crisis. My mom assured me that he was in great hands. She said the hospital had an outstanding reputation in the community, which also happens to be where I grew up.

A Closer Look at the Numbers

As a digital health company, we have access to detailed quality information on every hospital across the country – information not available to the average consumer. Needless to say, I immediately checked out the hospital’s quality data.

At a high level, my mom was right. The hospital does generally have a strong reputation for cardiac care quality, with a mortality rate in the 96th percentile and a readmission rate in the 99th percentile for CABG patients nationwide. However, the hospital also has its shortcomings.

Only 50 percent of patients “strongly agreed” that they understood what to do at home following discharge, placing the hospital in the 53rd percentile. Only half of patients know what to do at home to ensure an optimal recovery. That is an abysmal statistic.

Patients are entitled to a better understanding of what to expect before and after surgery and what steps to take for an optimal recovery. They’re also entitled to engage regularly with their care providers to get the information they need when they need it.

My stepdad’s ordeal has made it clearer to me that patients in every community deserve access to daily engagement with their care teams. To that end, I’d like to offer up a proposal to all hospitals: For the first 10 hospitals that reach out to us, HealthLoop will match them dollar for dollar to implement our engagement solution in their cardiac service line.

Read the full article on Becker's Hospital Review.