Temple University Health's remarkable journey of digital metamorphosis is revolutionizing patient care in the digital age
The digital era demands more than mere acceptance. It commands complete immersion, and no sector feels this more acutely than healthcare. Recognizing this shift, Temple University Health embarked on a digital transformation journey.
As Chief Technology Officer, Douglas Moore steered the organization into this digital expedition. “Healthcare is evolving, and we’re dedicated to keeping pace. The journey to digitalization was inevitable, and we are embracing it fully,” Moore said.
Before diving in, Temple Health needed a firm foundation – a robust and reliable IT infrastructure. The task of assembling that fell to Hugo Lai, Temple Health's CISO. Lai understood the crucial role of IT infrastructure in ensuring the success of the digital transition. “There is no room for error in healthcare IT,” he explained. “Our systems must always be available and responsive to the needs of our patients and healthcare professionals.”
Building Up Infrastructure
Under the guidance of Moore and Lai, Temple Health undertook an ambitious digital overhaul. The organization elevated its network infrastructure, transitioned systems to the cloud, and integrated advanced analytics and AI-based solutions.
"The move to the cloud enhanced our flexibility and scalability. Its ability to manage vast amounts of data is pivotal to our mission of improving patient care through analytics and AI,” Moore said.
The digital transformation heralded the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). These are revolutionizing patient care by streamlining and simplifying the process of accessing and updating patient records, thus enhancing healthcare efficiency.
Lai stressed, "Our commitment to our patients' well-being includes equipping our healthcare professionals with the right tools. EHRs provide doctors with real-time access to comprehensive patient information, leading to faster, more accurate diagnoses."
A Better Read
Integrating AI into healthcare delivery not only accelerates processes but also enhances their accuracy. A prime example of this at Temple Health is the deployment of DrFirst's MedHx with SmartSuite, which uses clinical-grade AI to fill gaps in patient medication history records, creating a more precise medication reconciliation process — a key objective of The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals.
The implementation of myBenefitCheck provides Temple Health's providers with insights into prescription costs based on patients' health insurance. This vital information allows clinicians to select affordable medications, thus boosting patients' adherence to their prescribed therapies.
"Complete and accurate medication history, along with real-time prescription benefit information, is critical to our ability to provide the best possible care to our patients," said David Fleece, MD, chief medical information officer at Temple Health. "Leveraging AI and automated tasks, such as delivering patient data within our EHR workflows, relieve some of the burdens on our clinicians and support informed clinical decision-making at the point of care."
This move also addresses a significant challenge in healthcare — gaps in medication history, which can delay optimal treatment, risk adverse drug events, and contribute to higher readmission rates. By offering patient- and payer-specific prescription drug information during healthcare visits, clinicians gain visibility into out-of-pocket costs and more affordable therapeutic alternatives, which can increase the likelihood of prescriptions being collected from the pharmacy.
As G. Cameron Deemer, CEO of DrFirst, pointed out, "Our clinical-grade AI will help Temple Health providers reduce the time they spend manually entering data for medication reconciliation. At a time when many health systems are short-staffed, they need new ways to increase efficiency, reduce staff burnout, and prevent the adverse drug events that could lead to readmissions."
Learning the Ropes
Temple Health, under Moore and Lai's leadership, is indeed taking strides in making these goals a reality. This journey, however, wasn't without hurdles. The integration of new technologies necessitated comprehensive training for healthcare staff. Moore and Lai ensured robust training programs to assist staff in adapting to the new systems. They also prioritized cybersecurity, establishing protocols to safeguard patient data.
"Adopting new technologies demands considerable change management. We ensured our staff were supported throughout this transition, offering training, and resources to facilitate a smooth transformation," Moore said.
Looking ahead, both Moore and Lai envision a wholly digital Temple Health, leveraging data to deliver personalized care. They underscored the importance of ongoing innovation and improvement, recognizing that the digital transformation journey is a continuous evolution.
"Our digital transformation journey is about ceaselessly pushing the envelope and exploring innovative methods to elevate patient care. We are committed to this course and excited about what the future holds," Moore concluded.
From its inception, Temple Health's digital transformation journey has been defined by progressive leadership, cutting-edge solutions, and an unwavering commitment to enhancing patient care. With Moore and Lai at the helm, Temple Health is well-positioned to redefine healthcare in the digital era, proving that the future of healthcare is not just about surviving the digital age – it's about thriving in it.