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Hackensack Meridian readies new patient app

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Hackensack Meridian Health's app would be the first of its kind among health care providers in New Jersey.
Hackensack Meridian Health's app would be the first of its kind among health care providers in New Jersey. - ()

Hackensack Meridian Health is preparing a mobile application that will allow its patients to easily access medical records, documents, make appointments and join health care chat groups. The app would be the first of its kind among health care providers in New Jersey.

Dr. Andrew Pecora, HMH’s chief innovation officer and founder of medical information technology company COTA, told NJBIZ the new app is part of HMH’s commitment to precision and value-based care.

The new application is in prototype mode and should be available to all of its patients this year, Pecora said, and will use technology developed by Epic, a medical software company that develops interoperability platforms for the medical community.

“The app will allow the patient to plug in to our system and have access to a GPS-type device,” Pecora said. “It will enable them to follow the course of their care and for us to guide them to help make appointments and to enable us to follow the course of their care and guide them when they need guidance.”

Pecora noted the app is in line with the state seeking to make electronic health records more accessible so that patients can show those records to various doctors if they have a condition that requires them to see multiple specialists. Late last year, the Medical Society of New Jersey launched a platform based on one already developed by the Kansas City Health Network that allows hospitals and doctors to access patient health records.

The new app is part of a reorganization of HMH’s business model that will involve creating teams specializing in specific illnesses.

"We are reorganizing our system so that we have care transformation teams that are disease-specific," said Dr. Robert Pecora, Hackensack Meridian's chief innovation officer. - ()

“We are reorganizing our system so that we have care transformation teams that are disease-specific,” Pecora said. “So we have a cardiovascular team, a cancer service team, etc. We are going to organize and run HMH through these services. We’re not going to look at it anymore as if we’re just one hospital. We’re 15 hospitals now, so we’re going to look at the enterprise.

“When patients come in for disease-specific problems, let the disease-specific services run them. For wellness and primary care, we have our primary care network, so it’s a very transformative way to deliver health care.”

Pecora said he believes the health care industry in New Jersey will move to outcome-based, patient-centered care.

“I think we’re all going to move to value-based competition,” he said. “How do you improve outcomes for each and every individual while reducing total cost of care for the population? And that’s what we’re focused on.”

As for HMH, Pecora said that the system is upgrading its technology to lower costs of health care.

“What we want to do is use precision medicine, and we want to bridge that to population health using information technology with companies like COTA, IBM Watson and Oracle, so patients get exactly what they need when they need it, no more, no less, so that everyone’s outcomes are as good as they could be and we can reduce the total cost of care.”

HMH has signed up its first breast cancer patient for its new bundled payment system, which the health care system announced in early October, Pecora said. The new system would allow breast cancer patients to make an upfront payment that will cover up to a year’s worth of treatment, including plastic surgery and treatment for the side effects of chemotherapy.

The new payment system will be covered by Horizon Blue Cross, and HMH is in the midst of getting final approval to be covered by the Medicare and Medicaid from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Vince Calio

Vince Calio


Vince Calio covers health care and manufacturing for NJBIZ. You can contact him at vcalio@njbiz.com.

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Bart February 7, 2018 2:45 pm

Nice way to capture patients and keep them in the practices owned by the hospital system. Good way to have massive invasion of privacy and present a huge target for hackers.

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