Flip the Script: Prescribing digital care to Duke patients

Thanks to a partnership between Duke Health and Seattle startup Xealth, Duke providers will be able to prescribe apps, videos, educational materials, and other digital health tools to their patients. In the future, the Xealth platform will also enable “contextual awareness,’ which will present relevant content to a physician in a patient’s chart based on their medical information and reason for their visit.

The Duke-Xealth partnership went live in mid-April, with the health system’s weight loss surgery, eye center, and physical therapy departments as early adopters. These teams were seen as good candidates for the go-live because they already have large amounts of existing patient education materials. As of publication, there have been 1,433 digital care orders prescribed to patients.

Matt Roman, Duke’s Chief Digital Strategy Officer, said that Xealth has many benefits. For a long time, there has been a gap between how patients use digital technology in the rest of their world, and how they interact with their providers. The Digital Strategy Office recognized the opportunity to improve patient education and engagement through the expansion of digital offerings beyond the standard online chart portal.

Xealth does more than help patients, however; it also allows the Digital Strategy Office to provide insights to clinical teams on the utilization of articles, videos, apps, and connected devices through analytics dashboards. This data will allow health care teams to adjust individual care plans and departmental offerings to serve patients well.

Duke clinicians can currently “prescribe” PDFs, videos, or mobile apps. The health system is also looking to add some e-commerce options, link to ride-sharing services or smoking cessation programs, and bring in remote monitoring from devices like glucometers or CPAP machines.

The ability to use Xealth’s digital care prescriptions has been incorporated into Duke’s physician portal and its electronic health records and charting system so doctors can find everything they need in one place. Patients will also be able to access these tools from their online chart portal.

(This article originally appeared in Duke Magazine)

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