June 13, 2013

New system standardizes patient education materials

When patients first come to the Vanderbilt Neurology Clinic, they often have alarming or painful symptoms.

Jackie Harris, medical assistant in the Neurology Clinic, left, reviews information with patient Sharon Miller using the new Krames Staywell standardized resource. (photo by Joe Howell)

When patients first come to the Vanderbilt Neurology Clinic, they often have alarming or painful symptoms.

There is a lot to take in, especially if they receive a new diagnosis, medication or plan of care. As is typical in nearly every clinical setting, patients can leave appointments feeling overwhelmed or confused about what to do next to take care of themselves.

Now, a new resource called Krames Staywell has begun to roll out across the Medical Center to help patients better understand and become more engaged in their own care. Jackie Harris, a medical assistant in the Neurology Clinic, is one of the early adopters of Krames. Harris makes sure patients see information about their conditions during appointments, and gives them a packet of information when they leave.

“The big difference is the Krames information is standardized. What we had in the past were pamphlets from drug companies, which were fine, but even if they tried not to brand the pamphlets, it was not as generalizable as we would like,” said Harris.

Krames Staywell is the nation’s largest patient education vendor. The company has licensed high quality educational information written in simple terminology and in multiple languages for Vanderbilt’s use. As part of a long-term plan for patient education, all acute and outpatient clinicians have access to teaching sheets, videos, graphics and animations on hundreds of medical conditions, procedures, tests and types of treatment.

Clinical and informatics experts from across the system selected Krames Staywell as the vendor for patient education. Lane Stiles, director of Patient Education for VUMC, says one of the key benefits of Krames is that it is fully customizable.

“We can add, delete or edit content as we see fit,” Stiles said. “So it’s important that users contact us at patient.education@vanderbilt.edu if they don’t find exactly what they want.”

Harris said there is a need in her clinic for information that covers even more conditions. She is already working with administrators to enhance content for the Neurology clinic, but she is generally pleased with Krames.

“One of our doctors used to spend 20 minutes with every stroke patient, going over what stroke is, the signs and symptoms, etc. Now we can pull a packet together electronically and print it ahead of time. When patients take it home, they can share with family, or put it on the refrigerator, and we can add personalized information right at the top. It really helps,” Harris said.

Krames will help Vanderbilt meet new federal requirements for “meaningful use.” The 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act set “meaningful use” objectives to improve the quality of health care through electronic health records, including engaging and improving communications with patients and families.

The Krames Staywell content will roll out in several stages. Currently staff have access to information hosted on the Krames website. There will be deeper integration into clinical applications and workflows in the months ahead. The content will also be integrated into the public websites and MyHealth at Vanderbilt so that patients can directly access information on their own.

“We have promised our patients that we will treat them as the most important member of the health care team. This is especially important as we move into an era of outcomes-based reimbursement,” said Stiles. “This is one step toward fulfilling that promise.”

More information can be found through secure sign-on at https://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/root/vumc.php?site=patienteducation, or staff and faculty can search for “Krames Staywell” at Vanderbilt Eskind’s Library site at www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/diglib/.

Materials available through the Krames Staywell license include:

• Krames On-Demand — 3,000 health sheets and 2,000 medication information sheets, all in English and Spanish and some in up to nine additional languages.

• Krames streamed — 500 videos and animations, some in up to nine languages.

• Exit-Writer — 1,500 Emergency Department discharge sheets and 200 lab test sheets, all in English and Spanish and some in three additional languages.

• Krames Go-to-Guides — Six interactive, multimedia electronic books for managing chronic disease, in English and Spanish.

• Staywell Solutions — Online consumer health content that includes wellness articles, news, multimedia, interactive tools, symptom checkers and more, all in English and Spanish.