Maryland initiative seeks to engage patients in changing care systems

patient-centered care

Hospitals in Maryland are launching an initiative to engage with patients on wellness and health management options and inform them on ways the state’s facilities are changing how they deliver care.

The campaign, called “A Breath of Fresh Care,” promotes 2014 changes to the state’s health care model, which was updated to focus more on a proactive, community-based strategy, according to the program’s website. The state began to offer bedside prescription delivery,  scheduled follow-ups before patients were discharged and promoted access to support, wellness and hospital navigation programs.

In its first year, the changes reduced readmissions in the state at a rate faster than the rest of the nation and cut hospital complications by more than 25 percent. Preventable stays also declined by more than 6 percent, according to the site.

“A Breath of Fresh Care” offers free online engagement tools for Maryland patients to stay better informed on how healthcare is changing in the state and to empower them to take an active role in their care, according to an announcement from the Maryland Hospital Association. “Health care in Maryland is evolving by leaps and bounds; gone are the days when consumers sat on the sidelines, detached from their care,” Carmela Coyle, CEO of MHA said in the announcement. “Simply put, to enable Marylanders to lead long, healthy lives, we need their help.”

Hospitals can also access videos and brochures from the website to distribute to patients to keep them informed.

The Maryland Hospital Association is partnering with AARP Maryland, the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, NAACP Maryland and Young Invincibles, among others, for the program, according to the announcement. Erin Hemlin, National Training Director for Young Invincibles--which empowers young people to be better informed about healthcare--state in the announcement that it’s important that all demographics are engaged in the process.  “While younger people may utilize health care less than other groups, education early on in their health care experience is critical to developing smart habits for the future,” she said.

- here’s the announcement (.pdf)
- visit the program’s website