The difference is noticeable from the moment the health care provider greets the patient in the exam room.
The keyboard is set aside. There is no distraction of typing notes into the computer. Just a personal, one-on-one conversation between patient and provider, the way health care is supposed to be.
Meanwhile, virtually unnoticeable in the background, state-of-art technology is compiling a precise clinical record of the visit.
AI-powered documentation is just one example of how University of Michigan Health-West leverages technology to enhance patient experience, improve job satisfaction of employees, touch more lives with expert care and consistently uphold the highest standards for safety and quality.
With a legacy of innovation dating back to its founding in Grand Rapids eight decades ago, University of Michigan Health-West is recognized as a leader in health care technology. Its success is based on a straightforward approach.
“What sets us apart is that we don’t pursue technology for the sake of technology,” said Dr. Peter Hahn, president and CEO, University of Michigan Health-West. “We develop and adopt technology that supports human connection, expands access and advances health care.”
Earlier this year, the organization became the first in Michigan to pilot a voice-activated system that removes the burden of documentation during exams.
The benefit was clear and not limited to patients. Providers were better able to experience the joy of personal engagement with patients. Staff saw more complete records and timely visits.
Following the success of the pilot, the system is expanding to all primary care providers.
Bringing the hospital home
Telehealth was the most widespread technology expansion during the pandemic. University of Michigan Health-West found a way to take virtual care a step further, helping COVID-19 patients recover where they heal best — at home.
The system uses remote monitoring devices. Once patients are cleared to leave the hospital by an attending physician, they are given an internet-connected tablet and Bluetooth-synched peripherals, including a thermometer, blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter and scale. Readings upload automatically to the care team back at the hospital, and patients have regular video check-ins with care providers.
Patients loved the system, which saved an average of 9.5 days of hospitalization per patient. Success treating COVID-19 patients led to an expansion for multiple conditions, allowing more patients to recover amid the comforts of home with the assurance of 24/7 medical support.
Serving the underserved
University of Michigan Health-West collaborates with nonprofit partner Exalta Health to provide primary care for impoverished patients at a Grand Rapids clinic. Until now, these patients faced difficulty connecting to specialties, such as cardiovascular care.
With remote examination tools installed in the clinic’s exam rooms, patients now can have a virtual consultation with one of University of Michigan Health-West’s cardiovascular experts.
“This allows patients to obtain care at the neighborhood clinic where they are comfortable, while gaining seamless access to leading cardiovascular expertise,” Hahn said.
Innovations that change care
These advances are just some of the reasons University of Michigan Health-West has been recognized for 10 consecutive years as a national leader in using technology to benefit patients.
Other examples include a robotic-assisted tool for earlier, more accurate and minimally invasive biopsies to diagnose lung cancer; augmented reality-supported spinal surgery; advanced robotic surgery systems, including in an outpatient setting; laser treatment for kidney stones; and specialized communication tools to speed up stroke treatment.
“The best technology does not get in the way, but supports personal connection and quality of life,” Hahn said. “That’s why we emphasize technology that enhances the human experience. When that happens, great innovation is possible.”