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Improving Healthcare Through Patient Engagement With John Bernot, MD

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Morgan Watson
September 30, 2022

Patient engagement is a critical component in improving healthcare. By empowering patients to engage in their healthcare routines, physicians can improve the overall quality of care and reduce costs.

Bravado Health aims to close the communication gap between healthcare providers and their patients. Bravado's platform can help providers reach out to patients with tailored care plans based on existing EHR data, resulting in better care.

Through these efforts, physicians and clinicians can better understand their patients' lives outside of healthcare facilities.

Meet John Bernot, MD

Healthjump sat down with the President and Chief Medical Officer of Bravado Health, John Bernot, MD, to learn more about the company and his dual role as a health IT professional and practicing family physician.

When John started his career, he was a mainframe programmer doing health IT work at the Maryland Hospital Association, where he worked on health quality measurement software. As he helped grow that project, he realized that he wanted to go back and finish medical school to work in family medicine, which he still practices part-time today.

At Bravado, John has access to quality measures that allow him to develop software that facilitates everything he sees with his patients.

In his role as Chief Medical Officer, John oversees the clinical integrity of the system to ensure it is interfacing and tackling the right challenges in healthcare. His role as president is to be more of an integrator across all departments.

Bridging a Gap Between Healthcare Providers and Their Patients

Bravado’s customers are healthcare providers. These providers can range from a practice with a single physician to larger groups, hospital systems, and anything in between.

Bravado is laser-focused on helping these healthcare providers bridge a gap and figure out what’s happening to their patients when they leave an appointment, hospital stay, etc., to help them provide higher quality care.

With Bravado's unique approach, patients can receive tailored care plans directly from their healthcare providers outside the walls of healthcare facilities.

This system allows the physician to reach out and ask a few key questions, ultimately allowing them to provide better care across the board based on the responses.

  • “Did you get your medication?”
  • “Have you been able to take it?”
  • “How are you feeling?”

As soon as a patient responds, the answer is fed into the Bravado platform to close the loop where a case manager or nurse navigator can access the data. The aggregate is then fed into the EHR, allowing clinicians and physicians to view the data without logging into another platform.

Bravado Faces Challenges With Health Data

As they’ve built out this platform, Bravado has faced its share of challenges with data. John explains that healthcare data is the most complicated form of data he has worked with throughout his career. He said:

“I could literally make a full-time job of just interpreting between engineers and clinicians.”

In John's opinion, clinicians have trouble communicating their needs to engineers, and engineers have difficulty understanding the clinicians’ requirements. Consequently, even in manufacturing, there is a disconnect in interpreting data.

Most people can understand what an assembly line is, but they don't comprehend what an encounter is, what a medication or a lab code is, or what ICD tens are because there's no anchor to their everyday life to explain those things.

Overcoming Data Fragmentation Through EHR Integration

Bravado knew they had to go EHR agnostic to avoid and overcome data fragmentation.

“If we can't connect to it, we're going to learn to connect to it.” - John Bernot, MD.

John mentioned that Bravado also realized they had to go beyond the software to get higher patient engagement rates.

Patient engagement is one of the unique features of Bravado’s model. They believe that the levels of engagement come from having a physician or clinician prescribe their tool to patients and explain that they plan to provide care through that tool.

Significant data proves that if a physician recommends using an app versus an app store or commercial, patients are more likely to use it. Getting healthcare providers involved, coaching them through the process, and providing them with collateral allows Bravado to close the data gap.

How to Increase Patient Engagement

One of the biggest challenges the company faces with this system is getting patients to engage outside the walls of healthcare facilities. It’s easy to get a response from someone in your office. When you ask them to take time out of their schedule to answer healthcare questions, it’s much more challenging.

Bravado has invested heavily in the experience to make it as seamless and user-friendly as possible. To alleviate confusion and add a sense of human touch, they’ve focused on getting physicians and clinicians involved in the process as much as possible.

“If we don't have the human touch, I think we're not going to keep the patients engaged.” - John Bernot, MD.

Currently, their system will send out a text message which directs the patient to a secure mobile website, giving them the best of both worlds: ease of use and security. Strategically, they have avoided app downloads, which seem to drop engagement rates off a cliff.

So, once the patient is enrolled through the SMS process, little to no effort is required on their part. From there, Bravado will integrate it into the EHR, enabling physicians to see patients' conditions and initiate care plans. The patient would then start receiving tailored messages, such as weekly check-ins.

What Customers Are Saying About Bravado

Before Bravado, providers had no way of knowing if patients were taking their medicine or how they felt after stepping outside the healthcare facility.

Bravado opened up a new frontier of data. Healthcare providers now have insight into data not captured in an EHR, a niche market that the company was able to tap into.

Patients spend most of their time at home fending for themselves, so Bravado’s customers constantly explain how thrilled they are to have this new information they never had access to before.

The Future of Health Data Outside of Electronic Health Records

Bravado is excited about what the future has in store for them. The company strives to become a platform that analyzes the care of the patients, specific to each individual’s conditions and comorbidities.

Their goal is to be considered a remote patient monitoring (RPM) platform, in place of the RPM devices that currently feed into their system.

Bravado plans to set up specific triggers based on patients' trackable actions. For example, if a patient took less than 10,000 steps in a day, Bravado will send out a message asking them if they have exercised yet.

With that kind of data physicians and clinicians can make better clinical decisions over time to improve the quality of care.

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