New Recovery Tools; Cumberland Heights Rolls Out ‘Patient Portal’ Tablet Program
By: Liz Stanislawski
Gone are the days of sticky notes.
Well, maybe they’re not gone, but they are being scaled back here at Cumberland Heights.
Instead of carrying around a flimsy piece of paper to keep track of their appointments, our patients are getting some scheduling help from a trusty tool called technology. On February 4th, the patient portal was rolled out, four months after CEO Jay Crosson expressed his vision to have a tablet in every patient’s hands.
“Cumberland Heights has a rich history with traditions that go back 50 plus years. That said, we also understand our responsibility to be forward-thinking and that was the idea behind the tablets,” said Crosson.
Initially, the goal was to provide a way for patients to take wellness screeners on their own time — those are the surveys patients take to rate their mood, energy level and other feelings. But Information Technology Director Jimmy Jamison thought, what if we could do more?
“I started thinking about what would be useful/beneficial to the patient to make the tablet a companion tool for their recovery while under our care,” said Jamison.
He got to work developing and now — it has just about everything a patient might need — all updated in realtime. It has the patient’s treatment plan, program schedule, program handbook, wellness surveys, daily menu, weekly weather forecast, a daily journal, the AA Big Book & 12×12, audio from AA & NA speakers, daily meditations and more.
“These are technological tools that help connect the patients to people and that is the crux of the entire effort. Whether we are connecting the patients to staff, each other, alumni, or the larger recovery community, we are using technology to build connections. Addiction is about disconnection; Recovery is about connection,” said Chief Clinical Officer Cinde Stewart Freeman.
Convenience and connection are just the beginning. The portal is helping the Research Division collect data in a way we’ve never been able to do before so we can measure success and better treat our patients. Nick Hayes, Director of Clinical Research and outcomes provided this example: “Perhaps a group of patients have a specified comorbid disorder that our staff would like to monitor. Tablets allow for our clinical teams to adjust who gets what (i.e. measures) and when (i.e. interval).
In return the data collected on our tablets will help us reach our overall goal of defining success and increasing the public’s access to what we measure, how we measure and how our treatments affects the average patient.
“If you were being treated for cancer would you like to be monitored? Wouldn’t we all hope that our doctors would want to check in with our radiation protocol to ensure that the affected tissue was responding to the treatment? These same fundamental practices in medicine should be adopted broadly by behavioral health. We have the science. We have the responsibility to our patients and their families. We hope that by better tracking patient change, that we can start to learn more regarding how our treatment’s affect different populations,” said Hayes.
All of this is in addition to our expert medical care, individual & family services as well as spiritual, expressive, recreational therapies.
“As we were building the app, we thought a lot about how technology should be used to create a complimentary service to each individual’s personal recovery” said Web Development Coordinator Chris Lindsay.
This is Patient Portal v1.0. The team is constantly working with lots of ideas to further develop the app and expand the use of personalized technology this year.
“My long term vision is to offer the same platform to alumni to access the content they created/had access to when in treatment as well as provide aftercare and other alumni driven information to further assist in long term recovery. In my opinion, the sky is the limit on what we can provide our patients, current and past,” said Jamison.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.