Tech Innovation Prioritizes a Consumer-Driven Healthcare Experience

An interview with Hannah Luetke-Stahlman | Senior Strategist in Population Health at Cerner

Hannah Luetke-Stahlman is currently a Senior Strategist in Population Health at Cerner with responsibility for the company’s advanced illness and community care management solution strategies. Cerner is the second largest health information technology company in the country with an annual revenue of 5.1 billion dollars. The solution offerings Hannah oversees analyze data to inform decision-making, identify at-risk patients, standardize processes, and provide a longitudinal care plan to improve quality of life for patients and caregivers. Hannah is passionate about the importance of end-of-life conversations and is working to improve electronic advance care planning documentation across the continuum of care. Her work on developing an electronic identification algorithm to early identify patients who could benefit from palliative care services has been presented at multiple national conferences and published in The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

How are you/is your organization innovating around the end-of-life experience?

For us here at Cerner, the end-of-life experience is one that crosses multiple internal organizations and teams. This requires a collective effort to design and strategize on a global scale that will truly impact millions of patients and their families. We have several innovative projects happening in this space — here are some that I am most excited about:

  • Updating our standard electronic health record banner bar so that the critical information that’s important at the end-of-life is easily accessible for all clinicians
  • Creating a longitudinal health record that can ingest data from across the continuum (any source, at any frequency), normalize and cleanse it into a consolidated, single record accessible to the entire care team
  • Developing a longitudinal care plan from birth until death that is EHR agnostic and built on our cloud platform, HealtheIntent, available to both providers and consumers
  • Providing training and resources to our Cerner associates on the importance of end-of-life discussions and how to complete an advance directive, for which they can receive health plan incentive points
  • Our electronic, predictive identification algorithm that early identifies patients with serious illness who could benefit from Palliative Care services
  • Collaborating with third-party technology companies, like MyDirectives and Vynca, to access advance care planning documentation across the continuum of care
  • Developing evidence-based standard content to improve the quality of discussions with patients who have a serious illness
  • Partnering with the Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DOD) on EHR modernization efforts specific to geriatric, palliative care and hospice workflows that will impact over 20 million veterans and service members

Why did you choose transforming the end-of-life experience as a priority for you?

Shortly after I came to Cerner in 2013, I was given the task of creating a palliative care electronic solution. It was through that project that I got to partner with incredible palliative care clinicians and programs at Intermountain Healthcare and Ascension health system. Those providers taught me the importance of the palliative care field through their fierce dedication to the product development process, as well as allowing me to shadow both inpatient and outpatient clinical practices. Their passion has quickly become my own, driving me to create technology solutions that enhance their patient care experience, rather than create burden or annoyance.

I have had many moments during the last five years here at Cerner where I realized I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly the work I was meant to do. Most recently, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in July 2017, and I found myself as the primary caregiver of an aging parent with serious illness. I now have authentic, raw, lived experience that provides invaluable insight to not only what should be prioritized here at my company, but what I believe should be prioritized in my personal life as well. There is a sense of urgency I no longer can ignore that is allowing me to live my life more fully.

What has been most surprising so far?

Everyone has a story connected to death and dying, and everyone wants to share their story and experience — whether it be in a corporate boardroom in the middle of a presentation or hanging with friends as we chase our toddlers. Some are positive and loving while some are filled with frustrations and regret, but all of these conversations allow us to connect with each other in a unique and personal way. I feel honored every time someone shares their story with me, and it fuels my passion to improve an experience each of us will go through.

In your organization’s long-range planning (3–5 years out), what does the end-of-life experience feel like to a consumer and his or her circle of caregivers?

Connected and personal. In 3–5 years, we will have made great strides forward regarding interoperability and person-centered care. A consumer will no longer have to haul their medical records around in a manila folder or canvas bag, because our HealtheIntent cloud platform will aggregate and organize data across multiple sources to create a longitudinal personal health record and care plan.

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Empowered consumers and designated caregivers will have secure access to their medical information and goals of care directly on their phones and computers in a contextual, intelligent way. Clinicians will proactively engage them to have advance care planning conversations thanks to reminders in the chart and use electronic evidence-based tools to ensure these conversations are of high-quality and meaningful to consumers and families. Consumers won’t have to have the same advance care planning or treatment preferences conversation with multiple providers and family members because the information will be stored and shared across the continuum of care, as authorized by the consumer. The future will be consumer-driven.

What advice would you give to other leaders interested in changing the end-of-life experience?

Don’t give up! This is extremely critical and important work that will affect every single one of us at some point in our lifetime. We will go through it ourselves and we will go through it with our loved ones. It will require all of us — in all of our different roles and organizations — to drive innovation and cultural change. Be open to perspectives different than your own and strategically work together to advance the industry forward.

In addition to her work at Cerner, Hannah Luetke-Stahlman was recently appointed as a 2018–2019 Health & Aging Policy Fellow with the John A. Hartford Foundation and currently sits on the National Quality Forum’s Serious Illness Quality Measurement Workgroup. She received her B.A. from the University of Kansas and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri — Kansas City, with concentrations in Leadership and Healthcare Administration.

Special thank you to our partners at Medecision for making this project possible.

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