Power to the Patient: The Wellbe Experience

December 08, 2017

Joint Program Director Kim Jablonski says using Wellbe has redefined the surgical visit.

Once there was a binder. A big, thick binder. 

Comprised of necessary information for the joint replacement patient, the robust “Welcome Book” was the centerpiece of the two-hour pre-surgical visit. As part of the education process, Kim Jablonski, Joint Program Director for the Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley (OSI) in Appleton, would review the information with patients scheduled for a hip or knee replacement. 

The one-on-one orientation was designed as a platform to impart important directives for patients to follow before surgery, on the day of surgery, and after surgery as well as to answer any questions about the process. 

The goal of the meeting was simple: Ensure complete understanding on the part of the patient and family and properly prepare them for the upcoming journey.

Equally important was that it allowed Jablonski to establish a personal connection with each patient, a pillar of the OSI patient experience.

“It’s vital that every patient feels empowered with their care and that they have all the information they need to be prepared,” said Jablonski. 

The big, thick binder was thoroughly packed with protocols, suggestions, tips, and mandatory steps needed to be taken, but in reviewing the orientation information with the patient, Jablonski began to notice a pattern.

“As people scheduled for an upcoming surgery are dealing with a fair amount of anxiety, and their minds may already be focusing on a million different things, this makes the Welcome Book a bit overwhelming,” said Jablonski, who along with colleague Ann Dickinson meets with every total joint patient prior to their visit to OSI’s Surgery Center. 

It got to the point where Jablonski knew the precise page in the binder where she could sense she might be providing more than could be processed. Clearly, Jablonski needed a tool to generate patient engagement, a key element not only in the success of the orientation but also in the patient’s overall surgical journey. Somehow, sharing this information prior to the one-on-one session would be beneficial.

Enter Wellbe, an online program that guides patients and families through surgical preparation and recovery. Essentially a vehicle, Wellbe packages the necessary information and delivers it in an engaging, user-friendly form that can be accessed exactly when a patients feels it is time. This puts a patient at the forefront of their own care, transforming them from passive recipient to active participant.

“With Wellbe, patients get the information they need when it is important to them,” said Jablonski. “Equally important to us is the fact that it allows us to track their progress and provide encouragement when needed.”

Mary Ellen Wonders, the very first OSI patient to use Wellbe, credits the platform with helping her navigate her pre-operative journey.

“In preparing for my total knee replacements, I was not given a folder of information to take home and read,” said Wonders. “With Wellbe, information came to me in a timely manner in the weeks preceding my surgeries. I simply got an email message telling me that an information card had been added to my Wellbe page, and I would go in and read the information that had been added.”

Wellbe’s interactive platform provides a surgical timeline for the patient and offers resources – and timely encouragement – along the way. Instead of thrusting a heap of material upon the patient at once, a recipe for avoidance, information is shared in smaller chunks, step by step, and can be viewed as needed.

 “I knew long before I was admitted exactly the way my procedures would go,” Wonders added. “I was able to put those information cards into my library when the information was something that I might wish to review again before or even after my surgeries.”

Pre-operative orientations are now more efficient as program director and patients are, pardon the pun, “on the same page,” with most patients taking the step of reviewing material ahead of time. This familiarity with the Welcome Book speeds the process, says Jablonski, often reducing orientation times by 30-45 minutes. 

A meeting potentially dominated by information overload and uncertainty now has a completely different dynamic.

“By relaying information in a more accessible and timely fashion, we’ve successfully reduced patient anxiety,” says Jablonski. Additionally, patients who come from a distance and have difficulty attending a one-on-one meeting now have convenient 24/7 on-demand access to orientation content on Wellbe’s website.

With the power to greatly contribute to more individualized care, patient engagement is a crucial component of the today’s healthcare landscape. One of the best ways to create engagement is by making things easier for the patient. Offering higher quality information that is easily accessible and actionable leads to better patient satisfaction and, ultimately, better outcomes.

Wellbe is provided at no extra cost for OSI patients and is woven into each patient’s experience across his or her journey of care. Patients and care teams work through their care plans in partnership and any issues that arise can be addressed quickly and easily. This allows the care team to go above and beyond by providing their service with an added personal touch, leading to more engaged and satisfied patients.

Jablonski feels this is the best use of technology for her joint replacement patients. 

“The Wellbe technology delivers the information in a timely fashion to patients, in small bits at just the right time,” she said. “It’s not simply using technology for technology’s sake; it provides a better experience for the patient.”

And yes, there is a binder still. But it’s skinnier. 

The Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley (OSI) is a NOVO Health Provider. To learn more about NOVO Health, visit