The healthcare landscape is undergoing dramatic shifts. Medical advances are coming fast and furious, and that is very true at Geisinger Health System as well. Here is a look at some of the biggest trends as we move into 2016.

Keeping patients out of the hospital


Geisinger Health System is employing several programs designed to improve care, make it more convenient and reduce the burden on emergency departments.

One such program is the award-winning Mobile Paramedic Program.

This program dispatches a paramedic to a patient's home for medical intervention or follow-up care, including bloodwork, administering IV medications or checking vitals. Essentially, this program provides patients with the services they need that aren't available through existing resources.

This program also helps patients avoid a trip to a hospital by using mobile equipment and audio-visual technology to connect with care providers.

There's an app for that

It seems like there's an app for everything, and now that extends to your healthcare at Geisinger. Whether you're scheduling a colonoscopy or spinal surgery, trying to lose weight or simply trying to keep track of your appointments, Geisinger has an app to help.

If you have a colonoscopy scheduled, the "Easy Prep: Colonoscopy" app guides you through the prep work you have to do ahead of your procedure, including what you need to do, when you need to do it, alerts, and what you can and can't eat, complete with a shopping list.

Geisinger Health System also has a mobile device program that uses iPads to help you prepare for and recover from lumbar spine surgery.

The "Get-2-Goal" app is designed to help current, future and prospective patients with weight management after gastric bypass surgery. It provides you with personalized weight goals using years of trends and data we collected. It also tracks weight over time.

Similarly, if you're trying to lose weight, Geisinger has a 12-week text messaging program you can enroll in to receive nutritional tips, motivational messages, self-monitoring reminders such as keeping a food log and tracking your weight and height.

And, if you use the MyGeisinger Patient Portal, you can download the MyChart app to access the portal's most frequently used features. These include messaging your providers, viewing your medical records, appointments, test results and more.

Telemedicine

Technology is helping Geisinger make it easier for patients to receive specialty care in their community.

Geisinger provides live audio and video consultations for patients to see and speak to a specialist directly in real time. Geisinger stores and forwards exams that allow us to send photographs, X-rays and other information to a specialist at another location to review and interpret.

Telemedicine is available for both inpatient and outpatient needs, including psychiatry, intensive care, dermatology, rheumatology, pulmonology, maternal-fetal medicine, stroke and neurology and more.

Telemedicine gives patients more timely access to specialists and reduces unnecessary transfers. Plus all patient information is secure - telemedicine only occurs over private, secure lines.

Concierge-style care


When you stay at a hotel, a concierge aims to make your stay more convenient and comfortable by helping you arrange everything you want to do during your stay. Geisinger has brought this type of service to its patients with its nurse navigator program.

A nurse navigator serves as your single point of contact for help after receiving a challenging diagnosis. Nurse navigators help guide you through your treatment, explain what to expect, answer your questions, direct you to the resources you need, and team up with your primary physician and specialists.

The nurse navigators work with your team of doctors and the hospital discharge planners to keep track of your treatment, coordinate your appointments and test scheduling, and anticipate any care needs you may have beyond the hospital.

The goal of our nurse navigators is to make your care transition from the hospital to home or nursing facilities easier and help you avoid unnecessary hospital stays in the future.

Precision Medicine

In President Obama's 2015 State of the Union address, he announced that he was launching the Precision Medicine Initiative, which is a new research effort to revolutionize how we improve health and treat diseases.

Most medical treatments have been designed for the average patient, a "one-size-fits-all" treatment approach up until now. Those treatments can be very successful for some patients, but not for others. Now, Precision Medicine takes into account people's individual differences in their genes, environments and lifestyles.

Precision Medicine has made its way to Geisinger through the MyCode Health Initiative.

The MyCode Community Health Initiative at Geisinger includes a system-wide biobank that was designed to store blood and samples for research. The goal is to help researchers understand the relationship between genes and diseases in order to improve healthcare, find ways to diagnose conditions earlier or before they appear, and find new treatments or medications to manage diseases.

Researchers will use information to help develop treatments tailored to individual needs.

ProvenExperience

Geisinger Health System's President and CEO Dr. David Feinberg unveiled ProvenExperience last year, which is arguably the biggest game-changer for the health system.

ProvenExperience is a program that offers refunds to patients whose expectations weren't met based on kindness and compassion. The key component of the program is in an app that allows certain surgery patients enrolled in the pilot program to determine the amount of refund they want based on their copay.

The overall goal of the ProvenExperience program is to ensure every patient is provided with high-quality care every time.