Q&A with Brennan Stratton of Krames: Education as a core component of care

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AVIA Marketplace is the leading online resource for accurate, unbiased information about digital health companies and solutions. Our goal: To empower hospitals and health systems with the information they need to match with vendors who can meet their unique needs. We asked the top companies in the patient education space about their solutions and what they think the future of digital health looks like. No sponsored content or advertorials—just transparency and insights that decision-makers can use. 

Krames’ patient education and health literacy solutions were created to standardize education, meet compliance goals, and improve the patient experience, with materials available in a variety of formats and languages to meet patients wherever they are. Clinical education is developed at a fourth to sixth grade reading level, with engaging visual content to support learning objectives, and is available in 17 languages. Patients can receive critical education wherever they are with solutions that enable delivery through mobile devices, hospital televisions, and even traditional printed materials, with more than 600 available titles across 40 specialties.

Brennan Stratton serves as the Vice President of Sales and Client Services for WebMD Provider Services Clinical Solutions, including the Krames business. In this role, Brennan leads the sales, implementation, and account management functions for Krames. He has more than 14 years of experience selling and leading sales and account management teams within the healthcare IT and patient engagement sectors. Previously, Brennan worked for Elsevier and RelayHealth, a division of McKesson. He earned his undergraduate degree and MBA from the University of Georgia.

Q: Can you tell us about your company and the challenges you are solving within the patient education space?

A: Krames is part of WebMD Provider Services, which is a full-service strategic marketing and patient engagement solution provider, geared specifically for healthcare.

Our Krames patient education solutions help providers meet the priorities of the Quintuple Aim: Clinician well-being, health equity, improving population health, enhancing care experience, and reducing overall costs.

More specifically, our patient education content collection–including HealthSheets, ExitWriter, and HealthClips, plus partner content from VUCA, American Heart Association, ViewMedica, FDB and KidsHealth–support health systems’ quality, compliance and equity goals. In addition, our assignment platforms support clinical efficiency with the ability to assign education within the clinical workflow. Our assignment platforms range from a full FHIR implementation via an Electronic Health Record platform (Krames On FHIR®) to a stand-alone on-demand system (Krames On-Demand®).

Q: How does your company differentiate from other patient education solution vendors?

A: Everything we do at Krames is intended to create a more seamless and personalized patient and consumer experience through an omnichannel approach. Krames’ industry-leading content, digital engagement tools, combined with WebMD’s ability to reach consumers at all points of the care journey, allows us to deliver truly personalized education. Our goal is to provide highly relevant, personalized, and engaging content, employing a variety of media and styles, to empower health consumers to be active and informed in their care.

Q: What are some of the biggest changes your company has seen around how health systems are approaching patient education since 2020?

A: The COVID pandemic hastened a shift toward consumerism in healthcare, so today’s patients expect a more streamlined, connective and responsive experience when they seek care. To meet those needs, patient education had to shift from being a static tool to “check the box,” relegated to meeting compliance and quality initiatives at the point of care, to a personalized, responsive, and even proactive experience.

To respond to this market shift, our education and information is developed to effectively engage individuals making decisions about and seeking care, enhance the provider-patient dialogue at the point of care, and provide supportive outreach and intervention that can activate individuals in their ongoing care management and recovery.

Last, I’d say that traditional patient education is increasingly becoming a core component of a broader patient journey and digital engagement strategy. So we’re thinking about how we tie content across all points of interaction.

Q: What does an ideal client look like? How are health systems best organized for success in advancing their patient education capabilities?

A: Krames works with organizations across the healthcare industry, including health systems, health plans, emerging care models and provider networks. We’ve seen a few common approaches that have helped organizations succeed: Establishing a cross-functional governance team, deploying tools that help the organization better understand its patient population, and not buying into a ‘one size fits all approach’ to patient education. It’s important to deploy education that reaches patients in different formats and at all points in their journey.

Health systems are best organized for success when they’re focused on providing cohesive, consistent outreach and communications and are looking for solutions that make it easy to provide the right information at the right time. So our approach is to offer modular solutions that can scale with health systems as they expand their efforts.

Q: What measurable outcomes have you seen from your clients?

A: Most notably, the majority of our customers have higher Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores and lower lengths of stay compared to their local competitors. In addition, our customers have noted improved nursing satisfaction, lower readmission rates, and greater patient acquisition, loyalty, and retention.

Q: What major functional enhancements and/or product investments are you making in the near term to keep up with the evolution of patient education?

A: As part of our core offering around our assignment platforms, we’ll continue to invest in industry-leading EHR integrations and enhancements to Krames On FHIR®.

We’re also expanding our education into platforms and modes that patients use and clinicians prefer, like SMS/texting. Using an omnichannel approach, we are building relationships with various distribution partners to ensure we can reach individuals at critical times with the most appropriate messages on their preferred methods for engagement.

Additionally, we are working to better leverage data–through the broad variety of tools within the WebMD family–to help personalize interactions with health consumers.

Q: What are the biggest opportunities health systems should be thinking about this coming year when it comes to health consumer education?

A: I think the biggest opportunity is really around personalization and understanding individual health consumer needs and how your health system can best reach health consumers in different and meaningful ways.

Personalization opportunities include the content used throughout healthcare consumers’ engagements across their discovery to recovery journeys, as well as the tools and platforms used throughout their experiences to ensure they are presented with the right information in a way they prefer to engage with it.

Healthcare is incredibly personal and can be emotional. The systems that meet individuals’ needs holistically across their journey will see success. And Krames is committed to solutions that meet the needs of individuals in a highly personalized way.

Q: How do you see patient education evolving in the next two to five years and beyond?

A: In terms of patient education, we see it evolving to cater to individual patient needs and the way each patient learns best. That entails knowing where health consumers are in their understanding and helping them feel more confident and empowered in their journey.

But the broader vision for us as part of WebMD Provider Services is to take what is commonly a complicated, disjointed and difficult experience to navigate, and employ a variety of modular solutions aimed at engaging health consumers at critical points in their care.

By bringing together our collective solutions, built using the expertise of outreach and digital engagement of WebMD, rich data and insights of Mercury Health, and the depth of knowledge of provider support from Krames; we provide highly personalized experiences that support the Quintuple Aim.

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