Removing Digital Barriers Enables Patients and Clinicians to Discuss and Make Critical End-of-Life Care Decisions

COVID-19 has truly highlighted the importance of advance care planning. Amidst the pandemic, the risk of requiring life support increases dramatically with age and chronic illness, and these individuals are particularly vulnerable to being placed on ventilators without an advance care plan in place. In the absence of advance directive documents, individuals are both denied the right to choose the care they want while taking up increasingly precious and often scarce clinical resources. Even when patients have taken the time to record their wishes, in many cases the documents are inaccurate or not accessible across the care continuum. In fact, The Journal of Emergency Medicine found 87 percent of paper forms are not available in an emergency, and JAMA Internal Medicine reports that 70 percent of forms do not reflect patient wishes. Often, the result is patients receiving unwanted healthcare utilization and adverse efforts, which creates a poor patient, caregiver and clinician experience.

Standardizing advance care planning is rising to the top of many healthcare organizations’ to-do lists, and Vynca has recently partnered with Cerner Corporation, a global healthcare technology company. The new collaboration aims to break down the digital barrier between advance care planning documents and EHRs, making it easier for clinicians to see relevant patient wishes and honor end-of-life care decisions.

As the national leader in advance care planning, we are excited to join forces with the leading U.S. supplier of healthcare information technology solutions to help clinicians, caregivers, individuals and their families navigate the complex advance care planning process to ensure future care preferences are honored.

Benefits of integrating Vynca’s digital solution with Cerner’s EHR include:

  • Improved accessibility and usability: By transitioning a once disparate paper-based system into the 21st century, advance care documents and information are digitally available directly in the patient portal, improving accessibility and usability for consumers and caregivers.
  • Higher quality of care: Providers will now have complete access to advance care planning documents directly within the EHR, enabling organizations to provide higher quality of care at end-of-life and avoid unwanted healthcare interventions. Vynca’s solutions have reduced hospital admissions by 37 percent and ICU utilization by 59 percent.
  • Greater efficiency and reduced risk of errors: Clinicians will be able to view relevant patient information alongside the patient’s future care preferences all in one place instead of risking error or decreasing efficiency by going back and forth between different sources.
  • Delivery of personalized care: Making advance care directives easier to view, interact with and change enables everyone to be involved and engaged in the process. Clinicians and patients are then empowered to have conversations about future care preferences and to create a plan that provides personalized end-of-life care.

While thinking about end-of-life is difficult, accurate, complete and accessible advance care plans arm clinicians with the tools to honor patients’ wishes throughout the decision-making process. By removing traditional barriers, the output of care is a true reflection of patients’ values, choices and goals.

Ryan Van Wert, MD is CEO and Co-founder of Vynca, and a part-time Clinical Assistant Professor at Stanford University.