From 24/7 access to POLST to data available for research, POLST stakeholders see many potential benefits to the electronic exchange of POLST information in California, according to an August 2019 survey conducted by the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California (CCCC). However, stakeholders are equally mindful of the potential barriers which may hinder growth, such as challenges around integration of different electronic health record systems, safeguarding protected health information and overall cost.
Information gathered from the survey is intended to help CCCC and its partners develop tools and resources to support the exchange of quality POLST information across provider types and communities throughout the state.
The invitation to complete the online survey was initially sent to CCCC’s mailing list and disseminated from there to other interested parties, including family caregivers, healthcare consumers and providers outside California. The survey includes the responses of nearly 480 POLST stakeholders. Healthcare providers, and in particular palliative care providers, represent the largest group of stakeholder respondents. Other stakeholders include people working in health information technology, emergency medical services providers, attorneys, consumer advocates, family caregivers, and patients.
The benefits and barriers to electronic POLST completion, or ePOLST, were also highlighted in the survey. Quality controls built into an ePOLST system, such as not allowing conflicting orders, is seen as one of the primary benefits of ePOLST. However, some provider types may have limited access to computers or difficulty in obtaining digital signatures, as well as other potential barriers which will need to be addressed.
Organizational interest in participating in a POLST registry varied broadly, with 10% of responders saying their organization is already actively involved in an eRegistry and 3% saying they are currently developing a registry; 5% are exploring options now and 15% are interested in future development. The majority –33% — don’t know if their organization has any interest in a registry; and 14% say their organization has little interest in a POLST eRegistry at this time.
Survey participants who completed the online survey by August 9 were given an opportunity to be entered into a drawing for a complimentary registration to CCCC’s 2020 Annual Summit, May 5-6 in Sacramento. A random drawing was held on August 22 during a POLST Registry visioning meeting in Sacramento and Carlos Eduardo Jouan Guimaraes of San Paolo, Brazil, is the lucky recipient of a 2020 CCCC Summit registration! Congratulations, Carlos, and thank you to everyone who completed our survey!