In this age of ubiquitous smart phones, self-obsessed consumers can be seen seemingly everywhere snapping selfies — arms extended as they photograph themselves out to dinner, at the ball game, on the beach and all too often doing things they might be wiser not to capture and post. These images are instantly hash-tagged and shared. Cameras not embedded in phones are on the path to extinction, and film is all but forgotten.
While a fraction of these individuals use electronic tools to manage their health information, things are changing rapidly. Personal health records, patient portals, mobile health apps, health trackers and medical devices are gaining traction. While the attractive young adult likely gets more enjoyment from sharing a Friday-night-out selfie, her diabetes is better controlled when her blood glucose values are shared electronically with a health coach who intervenes if readings trend in the wrong direction.
Electronic patient engagement is on the upswing and unlikely to reverse course. While many in the provider community would like to use a selfie-stick to beat those behind meaningful use senseless, it is now a Stage Two requirement to enable patients to view, download and transmit their health electronic health data. While V/D/T may sound like an unwelcome diagnosis, it is also a patient right pushing consumers and clinicians to collaborate electronically.
Provider skepticism and concern are understandable. Will your patient population actually use a personal health record or portal? Will you in turn be inundated at all hours with secure messages? What information will be shared and when? Will your patients understand, let alone act on, their health information?
In our experience, these legitimate worries dissipate quickly when the right patient engagement tools are properly deployed. Our clients have been successful in driving patient adoption, even with patients who reside on the wrong side of the digital divide. Patient engagement programs are helping to improve therapeutic compliance, practice efficiency and clinical outcomes.
At the upcoming HIMSS15 conference, four of our clients and partners will share their insights on successful patient engagement, delivering tales from the trenches about what works (and sometimes what doesn’t). One of those speakers, Dr. Jeffrey Hatcher, will explore how his interactions with patients are changing for the better with a patient portal in place. Margaret Mary Health, the Indiana critical access hospital where he practices, is incredibly innovative — sponsoring a community-wide portal connected to a health information exchange. Patients have one place to store their health information, and most of the data they need is fed through a single pipe. Patients find this valuable, and they are adopting and using the portal at levels far in excess of the 5% meaningful use threshold.
If you plan to attend HIMSS15, stop by NoMoreClipboard exhibit #2879 (next to the Interoperability Showcase) and check out our “selfie wall” where you can snap and post yourself in front of a thought-provoking statement on patient engagement. Add your voice (and your picture) to the growing list of individuals and organizations promoting the electronic patient movement.
Learn more about HIMSS15 patient engagement presentations.