Recently, with my team at EY, I created a thought leadership piece on Consumer Health Engagement. The essential points are captured in my guest blog on the HFMA site:
I am passionate about the relationship between patients and the healthcare system, and especially interested in the ways that the healthcare system supports patients in taking responsibility for their own health. In particular, I have come to feel that our language about what it means to be a patient may actually encourage passivity more than engagement. Previously posted in guest blogs at Engaging Patients and HIMSS EngagingPatients.org
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to talk with Gabriel Perna an editor at Healthcare Informatics about the opportunities for patient engagement as a part of community health. That resulted in this two-part interview published in Healthcare Informatics:
“We have… to think about how we can engineer teachable moments that help people convert learning into action.”
In this blog post, James Dias, Founder and CEO of WellBe, discusses why the term “patient engagement” has turned into a buzz-word with insufficient content behind it. He quotes me as saying, “Patient engagement is a long-term journey and a new way of doing business, rather than a destination with an end point. The most important part is taking the first step, and providers should pick a starting point from which to begin.”
James ends his post with a sentiment I fully support, “With the momentum as seen at HIMSS, it is likely “patient engagement” will continue to be used as a buzzword in the healthcare arena for some time going forward. Hopefully the industry will start to sort itself out and figure out what truly qualifies as patient engagement and what doesn’t fit in this category.”
On March 25, I spoke on several panels at the Health Information Technology Transformation (IHT2) Summit in San Francisco. This article in Healthcare Informatics highlights the discussion during the Volume to Value panel in the morning.
Check out the interview in Healthcare IT News on “Smart Data is the Key to Patient Engagement” with those of us who will be speaking on a panel at the Healthcare Business Intelligence Forum, April 16-17 in Washington DC.
I’m excited to be on a panel of experts who will discuss ways data can open new paths of communication between patients and providers, enabling care coordination and paving the way toward population health.
I will be tweeting as much as I can with the official hashtag of -#HCBizIntel
Many of us have been working to get digital health technology for patients on HIMSS’ radar for nearly a generation. For me, the first step was the first “patient portal” event we held in the Northern California HIMSS chapter in 2005. The agenda that day featured Dr. Kate Christensen and Matthew Holt. They are still among the growing cadre of people working to turn dream into reality: patients at the center of their own care, supported both by personal health technologies and by physicians, nurses, and administrators.
The path has not been straight or always clear from that point to this. A low point was the moment in 2010-2011, in a year of recession and tight budgets, when HIMSS discontinued the national PHR Committee in order to focus on Meaningful Use stage 1 as a key direction for the industry. For many years, National HIMSS did not have a patient engagement track and the few sessions that offered insights on digital technologies for patients often competed with one another. Still, there were bright spots—I remember hearing Jane Sarasohn-Kahn speak for the first time on a transformative panel at National HIMSS, and several sessions on medical banking and PHR outcomes were packed. Much of the continued emphasis on patients and patient engagement at National HIMSS is due to the tireless work of Mary Griskewicz, who has kept all of us enthusiastic and on track. My local NoCAL chapter was supportive of my efforts to create programs about PHRs, mobile technologies, and portals on an annual or semi-annual basis.
Still, it has been a slow process to bring patient-facing technologies into the mainstream of HIMSS efforts. National HIMSS created the eConnecting with Consumers Committee in 2011, and rebranded it to the Connected Patient Committee for 2014. For the first time in 2013, the Committee offered a set of sessions at National HIMSS specifically designed to ensure that patient engagement topics were addressed and received focus. Along with a tweet chat, the publication of Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement, and a flash mob clapping “if you believe in patient engagement,” last year marked significant gains in the visibility of patient engagement topics at National HIMSS.
But HIMSS 2014 was the year that Patient Engagement finally reached mainstream status at HIMSS, both in the education track and on the show floor. On Sunday, the Connected Patient Committee sponsored a full-day symposium on all aspects of patient engagement. HIMSS invested in a beautiful booth on the floor, the Connected Patient Gallery, with corporate sponsors and a series of illustrious speakers and interactions. Once again, the Connected Patient Committee set aside a morning for a series of presentations that focused on key areas of patient engagement and experience. There was a full track focused on patient engagement that included a morning of wonderful presentations sponsored by the Connected Patient Committee. The morning started with Jane Saraohn-Kahn, Dr Danny Sands, and Dr Pete Hudson, “Putting the P ahead of “HIT”.—it’s Personal.” That was followed by “There’s a Patient on the Care Team: Using Personal Health IT to Ensure the Patient is Included in Healthcare Decision Making” with Laura Adams and Susan VonNessen-Scanlin. Finally, Danny van Leeuen and Mary Anne Sterling, accompanied by Regina Holliday and Gail Embt, discussed the Caregiver’s perspective in “Supporting the Family Caregiver on the Front Lines through HIT” (a first, for national HIMSS). Along the way, Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement received HIMSS’ “2013 Book of the Year” award at a star-studded gala. Vendors were also on board: you couldn’t walk the show floor without seeing signs everywhere for “engaged,” “connected” and “mobile” patients and technologies, with a mixture of hype and innovation.
Although we still have a long way to go in transforming healthcare into the digitally-supported, patient-centered environment we can envision, it is clear that the work is well-underway and transformation has begun.
The following is a post I wrote for the 2013 HIMSS Conference
Last week I found myself waiting for a plane, sharing the lone electrical outlet with another traveler. As we sat side-by-side, intimacy enforced by our shared electrical lifeline, he received a phone call that I couldn’t help but overhear. He was trying to arrange for test results to be faxed to his phone, and I could hear the urgency in his voice.
When he finished the call, I asked him (apologizing for eavesdropping) if he was trying to get medical test results. He explained that he’d received a call from his doctor’s office, telling him that his test results were “suspicious,” and he needed to see a specialist immediately. The call had made him anxious, and he was trying to get the actual results before he boarded the plane—a task that required the nurse to fax the results to his office, then his admin to scan and email them to him, a complex, cumbersome, insecure way to get the information.
“Why is this so hard?” he asked me plaintively.
Why indeed? As he talked, I thought, “that’s why we do this work!”
Getting your lab results quickly, securely, wherever you are, in a context where education is available to help you interpret them exemplifies something we all have a right to expect from the healthcare system: convenience, timeliness, clarity, access to our own data, and “nothing about me without me.”
This week, I was in New Orleans, excited about the wealth of patient engagement topics on the agenda for HIMSS13. Not long ago, it was hard to find HIMSS sessions that focused on patient engagement or the digital patient experience. Things are changing, though, and that change was evident everywhere at HIMSS13.
Tuesday, designated as “Patient Engagement Day,” offered a full track of speakers and programs dedicated to exploring what works and how to accelerate progress toward a world where patients can expect to access their health information easily and seamlessly, use technology to perform routine healthcare transactions conveniently, and communicate with their care team easily and securely.
The conference also marked the launch of a new book, Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement (which I had the honor of editing). In fact, Wednesday, March 6, precisely at noon, people who believed that “patient engagement can transform healthcare” clapped 10 times as a sign of their belief that we can’t and won’t get to transformation without partnering with our patients and using technology as one of the means of accomplishing it.
Were you there to show your support? If so, let me know what you thought about this patient engagement event at HIMSS13?
I speak at a variety of health care conferences and events nationwide. [Read more…]