a nurse educating a patient

Winning in Patient Engagement

It's a really exciting time in the healthcare industry for patient engagement–focused business. For a fairly long time, healthcare providers from enterprises to physicians have understood that helping patients get more engaged in their care drives better outcomes and higher satisfaction.

There is a lot of commercial activity driven by a number of different stakeholders all trying to be thoughtful and innovative to promote opportunities for patients to get more engaged in their care. However, much still remains to be done to make this a reality.

The Pain of Patient Portals

Patient portals can be challenging to navigate. They may not always be configured in ways that easily serve patients or patient engagement goals. We've seen a recent focus on mobile technology, which often offers a simpler and more streamlined way for providers to engage directly with patients without an intervening portal to mediate that exchange. And the continued evolution in that direction is likely to reduce some of the barriers to effective patient engagement.

As patients and consumers, we can all apply our own experiences here, even outside of healthcare. Tasks as simple as ordering consumer products online, making service appointments, or registering for a class at the gym—we've all experienced the added friction of logging in to a portal versus a more simply targeted mobile app.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that healthcare has historically been a little slower than some industries to become consumer-centric. There has been a lot of progress, but there could still be a lot more development. For example, you want to schedule your annual checkup. How many steps should you really need to take to do that? Most of the time, there shouldn't be a big barrier to that task, but somehow, there often is.

The Potential Role of Outside Tech in User Experience

Tech firms like Apple and Google have highly advanced analytics and an understanding of consumer behavior. They are also (rightly) famous for managing user experience in ways that are seamless and very positive. There is a good reason that the healthcare industry frequently cites companies like Apple and Google as models for how to channel their efforts in more user-friendly ways.

At the same time, there is an extremely high level of sensitivity and concern that we need to have with personal health information. That's one highly important issue that is being wrestled with by these extremely capable companies and others.

Regulations and Patient Privacy

Regulations relate to patient engagement in a few different ways. Among the most important are those related to the privacy of personal health information and the steps that are necessary to protect access to that information and to prevent it from being shared inadvertently.

Obviously, when patient engagement involves providers and their agents reaching out to consumers and patients, there is a certain amount of information sharing that is necessary in order to engage patients properly. But regulations exist to protect patients from the consequences of personal information being shared in undesirable or inappropriate ways.

Moving Healthcare Forward

For healthcare to move forward, especially in patient engagement, we must continue to preserve market opportunities for the widest breadth of stakeholders and provider types. That is the way that we as a country can most effectively test a variety of different solutions. It is not always clear who is going to have the bright idea that transforms the market. Making sure that there is a wide variety of healthcare-related entrepreneurial opportunities is probably the best long-term strategy for helping us to solve these problems.

With that said, the venture company Haven is an example of thoughtful collaboration among a number of companies that have a tremendous amount of human capital to deploy toward solving these very complicated problems. And in that respect, I think Haven is a great example of private enterprise trying to be thoughtful and productive about a problem that affects just about everybody.

At Marwood, we have seen a number of other very large, multinational enterprises thinking about how they can engage with the healthcare industry and focus their energies in ways that are very interesting. What I like about Haven is that the collaborating companies are not thought of as healthcare companies but are nevertheless realizing that, in a sense, all companies touch healthcare.

Harnessing What We Know

It is an interesting time particularly for patient engagement because we've never had more comprehensive and organized data. We have never had a greater capacity for accessing, sorting, and analyzing that data. We are at the peak of our understanding of why it's important to help people to engage further with their own care, and we are more concerned than ever about how we can drive better outcomes using all of that information. We have a historically unprecedented opportunity to harness all of what we know in a way that will help people to live better and healthier lives. It’s a great and engaging time to be involved in healthcare.

KLAS has teamed up with Marwood Group, TripleTreeL.E.K, and McDermott, Will & Emery to host DHIS19, a symposium bringing together executives from the provider, vendor, investor, and payer communities to discuss up and coming health IT subjects.



Photo cred: Adobe Stock, Iryna