Patients or Consumers?

Mae-ellen Gavin
May 16, 2013

Patients are also consumers. And they want the same convenience and speed of service from healthcare that they get today when banking or managing their personal business. 

Last week at the Institute of Health Technology Transformation Summit this very topic was discussed in a panel that included strategic leaders across different health systems as well as Imprivata’s Chief Medical Officer, Sean Kelly, MD an emergency physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  The discussion hit on many areas one of which was about merging the ‘status quo’ in healthcare (EMRs, pagers, email, etc..) with the tech advances in the consumer world - smartphones, texting and social networks.  Healthcare providers have an ongoing challenge to engage patients how they want to be engaged while at the same time keeping it secure and private.  As one of the panelist said, “patients can post anything they want about their health out for everyone to see, healthcare providers have the responsibility to ensure they never do this.”

Engaging patients in their health is a challenge, but it can happen if they are provided information in a compelling way.  Just providing access to a portal is not going to get your average patient logging in and reviewing their records.  Transactions and communications drive patient engagement. Physicians need to figure out what transactions can be automated through technology and what information they can communicate to patients—with a particular focus on mobile devices.