The Exponential Future of Patient Engagement

FrankFortnerIn October of 2014, I attended the CHIME fall conference and had the privilege of listening to Dr. Peter Diamandis, CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, and author of books such as “Abundance” and “Bold.” He brings an optimistic message about the value created through the exponential growth of certain technologies — that starts after they become “digitized,” yielding exponential leaps forward rather than small, linear steps. Examples include artificial intelligence, 3D printing, digital photography, and more. In short, once digitized, and after moving through the subsequent phases of: deception, disruption, demonetization, and dematerialization, a technology reaches the final stage of democratization — essentially it’s small, it’s cheap, and it’s everywhere! Just think about the computing power of your smartphone, its digital camera, and its instant access to more data than U.S. presidents had just 20 years ago!

I believe the technology surrounding patient engagement is on a similar path. In a few short years, it has essentially moved from paper to portable media, to online portals running on desktops, to smartphone apps — which are now connected to sensors that track weight, glucose levels, activity, calories burned, and so on. Mobile technology, in particular the smartphone, is the space where liberated data meets the healthcare consumer where they live, work, and play. I have always believed that patient engagement was just the opening chapter in a developing story that will ultimately lead to patients and their families being empowered as active participants in their care team, having a voice, and truly armed with the very same data the clinicians on their care team have access to. Examples of this are emerging today. The result is a truly patient-centered care model, improving their experience and supporting an environment of shared decision-making and accountability.

As an integration technology company, Iatric Systems is currently working with two of our hospital customers to create a bi-directional data highway that leads directly to the healthcare consumer’s mobile device, securely allowing them to not only view their data, but also transfer select data elements to their Apple Health app. In the future, we will also pull data from the Apple Health app and push it back to the EHR, and the industry is already making plans for the EHR consumption of patient-generated health data (PGHD). This is where patient engagement delivers two-way value by allowing patients to share their story via the uploading of data from sensors, medical devices, and the patient’s observations — such as making corrections to the chart.

Patient engagement efforts are progressing rapidly in the wake of various exponential technologies such as mobile devices, Internet connectivity, and sensors. What steps is your organization taking today in order to prepare for the #ConnectedPatient of tomorrow, where patients interact with their digital health data in the palm of their hand? Are you planning not merely to engage, but also empower your patients by inviting them to become active members of their care teams? Do you have a plan to create the kind of ecosystem necessary to deliver and consume health data? How will you add value to your organization through that ecosystem? I would encourage you to give these some real thought. As a trusted integration partner, feel free to give us a call, and we would be happy to discuss this further with you.

The future may be closer than you think…

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