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Is There An App for Patient Engagement?

No, says Steve Wilkins, MPH, writing at KevinMD.com. 

Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by  industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, smartphone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement.   It’s not.

Part of the misunderstanding concerning the role of HIT comes from how the discussion about patient engagement is being framed.  According to the pundits, patient engagement is the physician or hospital’s responsibility.  And like everything else these days, we can fix it if we just throw more technology at the problem. Can anyone say Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements?
[...]

 The role of physicians, hospitals and other providers is not so much one of needing to engage patients in their care.  Rather, providers need to “be more engaging” to patients who are already actively engaged in their health.

Take the simple act of a trip to the doctor’s office.  Before a person shows up at the doctor’s office they have to 1) have a reason or need (symptoms, a concern, chronic condition), 2) believe that the need or reason merits seeing the doctor vs. taking care of it at home themselves – this generally implies cognition and doing research, i.e., talking with friends, going on line, etc., 3) make the appointment (by calling or going online), 4) show up for the appointment, and 5) think about what they want to say to the doctor.  The point here is that by definition, people who show up for a doctor’s appointment are already engaged.
Read the whole thing, here.

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