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National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) on Tuesday published the results of its Consumer Engagement with Health Information Technology Survey. More than half of the organizations polled said consumer engagement was a high priority for them.
The survey was distributed to the 450 members of NeHC's Health Information Exchange (HIE) Learning Network. It showed that 53 percent of respondents ranked consumer engagement as high or very high in their organization's priorities; only 3 percent ranked consumer engagement as very low in priority.
"Effectively leveraging health IT to engage with patients and consumers will lead to better healthcare outcomes," said NeHC CEO Kate Berry. "Our survey shows that a majority of organizations believe in the strategic importance of consumer engagement yet their strategies are understandably nascent."
Even as they recognize the importance of consumer engagement, however, 33 percent of respondents said their strategies for consumer engagement with health IT are not clearly defined at all; 59 percent indicated their strategies for consumer engagement are beginning to evolve toward clarity. Just 8 percent consider their strategies to be very clearly defined.
Respondents identified their primary goals for consumer engagement with health IT as follows:
- Improve health outcomes (68 percent)
- Deliver information to patients (66 percent)
- Enable consumers to take more responsibility for their health (59 percent)
- Reduce healthcare costs (59 percent)
- Improve consumers' experience in interacting with our organization (57 percent)
The survey also found there are many definitions for consumer engagement with health IT. A majority of respondents indicated that their definition included:
- Patient uses electronic educational material or online resources to learn about better health or their own health conditions (74 percent)
- Patient refills prescriptions or accesses lab results or other personal health data online (72 percent)
- Patient engages with provider through electronic means, such as telemedicine (71 percent)
- Patient understands how their health records are stored securely, how they will be used and shared (69 percent)
- Patient enables friend or family member to review medical records electronically when appropriate (64 percent)
- Patient manages own health through the use of electronic home monitoring devices, health-related smart phone apps or online tools (63 percent)
- Patient uses IT tools and resources to manage his or her medical record (62 percent)
- Patient downloads his or her medical record and other health data to a personal health record or to a personal electronic storage device (62 percent)
- Provider emails or texts reminders to patients (60 percent)
- Patient makes medical appointments online (60 percent)
- Patient emails provider with questions (58 percent)
Respondents said they're using the following approaches to patient engagement:
- Deliver information electronically to patients (53 percent)
- Offer patient portal (47 percent)
- Provide marketing or educational materials electronically (43 percent)
- Offer personal health record (31 percent)
- Offer remote monitoring to enable patient information to be transmitted to provider via electronic network (21 percent)
- Include patients on board of directors and in other leadership roles (16 percent)
See the complete survey results here.