The National Committee for Quality Assurance recently published a report entitled “Building a Strategy to Leverage Health Information Technology to Support Patient and Family Engagement,” and the results are important for all HIM professionals to understand. The report set out to study the relationship between health IT and patient engagement, the state of this relationship at present, and the potential for this relationship in the future. The report concluded that there is a lot of work to be done, but if a careful and concerted effort is made, this approach could revolutionize outcomes for all parties involved.

Key Takeaways from the Report

  • Untapped Opportunities – In spite of the enormous potential to use health IT to promote patient engagement, the opportunities have largely gone untapped. This is especially true with marginalized patient populations that would be particularly well served by technologies that could help level access to healthcare.
  • User Based – If health IT is going to make a meaningful impact on patient engagement, it must follow a user-based model with a specific focus on the patient. Other stakeholders like doctors and administrators should be considered too, but ultimately the patient must remain the focus.
  • Evidence Based – The report authors concluded that even if health IT has been underutilized, there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that it can have a positive impact on patient engagement. In the ever-evolving world of HIM, all strategies must follow from this kind of objective verification.
  • Integration – In order for these tools to make a meaningful impact on patient engagement, they must be integrated into broader healthcare IT systems. If not, the benefits could end up being shallow, temporary, or occasional.
  • Trust – Patient engagement has to follow from a foundation of trust. If patients and consumers do not embrace healthcare IT systems, the benefits will be minor at best. That is why it is incumbent on healthcare stakeholders to promote engagement and engender trust in all patient populations.
  • Leadership and Collaboration – Making the technological advancements necessary will not come from a single source, or from a top-down approach. Success depends on effective leadership and collaboration between multiple parties.

 

If you are involved in HIM in any capacity, this report offers some important predictions for the future. First, the issue of patient engagement is big already and growing fast. IT developers, health system administrators, care providers, and patients themselves will make these kinds of technologies a major priority in coming years. Second, despite the clear potential, there is a lot of work to be done. That requires innovative thinking and new ideas from inside and outside the world of health IT. If you are looking for job opportunities that will allow you to impact this trend, or your need to add HIM professionals to your workforce that understand the relationship between health IT and patient engagement, contact the health information management staffing specialists at MedPartners HIM.

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