Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Patient engagement is key for health IT

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how technology is transforming health care, but a new survey suggests doctors must work on getting patients involved if real changes are going to take place. 

That’s the word from a recent survey of doctors conducted by the National eHealth Collaborative. When asked how important patient engagement is to transforming health care, 77% answered “very important.” Another 18% said it’s “important,” while just 5% answered “somewhat important,” and none said “not important.”

What do those doctors mean by patient engagement? The top examples cited in the survey were:

  1. Patients using education materials and online resources to learn about their own health or make better health decisions
  2. Patients using tools to manage their own medical records and other data
  3. Patients feeling comfortable challenging their doctor when something doesn’t seem right or an explanation isn’t clear
  4. Patients feeling comfortable talking about health issues with doctors or nurses face-to-face, and
  5. Patients communicating with their doctors about changes in their health in a timely manner.

So how can doctors and healthcare organizations increase patient engagement? It starts with communication. Health IT has made more information available to patients, but as Information Week points out, that doesn’t mean patients are aware that information is available, and many won’t ask for it.

Many providers could likely do a better job of educating patients about the benefits of health IT. That will help make sure patients are getting the most out of organizations’ technology investments.

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