Sunday, March 03, 2013

Patient engagement and mHealth #HIMSS13

I am here at the 2013 HIMSS conference and today I spent time at the HIMSS/AMDIS Physicians' IT Symposium. The afternoon session was titled, "The Future of Patient Engagement is in the Palm of Your Hand."

Dr. Kate Christensen from Kaiser and Dr. Geeta Nayyar (@gnayyar) from AT&T gave the presentation.

Within the Kaiser network, over 4 million patients (out of the 9 million) are using their patient portal PHR. They have a very engaged patient population. Their patients are connected and they also have access to secure messaging with their health care providers. Members who use secure messaging have better clinical outcomes in diabetes, cholesterol management, and blood pressure management.

Here are some 2012 stats from the Kaiser network:
  • 13 million emails were sent by patients
  • 33 million test results were viewed by patients
  • 3 million appointments were booked online by patients
  • 12 million refill requests were sent by patients
Currently, 22% of their patient portal traffic comes from mobile devices. By 2015, mobile will be dominant in this patient population. After all, everyone has a mobile phone and they also have access to texting capabilities, even if they don't own a smartphone.

Patients can't live without their mobile devices. We are living in an era where technology is rapidly evolving and data is reaching patients on a very timely basis. Everyone is online and using social media to communicate and find information. Consumers are ready to access their health on their mobile devices.

We are seeing a wealth of connected devices emerging for consumers to purchase, use, and improve their health care. However, most of these patients are not communicating with their health care providers about these digital tools.

AT&T and HCSC recently ran a pilot program with their diabetes manager to see how mobile technology could improve diabetes management. Patients were engaged and they wanted to continue using the mobile solution. They were more inclined to test their blood sugar levels and get more engaged in their own disease management.

mHealth is still in very early stages. I believe that we will see significant advances in this space over the next several years as mobile devices become ubiquitous and as the cost of technology becomes lower.

HIMSS13 coverage is sponsored by HP. HP’s extensive portfolio of products, solutions, services and relationships can help your healthcare organization achieve quality business practices and provide quality patient care.

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