From Health Data Management
“The stakes are high: Advanced, population-level healthcare IT systems will not work without a better, more intelligent approach to patient engagement,” Chilmark Research contends in its new 2014/2015 Clinical Patient Engagement Market Trends Report. “The introduction of new technologies, if accompanied by effective organizational leadership and requisite adjustments to clinical workflow, can have a transformative effect on the relationship a healthcare organization has with its patients. As the delivery system transitions bit-by-bit to a value-based reimbursement model, technology that encourages and enables patients to take a more active role in their own care will become a critical investment.”
Here are six high-level conclusions on the state of the patient engagement market:
Patient Engagement Remains Primitive in the Provider Market
The Majority of HCOs are stuck in neutral when it comes to moving beyond basic portal adoption. Even these tools are seeing poor uptake, thanks to poor design, provider apathy and ultimately a limited value proposition for all involved.
The Advanced Market is Willing but Not Yet Able
A growing number of large hospital systems and academic medical centers are currently working on infrastructural development with population health management in mind. After these foundations are built, HCOs will begin adopting more advanced tools for remote monitoring, mobile engagement, virtual visits, and more. Today there are plenty of pilots, but full-scale deployments that go beyond a single practice or department remain 2 to 3 years away.
Two Major Bottlenecks
Longitudinal Patient Records and Mobile Tools: Most HCOs today lean heavily on their installed EHR system to run their clinical and business operations. Yet these tools remain unsophisticated in their ability to aggregate multiple sources of data – including those data generated or supplied by the patient. Even more troublesome is the lack of attention that EHR vendors have paid to modern mobile components beyond mobile web browsing.
Care Management Will Drive Provider Demand
In the transition toward Population Health Management, advanced care models that apply data intelligently through aggregation, stratification and visualization will serve as the glide path for the adoption of better engagement tools. Research indicates that one specific application – the smart, interactive care plan – is emerging as a specific demand for such systems over the next couple of years.
Consumer Demand For Access Will Drive Adoption
While the average office practice may remain stagnant in how it treats patients, outside of this bubble conditions are changing drastically for the healthcare consumer. Price transparency tools, retail care venues, virtual visits and other nontraditional pieces are improving access and convenience. Payers are taking note, and as the economics of employer coverage push more responsibility to consumers, we will see, in effect, a “new front door” to the healthcare system.
Best of Breed Approach Emerging
Two factors are driving the shift away from sticking with “the radio that comes with the car.” The inability of EHR vendors to move the needle on new engagement tools, coupled with the proliferation of options available for different use cases, patient populations, smartphone platforms, and wearable devices. A major issue here, of course, will be interoperability between these various tools.

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