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Insights Into Patient Engagement by IBM’s Chief Healthcare Nurse

Patient engagement needs to go beyond patient satisfaction and scores by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), according to Judy Murphy, R.N., chief nursing officer and director, Global Business Services, at IBM Healthcare.

Murphy presented the keynote presentation, “The Blockbuster Drug of the Century: The Engaged Patient” as part of the New York State Chapter miniHIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference. During this speech, Murphy stated that consumers need to become active members of their care team.

“Now it’s about actively being part of your care team and shared decision making. I’m starting to see this new ‘consumerism.’ The idea of ‘I’m a patient, I’m going to walk into the hospital and not know what anything will cost or what will be done to me’ has gone away,” stated Murphy.Patient Engagement

Ten years ago, almost no Americans were on high deductible plans compared to roughly 50 percent today. Murphy emphasized that today patients care about the cost of the services they receive, and thus wish to price shop. As such, Murphy said that a more engaged patient could have more of an impact on healthcare than any other drug or medicine.

Murphy also stated that with the new business model that is emerging for care delivery comes an increase in technology. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are the foundation of the evolution in technology, but mobile apps and analytics are the next frontier that requires attention. Aggregating disjointed patient data (such as one patient who has four different physicians and goes to a pharmacy for medications) into a patient-centric portal is also a priority.

The public’s demand for convenience is changing how drugstores like CVS and Walmart do business. Following suit are clinics, urgent care facilities, and primary care organizations. “They are creating that experience and convenience that people are familiar with in other aspects of life, “ Murphy stated.

Murphy also touched on patient engagement and meaningful use in her presentation. “We are now in Stage 2, and patient engagement is one of the [measures] that everyone has complained about. It’s hard because it’s not just about technical solutions. There is criteria that actually says you need to tell patients to do it, and that’s different than having just a technical solution available. But a lot of this is about more than technology—it’s about explaining, teaching, and prophesizing,” Murphy said.

In conclusion, Murphy stated that Access, Action, and Attitude are the future approaches to consumer eHealth. For access, physicians must allow patients easy access to their healthcare information. She mentioned that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has received complaints from patients who said that they could not have access to their data because their doctors erroneously told them that HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) prevented it.

Action and Attitude have less to do with technology, but are more about a shift in behavior. “It has to be done in context with trust in sources. Inviting patients in when discussing diagnoses, showing them resources, and discussing with them is what makes sense,” Murphy stressed. “Encouraging that behavior and modeling the trusted sites are the ways we should be doing things.”