The Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., today released recommendations on how to better leverage electronic tools to engage patients in their own healthcare.
The report, "Improving Quality and Reducing Costs in Health Care: Engaging Consumers Using Electronic Tools," looks at how electronic tools get patients and their families more involved in their care, and makes a case for the positive impact on cost, quality and outcomes, according to an announcement from the center.
The report recommends:
- Building awareness healthcare-related electronic tools among the healthcare profession.
- Developing principles, standards, policies, strategies and best practices.
- Building awareness among consumers.
- Expanding federal, state and private-sector incentives.
The report also details how electronic tools support key elements of patient- and family-centered care: whole-person care, comprehensive communication and coordination, patient support and empowerment, and ready access.
Challenges, according to the report, include:
- Limited education and training on patient engagement and patient-centered communication in medical schools and follow-on programs.
- Organizational cultures that don't yet embrace patient-centered care and engagement.
- Physician-patient interactions confined largely to traditional office visits.
- The cost and complexity of communicating with patients outside of the office setting.
- Determining how to engage with populations with limited health literacy.
The puzzle of increasing patient engagement has engaged a number of organizations, including the National eHealth Collaborative, which promotes nationwide health information exchange. NeHC last month released a five-phase model patient-engagement framework, including advice from organizations that have achieved success. The framework is designed to help providers meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use guidelines for engaging patients through electronic health records.