3 growth areas for patient engagement in healthcare

Patient engagement has been one of the key trends in healthcare and health IT in 2015 and a new Deloitte survey examines where engagement is growing the most and what it means for the industry.

One trick to patient engagement, the report's authors say, is "coming up with a set of strategies that will work across the consumer segments that are present in the market--one strategy will not fit all."

The Deloitte survey has been conducted every year since 2008; this year's survey polled roughly 3,500 consumers 18 years and older between Jan. 16 and Feb. 8.

Three areas where engagement is seeing the most momentum, the researchers found, include:

  1. Use of technology: Patients are using technology more and more to track and engage in their care, the report found, growing from 17 percent to 28 percent in the last two years alone. The younger generation is tapping into healthcare tools the most, and use of health IT by patients with chronic conditions also has grown in the past two years. Healthcare is soon going to need to provide more consumer-like conveniences, especially as banks, food and other industries continue to be leaps and bounds ahead in use of such tools, Tampa General Hospital CIO Scott Arnold recently told FierceHealthIT.
  2. Provider interaction: Patients are becoming more active in their relationship with their doctor. Thirty-four percent of survey respondents said that providers should encourage patients to engage in their care, research their conditions and ask questions about treatment. In addition, patients want their care providers to be more in tune with new tools and tech in the industry.
  3. The power of the Internet: Consumers are growing more trusting of healthcare information online, with 52 percent saying they have used the Web for health or care-related information. Social media and patient portal use for healthcare data also has seen growth, the report found.

In addition, the report found that people who have poor health and Millennials are the most likely to use technology to engage in their healthcare.

Due to the increase in patient engagement and patient-generated data, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will develop a policy framework for identifying best practices, gaps and opportunities for the use of patient-generated health data.

"It's a framework that's going to look at how we're going to protect that data, how we're going to maximize the doctor-patient relationship using that data, build confidence in providers' and researchers' ... uses of that data and encourage consumers and caregivers to participate" in harnessing the data, Karen DeSalvo said at ONC's annual consumer health IT summit in the District of Columbia last week.

To learn more:
- check out the report