Getting patients involved

So we're reaching out to patients with PHRs, patient education software, websites and more. But what if they don't reach back? That, I'd argue, is where I think some of the more interesting plays will be focused at this year's HIMSS show. There are any number of points in the process at which a doctor, nurse or tech can simply ask a question, but getting patients to actually volunteer information is another thing entirely. So I'm not surprised that there's an emerging category of technology that I'd term "patient involvement systems" gaining steam and present at HIMSS.

When looking at this category, I'm particularly impressed by GetWellNetwork and LodgeNetRX, both of which have approaches to bringing interactive patient experiences to the bedside. These bedside systems can offer a wide range of new patient communication channels, including patient-specific education, interactive surveys and responses that feed into clinical databases. GetWellNetwork is even in the process of having patient responses trigger caregiver notifications and automatically populate clinical databases.

Nonetheless, I'm also confident that there are a lot of ways to skin this cat, so I'm eager to see what other forms patient involvement systems take, whether hospital lobby touch screens, in-home, Web-based programs tailored to specific users or other possibilities as yet unknown. I encourage you to check such systems out at HIMSS; I'm convinced that more-integrated and accessible patient education and data collection systems will be standard very soon.