Panel: Patient engagement technology a must for ACO success

Technology that can engage patients so they can contribute to their own care will be crucial to the success of new payment models such as accountable care organizations, representatives from several healthcare organizations said during a panel discussion at the fourth annual Health Datapalooza conference  in Washington, D.C. on Monday. In particular, panelists focused on how technology must be able to leverage data to prompt more preventive behavior and to spur discussions between providers and patients.

"We need to get out of this notion of not telling people about the mistakes that they've made, and instead tell them how they can avoid those mistakes in the future," Ron Ozminkowski (right), senior vice president and chief scientific officer at OptumHealth Care Solutions, said. "The notion of savings and incentives for doing things the right way will blunt fee-for-service. If we can do this in a way that [uses data] to focus on better care [and] better costs, we'll get better results."

Ozminkowski specifically talked about the benefits of iBlueButton technology as it relates to facilitating communications between patients and caregivers.

"What happens when a patient's care manager or a primary doctor leaves?" he said. "This technology helps to mitigate that. I don't have to remember what all of my doctors told me, or all of my medications; it's all stored electronically. It saves the ramifications of one clinician not knowing what another did for me."

Jonathan Blum (left), deputy administrator and director for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that technology needs to harness data in a way that proves to beneficiaries the upside of shifting payment models. As different models are tested in different parts of the country, he said, patients are going to demand detailed information about where care is better and why.

"We're going to need to know, through data, how care actually changes," Blum said. "With better data and technology, we can see what's happening to patients more easily and adjust course in real time."

Jami Doucette (right), CEO of concierge care firm ModernMed, said that continued cost transparency in healthcare will be an essential part of helping patients to make some of those determinations.

"While we've seen tremendous strides [in transparency], we still have a long way to go," he said.

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