Technology's role in improving patient experience expands

Health IT is strengthening provider communications with patients and influencing patient-engagement strategies, according a new health IT survey. The findings come as the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) announces a new project to develop a Patient Experience Framework, an evolution of the group's Patient Engagement Framework.

The survey on patient engagement asked providers how they used technology to help monitor patients, including their medication and whether they were following treatment plans.

Most providers still communicate by phone or face-to-face, but use of health IT applications including smartphones, text messaging, social networking and email is growing, according to the findings. Online and mobile technology will become more important as use of print media declines, the report concluded.

Technology-enabled tools could deepen the level of engagement and "become more meaningfully involved in their own care," according to the findings.

Meanwhile, the new framework for patient experience will clarify what meaningful engagement of patients means, NeHC said in its announcement.

"There is no question that patient engagement in eHealth has become a priority because it will lead to more effective partnerships between patients and their providers and better outcomes," NeHC CEO Kate Berry said in a statement. "We are at the very early stages of cultivating culture change and ongoing engagement among patients, providers and other stakeholders, starting with a better understanding of different perspectives."

Patient experience is influenced by factors including consumer needs and expectations as well as varying cultures, NeHC said, so the framework must support multiple patient perspectives.

For more information:
- download the survey report
- read the survey announcement
- here's the NeHC announcement