Why healthcare should be more like Amazon

Healthcare needs to be more like Amazon in order to achieve patient engagement, David Chou, chief information officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, says in an interview at Healthcare Informatics.

To be more like the Internet giant, he says, the healthcare industry must make use of analytics to understand patient behavior and patterns.

"We need to project what issues each patient is going to have. We're a lot further away from other verticals; that's where the target should be. This whole discussion around population health management is going to revolve around the patient," he says.

Chou said one of his organization's primary challenges with portals and other technology is his organization's location. The South, he says, has a lot more barriers in regards to culture than other areas of the country. Patients there can be less comfortable interacting with providers using digital tools, he says.

However, the technology available to patients is still lacking, according to University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers Chief Information Officer Sue Schade. In our lives every day we use technology seamlessly to travel, shop and work, but that doesn't hold true when it comes to navigating healthcare, she says.

And patients aren't the only ones who need to adapt to new technologies, healthcare workers need to, too.

"Traditionally, healthcare was similar to the airline industry, where their goal for providers was to keep the beds full. Now, with the new regulatory requirements, the goal is to keep patients from coming," he says.

But there are positive trends in this direction. Interest in telehealth is growing among providers, which could help keep patients out of the hospital. In addition, more than 50 percent of U.S. hospitals are using smartphones and or tablets and 69 percent of clinicians are using both a desktop/laptop and a smartphone/tablet to access data, according to the 2014 HIMSS Analytics Mobile Devices Study.

To learn more:
- read the interview