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Health Information Technology Should Be Linked to Patient Engagement, Report Says

Patient engagement in health IT is an untapped opportunity with major potential, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

By Bisk on May 20, 2014
New Study Says Health IT Should Be Linked to Patient Engagement

Patients’ preferences and needs should be central to the design of health information technology, according to a new report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

The study, which scrutinized the connection between health IT and the need to engage patients and families in their own care, suggests there is considerable work necessary to improve the quality and effectiveness of healthcare supported by technology systems.

“Health IT tools for patient engagement are often disconnected from the health care system and in need of full integration across all opportunities for engagement,” according to the NCQA report.

Still, the report suggests that a framework is evolving to assist providers in leveraging technology to achieve the Triple Aim goals: enhance patient experience, improve population health and reduce per capita costs.

The successful incorporation of patient engagement tools into health IT systems has “the potential to improve inefficient communication methods and change the dynamic of the relationship between the patient and healthcare system,” according to the authors of the report, Building a Strategy to Leverage Health Information Technology to Support Patient and Family Engagement.

The NCQA identifies six engagement-related challenges and opportunities:

  • Patient engagement is an untapped opportunity with major potential, particularly among marginalized populations
  • Health IT design should be user-centric and start with the needs and preferences of patients and families
  • Evidence to evaluate effectiveness of tools is currently limited
  • Patient-engagement health IT tools need to be integrated with the healthcare system
  • Patient and consumer trust must be cultivated
  • Leadership and collaboration are needed among stakeholders

The report focuses on four recommendations:

  • Create a complete statement of joint principles to advance the design, development and implementation of HIT tools that assist in achieving the Triple Aim.
  • Develop an evaluation structure that targets investment and supports consumer choice.
  • Advance development of a unified health data integration strategy that prioritizes engagement.
  • Demonstrate pioneering HIT uses for engaging patients; build knowledge and establish priorities that deliver functions valued by patients.
Category: Healthcare