3 Signs That the Future of Healthcare = Patient E-ngagement

“Healthcare cannot be a spectator sport.”  To manage costs and provide better care, health leaders (policymakers, providers, employers, insurers) must get patients more involved.  They must work with patients rather than providing services to or for them.

This was my key take-away from a roundtable discussion on , which I attended on November 11.  The discussion – part of a monthly Leadership Action Series convened by health leaders in 13 cities across North America – was sponsored by Cisco in partnership with Access Group, nD Insight, Health Connexions, Mandrake and the Ontario Hospital Association.

Study after study shows that the US healthcare system is stretched to the limit – and that patients remain under-served.  In North America, roughly 300,000 people die every year due to surgical errors, mistaken diagnoses, hospital infections and inadequate care.

At a time when talk about “health reform” has outpaced action, the Person Centered Health Leadership Action Series focuses on results.  Members share success stories, champion e-health technologies and develop thought leadership that supports informed, participatory decision-making.

At the November 11 session, speakers from Capital Health, CAPCH, Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) and The Society for Participatory Medicine presented the following proof points.

  • Tipping Point:  Consumers Take On More Responsibility for Own Health
    • Today, 85% of online adults surf the web for health information
    • More people now go online for health information each day than see a physician
    • More than half of those who look for health information online act on that information
    • Sources:  www.pewinternet.org; Dr. Daniel Sands (Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, The Society for Participatory Medicine, Cisco IBSG)
  • Proof Point:  Capital Health Gets a Patient-Centered Makeover
    • In 2006, Capital Health (Halifax) launched a change program to make the patient more active partners in their health
    • Today, Capital Health has 3 VPs of Person-Centered Health, A VP of Citizen Engagement and a VP of People
    • Capital Health uses patient/family stories to help care teams understand what it’s like to receive care
    • The culture has changed from one of “expert models” and “control” to one that values “collaboration” and “information sharing”
    • Capital Health uses tools and resources from the Institute for Family Centered Care
  • Financial Case:  Person-Centered Care Saves Dollars as Well as Lives
    • Professional Care is the most expensive form of care – and, currently, the model of care most encouraged by health leaders (policymakers, providers, employers, insurers)
    • Individual Self-care – including support from friends, families and self-help networks – is a smart (and cost-effective) way to leverage professional care
    • Sources: Dr. Daniel Sands (Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, The Society for Participatory Medicine, Cisco IBSG)

A growing number of nonpartisan organizations support patient-centered care, including The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (ICI), the Illinois Policy Institute, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and numerous state- and community-funded initiatives.

What are your thoughts about patient-centered care? Can health reform succeed without active patient participation?  Which organizations (and/or providers) are at the cutting-edge of patient-centered care?  How are they using patient input, technology and information-sharing to improve outcomes?

Please share your point-of-view.

To reach Meg Wildrick:

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