The survey was designed to build an understanding of consumer engagement strategies currently underway and planned for the future. It was distributed to 450 members of NeHC's Health Information Exchange Learning Network. The survey asked how organizations define consumer engagement, how they use health IT to engage consumers and what challenges they have encountered.
Fifty-three percent of respondents ranked consumer engagement as high or very high in their organization's priorities. However, 33 percent indicated that their strategies for consumer engagement with health IT are not clearly defined. While 59 percent say their strategies for consumer engagement are beginning to evolve toward clarity, the breadth of definitions and approaches that were listed in the survey demonstrates the struggle that many providers still face in streamlining consumer engagement approaches.
Based on a list of options, a majority of respondents indicated that their definition for consumer engagement in HIT includes:
• Patient uses electronic educational material or online resources to learn about better health or their own health conditions — 74 percent
• Patient refills prescriptions or accesses lab results or other personal health data online — 72 percent
• Patient engages with provider through electronic means (e.g. telemedicine) — 71 percent
• Patient understands how their health records are stored securely, how they will be used and shared — 69 percent
• Patient enables friend or family member to review medical records electronically when appropriate — 64 percent
• Patient manages own health through the use of electronic home monitoring devices, health-related smart phone apps or online tools — 63 percent
• Patient uses IT tools and resources to manage his or her medical record — 62 percent
• Patient downloads his or her medical record and other health data to a personal health record or to a personal electronic storage device — 62 percent
• Provider emails or texts reminders to patients — 60 percent
• Patient makes medical appointments online — 60 percent
• Patient emails provider with questions — 58 percent
Regardless of the varying definitions, many providers have the same goals for consumer engagement. Respondents identified their primary goals for consumer engagement with health IT as follows:
• Improve health outcomes — 68 percent
• Deliver information to patients — 66 percent
• Enable consumers to take more responsibility for their health — 59 percent
• Reduce healthcare costs — 59 percent
• Improve consumers' experience in interacting with our organization — 57 percent
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Providers May Prioritize Health IT Consumer Engagement, But Lack Focused DefinitionWritten by Kathleen Roney | July 25, 2012
While consumer engagement in health information technology is high on the list of priorities for providers, many lack clarity in their definition and approach, according to the "Consumer Engagement with Health Information Technology Survey" conducted by the National eHealth Collaborative.
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