Friday, January 16, 2015
The patient as a focal point is emerging as a significant driver in healthcare transformation. A focus on customers in the digital space (involving smart phones and apps), and bringing enabling customers to engage in the heavy lifting (such as scheduling

Customer interactions model what can be done in healthcare for a number of reasons. White space -- the time that a patient lives life disconnected from the healthcare system -- is significant when many patients see their physician for only a few hours in a year. Because average interaction with the healthcare system is limited, the potential of social media, smart phones and gaming interactions to engage patients in their care and motivate them to improve their own health is significant. Healthcare IT News ( recently reported that 57% of 18-34 year olds want access to their medical records and are interested in being proactive in their healthcare. The challenge now is to help patients to locate and use existing portals and respond to usability issues so that a negative online experience does not leave them disconnected. Interestingly, 55-64 year olds had the highest participation rate, with 83% using or would use a portal to communicate with their physician. Trained through existing apps and industries that use them, the transition to the critical application of healthcare support is fertile ground for growth and use by patients. Filling white space with prompts, advice, and patient specific information will give users an opportunity to collaborate and take ownership of their healthcare. The proof will be in the responses users make, which will either validate the power of engaging patients where they are, or reveal further opportunities to tweak patient experience to improve engagement and health outcomes. A personal health record (PHR) allows a patient to aggregate their medical information for timely access, within their control. Until the wiring is in place to share a patient’s records across organizations, the PHR can be used to aggregate a comprehensive record that the patient can share at according to their intent. For example, individual health issues could be sequestered for access by a primary care physician, while that information need not be made accessible to an orthopedist. For continuity of care and for emergency care, a comprehensive record could allow patients to have their information in one place, and give providers an accurate view of patient conditions, including medications, medical and surgical histories, family histories, allergies, and habits. Review by the patient can contribute to the accuracy of information, to account for medications not picked up from a pharmacy, or not taken, and to correct any other information that is not accurate. The PHR is another prime catalyst in the transformation of healthcare, providing the patient a means of capturing healthcare organization’s interest and action toward becoming a better functioning and performing enterprise. Image courtesy of arztsamui at