October 13, 2010

HealthCamp 2010 - Sustained Patient Engagement by Jim Bloedau

Looking for answers to, “How do we better use Health 2.0 tech and ideas to initialize and sustain the engagement and maybe transform the patient, professional or family caregiver,” attracted me to Health Camp’s 2010 “un-conference” at the Kaiser’s Garfield Center in San Leandro, California last week.

So much of getting care from modern healthcare is largely predicated on some one other than the patient taking care of it
 – employer, physician, HCO, therapist. However, if you agree that a more engaged patient will move past this model and enhance healthy outcomes by doing so, then you probably also realize that the intensity of the illness(s) strongly influences the level of involvement by the patient and sets their limits of participation.

“Participatory healthcare”, “the medical home” and “hand-held health” are some of the burgeoning models and clichés used to describe practices and technology that facilitates this movement toward better management of health and more informed decisions about care by patients, professionals and family caregivers. These efforts require that the patient be at the center of planning and management and this has spawned two popular strategies:

• Winning the loyalty of well-insured patients through the delivery of self-service tools for better health and care will deliver a considerable competitive advantage where intense competition for highly lucrative services exists.

• Many of the evolving models of care have payment for services and additional rewards programs to physicians and HCOs based on the level of involvement of patients in their own care.

What I heard at Health Camp were mostly traditional Health 2.0 ideas (I know it’s a bit early to use “traditional” for Health 2.0), like portal, site and video formats, that addressed patient education to initiate engagement. More intriguing were the sessions that discussed very interesting design ideas and tactics to sustain the engagement. Social conversations, soft assessment and completion, role playing before the need, micro motivation through serial task completions and many more were suggested as tactics to sustain the engagement. Many of these “soft” engagement ideas come from the video game design industry and offer a way to connect citizens with better health and living practices before they become patients or family caregivers.

What was very clear at Health Camp was that these dedicated attendees were looking for ways to go past the doctor-patient or teacher-student format that has always been practiced. The new perspective is that sustained patient engagement will become more of a driver as physician’s and HCO’s financial success become increasingly dependent on their ability to help patients discover how to transform their "self" to be more engaged in living a healthier life.

Many thanks to the staff, attendees of Health Camp, Kaiser and sponsors Cisco and Sprint for another great day...if I can reciprocate, please let me know.
photo credit:  Lisa A

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