Why Patient Engagement is Taking So Long

patient engagement ehrHealthcare IT today is bigger than ever. Modern software is intended to increase efficiency, organization and communication with patients – but only recently have patients become the focus of health information technology. Why is patient engagement taking center stage in eHealth so late in the game?

When the first iPhone was released in 2007, activity on social media pages like Facebook and Twitter exploded, as people began using the internet to organize their lives, interact with their networks and find useful information. Doctors caught on, and saw an opportunity to use technology to better manage their practices.

When the U.S. government created financial incentives for providers to adopt electronic health records through Meaningful Use in 2009, developers began creating health-related software and apps that empowered medical professionals with tools to better treat patients. But on the patient end, it was still hard to access medical records that were necessary if people were to make informed decisions about their health. Lack of technological infrastructure and issues related to privacy and security meant that doctors were hesitant or unable to share important data with patients.

New systems turn Health IT software’s focus around

Today, to keep both doctors and patients happy, new systems are being put in place to complement existing EHRs. Patients need to have access to the same information as their doctors do if they are to make better decisions regarding their health, because in the end, they make the majority of those decisions. Those who share this belief are at the forefront of a movement towards a second stage of Meaningful Use focused on fostering stronger doctor-patient relationships.

Patient-Relationship Management (PRM) systems are on the rise, and while costs and infrastructure are concerns when it comes to implementing this new technology, the most important factors in the success of these new EHR models are time and use. Patients, nurses, providers, pharmacists and doctors need to use the technology being developed so that developers know what works and what doesn’t, and can make adjustments when needed.

Meanwhile, more medical professionals are adopting the mantra “one patient, one record,” not only because PRM systems help people take care of themselves, but also because if implemented correctly, they create more efficient medical practices.

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