How not to do patient engagement

How not to do patient engagement

Deborah Wells is an IT strategy consultant at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the HIMSS Connected Patient Committee, has been working toward a technology strategy at CHOP to optimize its engagement initiatives on the way toward value-based healthcare.

On Feb. 9 at the Healthcare IT News and HIMSS Media Patient Engagement Summit in Orlando, Wells will be speaking on a panel titled “Best Practices and Lesson’s Learned – Or How Not to do Patient Engagement.”

Children’s hospitals have a unique perspective on patient engagement, says Wells. The role of the family members in a child’s health means that outreach and open lines of communication are key.

“We have been involved with patient and family engagement probably longer than most adult facilities,” she says.

Along the way, Wells has gotten some good perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

“There’s a tendency in lots of organizations to implement patient engagement piecemeal,” she says. “You start at the bottom: ‘Here’s a great app that’s going to help patients with asthma.’

“They’ll propose a project and it gets approved. You do the software, the purchasing, the licensing; you work out the privacy and consent issues. You implement it, and it may even be a very successful project.”

But what often happens, she says, is that it soon becomes apparent that all that effort was a waste of time: that specific technology or outreach initiative ends up running counter to this or that larger organizational imperative.

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