I hate saying I told you so.  But "patient engagement is a physician-patient communications challenge and not an HIT (health information technology) challenge.” Just take a look at the Mayo Clinic’s patient portal experience which was discussed at a HIMSS 2013. The headline: "Mayo Clinic struggles to meet stage 2 meaningful use thresholds for engaging patients." Always innovating, the Mayo Clinic some three years ago introduced a web-based portal to share ...

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Each of us wears many different “hats” throughout the course of the day.  We are an employee, a wife, a father, a club member, a consumer and so on.   It comes as no surprise that our thinking, what we say, and how we say it at any particular time coincides with the hat we are wearing at that moment.   The thing about these “hats” or roles is that they come ...

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Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by  industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, smartphone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement.   It’s not. If health information technology were all that was needed to “engage” patients then  patient and member adoption rates of provider and payer web portals offering personal health records (PHRs) and electronic health records (EHRs) would not ...

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I talk with lot of physicians about the need to improve the quality of communications between physicians and patients.   Regular followers of my work will know that I am an advocate for the adoption of patient-centered communication skills by the physician and provider community. Physicians with whom I talk seldom disagree as to the need for better physician-patient communications.   They know that physician communication skills top the list of patient complaints ...

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Turns out that while most of us (90%) would like be able to make a doctor’s appointment and check lab results online. 85% of us also still want the option of be able to talk to our physician face-to-face.  These are the finding from a recent 2012 study conducted by Accenture. These finding will no doubt come as a surprise to many of those high tech newcomers to health care ...

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Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and “bundled payments” are set to play a central role in the Affordable Care Act.  Under accountable care, physicians and hospitals would be paid out of a “single payment” from CMS or health insurers for all the care needed to treat a clinically defined “episode of care” like a heart attack.   The premise is that bundle payments will incentivize physicians and hospitals to deliver more efficient, ...

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Patients often don’t get the respect they deserve. Take the subject of patient engagement.  Just about everywhere you turn in the health care literature these days we are told how physicians and other providers need to do a better job getting patients involved in their own health. But is that really their role? Patient engagement is not the job of health care providers Why?  Because by the time a person (aka patient) ...

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Can you say “reactance”?  Don’t feel bad, I wasn’t familiar with the term either until recently.  But as you will see, anyone that has ever been a patient will catch on pretty quickly as to what reactance is and how it works. Reactance is how we respond to something that threatens to limit or eliminate our behavioral freedom.  I recently experienced reactance in the course of “prepping” for a colonoscopy.   The ...

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Primary care physicians are the point of first contact that people like you and I have with a hospital or health systems.   We are 13 times more likely to visit a primary care physician in any given year than we are to need a hospital stay. Primary care physicians are very important.   Yes they are they the first line of care for many people.   The primary care physician’s office ...

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It is said that "turn around is fair play." So if providers (physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals) expect patients to become more engaged in their own care, isn’t it fair for patients to expect their physicians to also get more involved in their care? If you look closely at "proxy measures" for physician engagement, you will see that this is a legitimate if not equally important line of inquiry. Hello? Hello? ...

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