June 28, 2013 Back to All Blogs

All Aboard the Patient Engagement Train

We love the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) magazine, which covers cross-sector solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. This week SSIR’s blog features a Panthink piece featuring five ways data and technology to shift the public consciousness toward “all for one and one for all” thinking.h

Momentum is clearly building toward a health care system that is more organized around patients in ways that benefit them individually and collectively.

Here are five more recent developments that signal that the ‘Patient Engagement Train’ is picking up speed:

  1. Boston-based Partners HealthCare unveiled a new initiative that plugs patient-generated data from home into Partners’ electronic health record system. Joseph Kvedar, founder and director of the Center for Connected Health applauded the move: “The care team now has a more comprehensive view of a patient’s condition, seeing that individual’s day-to-day vital signs, real-time response to medications and other important indicators of his or her health available through our remote monitoring programs.”
  2. The Mobile HIMSS blog lists 5 Benefits Of Online Patient Communities, demonstrating what can happen when patients have a venue for sharing support and information anytime anywhere.
  3. The Journal of Medical Internet Research released a new study – Using Online Health Communities to Deliver Patient-Centered Care to People With Chronic Conditions – which shows how Online Health Communities (OHC’s) facilitate communication among professionals and patients and supports care coordination that wouldn’t happen without OHC’s.
  4. Geomedicine, which tracks where patients live, work and play, is helping doctors better understand and treat their patients. For example, an asthma inhaler with a GPS tracking device alerts physicians to when and where the inhaler was used and the environmental factors that may have spurred the need for an inhaler such as agriculture, dust, construction, weather, air quality.
  5. A new tool called OutcomesMiner will track and analyze data from electronic medical records (EMRs) to determine which treatments are working, where improvements are needed and what new needs are emerging. The joint venture of Intermountain Health and Deloitte will provide direction to help researchers, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies create new products and therapies.

These developments are changing the center of health information gravity to the patient and living up to the goals of “meaningful use.” But we could do so much more.

We aspire for a moon shot that creates a “Public Health Graph” that connects clinical, personal, social, and societal data. The result will be a Facebook-esque platform that provides a 360-degree, 24/7 view of our unique medical needs, past care history, plus the ability to learn more about how factors outside the doctor’s office impact health and do something about it. Will we see this kind of connection in our lifetimes? What will it take to get there? Tweet your thoughts using #PublicHealthGraph to join the conversation.