NCQA: Health IT Can Be Tapped To Support Patient Engagement

April 25, 2014 in News

Successful integration of patient engagement tools into health IT systems has “the potential to improve inefficient communication methods and change the dynamic of the relationship between the patient and health care system,” according to a new report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, EHR Intelligence reports. 

However, the report noted that there is not yet a complete framework for boosting patient engagement through health IT systems.

Details of Report

In a survey, the report authors identified six common themes of “opportunities and challenges” related to patient engagement through health IT:

  • Patient engagement is an untapped opportunity with major potential, especially among marginalized groups;
  • Health IT should adopt a user-based model that originates from the needs and preferences of patients;
  • There is a dearth of evidence on the effectiveness of such tools;
  • Patient-engagement tools should be integrated into overall health care IT systems;
  • Patient and consumer trust needs to be fostered; and
  • Leadership and collaboration among stakeholders are necessary to realize the full potential.

The report also detailed four activities that will help the industry identify and develop a cohesive strategy for patient engagement through health IT, including:

  • Developing joint principles that will facilitate the design, creation and adoption of health IT tools that boost patient care, improve overall population health and lower health care costs;
  • Creating and implementing an evaluation framework that focuses on investment and prioritizes consumer choice;
  • Facilitating the creation of a unified health data integration strategy focused on patient engagement; and
  • Demonstrating innovative ways to use IT tools for patient engagement.

Comments

In the report, the authors wrote that “[h]ealth IT tools for patient engagement are often disconnected from the health care system and in need of full integration across all opportunities for engagement.” However, the report added that successful integration of patient engagement in health IT systems has “the potential to improve inefficient communication methods and change the dynamic of the relationship between the patient and health care system.”

NCQA President Margaret O’Kane said the “core idea” of the report is that health IT “should be designed around the needs and preferences of patients.” She added that “the question of how to link [health IT] and patient engagement is an area where a unified strategy is most needed” (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 4/23).

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