Report: Health Care Industry Lags in Use of Patient Engagement Tools

February 12, 2015 in News

Many health care providers are offering the “bare minimum” in patient engagement tools, in part because vendors are not being proactive about such products, according to a report by Chilmark Research, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 2/11).

Study Details

For the 2014/2015 Clinical Patient Engagement Market Trends Report, researchers interviewed several health care executives and clinicians to gauge their use of patient engagement tools (Chilmark Research report, February 2015).

The report also assessed 14 clinical patient engagement tool vendors, including:

  • Aetna/iTriage;
  • Allscripts;
  • Axial Exchange;
  • Cerner;
  • McKesson/RelayHealth;
  • MedFusion;
  • Microsoft HealthVault; and
  • WebMD.

The researchers rated the vendors on:

  • Product completeness;
  • Product sophistication; and
  • Performance in meeting health care providers’ needs.

Report Findings

Overall, the report stated that the health care industry is “still struggling to catch up with basic consumer expectations set by banking, airline and other major consumer industries.”

The report found that despite advances in areas such as cloud technologies, consumerization of care delivery, most patient-provider interactions occur through basic patient portals, typically linked to electronic health records. The report showed that providers use a mix of patient engagement tools, with some providers testing out “smart” tools, while others lack even basic portals (Healthcare IT News, 2/11).

The researchers wrote that it appears health care providers are prioritizing other health IT initiatives over patient engagement, such as:

  • Building analytics capabilities;
  • Defining clinician networks;
  • Mastering risk-based contracting; and
  • Preparing for effective population-based health management (Chilmark Research, February 2015).

However, the report noted that vendors are partially to blame for the low adoption of patient engagement tools. For example, the report found that most vendors “fared poorly in creating longitudinal records” and offering the mobility most consumers expect, but some — including those with experience in information exchange or customer relationship management — are creating more innovative products that are not tied to EHRs.

The report concluded that the diverse market could force providers to select tools from multiple vendors to meet diverse needs for different players (Healthcare IT News, 2/11).

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