Posted in E-Patient, Ehealth

Patient engagement important, but loosely defined

What exactly is patient engagement? According to the National eHealth Collaborative’s 2012 stakeholder survey released last month, there is little agreement among health leaders. They currently use a variety of definitions that range from patients having access to educational materials to patients using their own electronic health record to transmit data to outside organizations.

Survey respondents were asked to choose their two top definitions from among 10 choices. They also could write in their own definition. The top five responses include:

Patient uses educational material and online resources to learn about better health or their own health conditions (64.0 percent)Patient uses tools and resources to manage his or her medical record and other health data (58.7 percent)Patient feels comfortable challenging doctor when something doesn’t seem right or when explanations are not clear (41.3 percent)Patient feels comfortable discussing health issues and questions with doctor or nurse face-to-face (38.4 percent)Patient communicates with doctor about changes in health status in a timely way (38.4 percent)

Survey respondents may not define patient engagement the same way, but an overwhelming 95 percent said the issue is “very important” or “important” in transforming healthcare. Only 5 percent called it “somewhat important,” while no respondents characterized it as “not important.”

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