“It Takes Two to Tango” When it comes to Patient Engagement

Jan 19, 2017 | Blog

“It Takes Two to Tango” When it comes to Patient Engagement

by G. Duncan Finlay, M.D.

Perhaps the hottest topic in healthcare at the moment is Patient Engagement. It’s the idea that patients who are informed about and given access to their personal medical record, educated about their medical conditions, given effective access to caregivers and engaged in decisions about their care will be healthier, happier and spend fewer health care dollars.

Like a lot of things it sounds far easier than it has proven to be. We should remember that this must be a two-way street. Caregivers will have to put in the time and effort and the patients must make the effort as well.

Some recent information from a study by Black Book Research quoted by Fierce Healthcare’s Glenna Shaw indicates that there is a growing lack of public trust in the ability of the technological tools we use to protect private information. The distrust is not only about a patient’s medical conditions but also demographics, SSNs and other non-medical information. Incidentally, the lack of trust is with the technology — not the doctors or hospitals.

Personally, I have been notified twice about potential data breaches involving my physicians’ medical records. Large healthcare systems have been in the news many times in the past few years for either data breaches or fines by the Feds for inadequate protection of such data. Some organizations have reported that their data had been breached and was being held for ransom!

We, at FARI, are looking into this issue and will be announcing a study soon.