Patient Experience & Engagement: Good Medicine, Good Business

Ben Rosner

Leveraging new technologies and strategies to heighten the patient experience and to drive patient engagement are not just good medicine, they’re also good for the bottom line.

Thanks to the work of pioneers developing tools such as the Patient Activation Model (PAM), the medical literature increasingly shows us that patients who are activated and engaged, enjoy fewer compications, have better outcomes, and incur lower costs. 

But nearly three years after patient engagement was hailed as the next “blockbuster drug,” why is it that little about engagement has been operationalized? Have any of us gone to our own physicians and found that we were asked about our engagement, or have any of us been given frictionless ways with which to remain actively engaged with our healthcare providers? In part, patient engagement suffers from poor operationlization due to the lack of convergence of three major and arguably requisite ingredients: 1. A practical, operational definition of patient engagement that allows us to measure it continuously, 2. A means by which to connect the two most important parties in the engagement equation - the patient and physician – in an ongoing way, between visits in a manner that is clinically compatible and mutually meaningful, and 3. An incentive that honors the physician for the time needed to promote engagement directly with his or her patients.

Connecting the dots between patient engagement and the financial ROI for health systems is not just for breakfast (or policymakers) anymore.  The hooks, both direct and indirect, into the financial ROI are abundant, and the payoff is substantial.  In addition to delivering great medicine and achieving optimal outcomes, it is those healthcare systems that outpace their competitors in capturing market share and maxmimizing retention in an increasingly experiential and satifaction-driven marketplace that will emerge as the leaders in the next decade.

And these winds of change are not just conceptual. Forward-thinking payers and malpractice carriers also believe that good medicine and good business can and do align. With HealthLoop, A Silicon Valley based patient engagement company, Anthem Blue Cross and MIEC are each running pilot studies in which physicians are being additionally incentivized through rebates if they keep their patients engaged between visits. Why is this? In an increasingly value-based purchasing world,  and in a world where patient satisfaction and engagement matter, both the payer and the malpractice carrier believe that highly engaged patients will have better outcomes and incur fewer costs, and they believe that tools that enable better engagement and dialogue between patient and physician will result in a win-win-win.

These are exciting times, and we’re on the verge of big changes in medicine! Read our blog on a new model of payment reform termed Pay-for-Engagement, and come hear the HX360 panel Evolving Engagement: Next Wave Technologies, Tuesday, April 14th, 11:45-12:45 where Dr. Ben Rosner, CMIO of HealthLoop, and industry colleagues discuss the new era of patient engagement.   

Ben Rosner, M.D., Ph.D. is the CMIO, of HealthLoop, Inc.


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