Greater patient engagement leads to better health system performance
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is a non-profit founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell. The organization’s mission is to”combine politically-balanced policymaking with strong, proactive advocacy and outreach. Last week the Center released its latest report looking at how patient engagement leads to lower costs, better outcomes, and better patient experience in health care.
Improving Quality and Reducing Costs in Health Care: Engaging Consumers Using Electronic Tools is an in depth report showing greater patient engagement and consumer education leads to better the outcomes in terms of cost and quality. The report concludes that patient engagement is an “essential element of new delivery system and payment reforms now emerging to address the significant challenges facing the U.S. health care system.” Electronic health tools play a critical role in accelerating and supporting patient engagement efforts in healthcare.
Electronic tools that support patient engagement and consumer education include online access to information to self-manage care, interactive electronic tools to monitor and track health management, online communities for sharing experiences, and the use of personal health records.
To accelerate adoption of electronic tools for increasing patient engagement the Center recommends the following:
- Build awareness of benefits of electronic tools for patient engagement
- Develop and disseminate principles, standards, policies, strategies, and best practices for using electronic tools to engage patients
- Build awareness of benefits of health care-related electronic tools among consumers
- Increase federal, state and private sector incentives for the use of electronic tools to support engagement of patients in their healthcare
The report acknowledges the challenges to increasing patient engagement including:
- Need for additional training and education on patient engagement in medical schools, residency programs, and continuing medical education programs
- Deepening patient-centered care and engagement at the cultural level
- Taking steps to limit the amount of time in a traditional office visit
- Cost and complexity of reaching out to and engaging individuals outside of an office setting
- Addressing communication needs of under served populations