by Jan Oldenburg – OldenburgJ@Aetna.com
Last week I found myself waiting for a plane, sharing the lone electrical outlet with another traveler. As we sat side-by-side, intimacy enforced by our shared electrical lifeline, he received a phone call that I couldn’t help but overhear. He was trying to arrange for test results to be faxed to his phone, and I could hear the urgency in his voice.
When he finished the call, I asked him (apologizing for eavesdropping) if he was trying to get medical test results. He explained that he’d received a call from his doctor’s office, telling him that his test results were “suspicious,” and he needed to see a specialist immediately. The call had made him anxious, and he was trying to get the actual results before he boarded the plane—a task that required the nurse to fax the results to his office, then his admin to scan and email them to him, a complex, cumbersome, insecure way to get the information.
“Why is this so hard?” he asked me plaintively.
Why indeed? As he talked, I thought, “that’s why we do this work!”
Getting your lab results quickly, securely, wherever you are, in a context where education is available to help you interpret them exemplifies something we all have a right to expect from the healthcare system: convenience, timeliness, clarity, access to our own data, and “nothing about me without me.”
This week, I was in New Orleans, excited about the wealth of patient engagement topics on the agenda for HIMSS13. Not long ago, it was hard to find HIMSS sessions that focused on patient engagement or the digital patient experience. Things are changing, though, and that change was evident everywhere at HIMSS13.
Tuesday, designated as “Patient Engagement Day,” offered a full track of speakers and programs dedicated to exploring what works and how to accelerate progress toward a world where patients can expect to access their health information easily and seamlessly, use technology to perform routine healthcare transactions conveniently, and communicate with their care team easily and securely.
The conference also marked the launch of a new book, Engage! Transforming Healthcare Through Digital Patient Engagement (which I had the honor of editing). In fact, Wednesday, March 6, precisely at noon, people who believed that “patient engagement can transform healthcare” clapped 10 times as a sign of their belief that we can’t and won’t get to transformation without partnering with our patients and using technology as one of the means of accomplishing it.
Were you there to show your support? If so, let me know what you thought about this patient engagement event at HIMSS13?