Lindsay Burton, our first runner up for the fall essay scholarship contest, is a junior at Azusa Pacific University double majoring in Computer Information Systems and Theater Arts. She will graduate in May 2016. She hopes to work in entertainment (with a focus in sketch comedy and improv) and tech after graduation. Check out Lindsay’s research and perspective on patient engagement technology in the healthcare industry:
It seems that our lives quicken pace as time goes on. This is largely due to the rapid introduction of advanced technology. While many mobile apps for communication have been introduced, the healthcare is in dire need of new technology to maintain communication between healthcare providers and their patients. Patient engagement technology is key to healthcare’s success and it needs to introduce new technology in order to create a stronger healthcare provider and patient relationship.
Patient engagement is one of the most crucial trends in the healthcare world. Three trends increasing in popularity are PHRs and text-based programs. PHRs are health record systems which provide one concrete database for a patient’s personal records. Companies like Google and Kaiser Permanente introduced their own PHRs. Within the most recent years, tethered PHRs, which are controlled by healthcare providers and can be viewed by patients, were introduced.
However, untethered PHRs received even more attention because of the fact that a patient can completely control their profile in this database. For example, one can download their health information. Then, attention shifted to text-based applications designed for the health IT world. Programs, such as Kaiser Permanente’s text-message appointment reminder, allow texts to be sent to patients reminding them of their upcoming appointment. Additionally, Mt. Sinai Hospital introduced their own text messaging system which was specifically designed for liver transplant patients. Patient engagement technology has rapidly evolved over the past ten years.
Today’s patient engagement technology maintains health care standards in that it creates better communication between healthcare providers and their patients. Online portals created specifically for healthcare purposes allows patients to view their records, pay bills, check appointment times, and manage prescriptions, among many other uses. It is crucial for patients to have a proper and active line of communication with their providers. If an emergency arises, online portals provide a great way to access information. Patients and healthcare personnel work together to preserve the first-rate healthcare standards set forth many years ago. With an improved line of communication also comes an increased trust between patients and providers. Well-built online portals must include a legitimate security system to protect patients’ personal information. With federal regulations prying on sensitive patient information, patient technology can maintain health care standards through improved communication and trust.
Patient engagement technology can also improve health outcomes. One possible outcome is weight loss. Apps for health and weight loss are constantly in development. Often times, these apps are easy-to-use and available for free. Additionally, new apps created specifically for tracking exercise performance are introduced every week. Apps of this kind also come with rewards or encouragement for the individual so that their performance will continue to improve. Patients can also feel healthier quicker through a text-based messaging system. These systems can remind patients to pick up prescriptions, go to their appointment for later that day, and engage in an exercise regimen. Sometimes patients are forgetful of the three ideas. A simple text-based messaging system can fix that problem and improve a patient’s health at a slightly more rapid pace. Patient engagement technology improves various health outcomes.
Communication technology can vastly improve a patient’s care through speed and accuracy. The internet is a great tool for patients to use for tracking their health information, like test results and appointments. Well-built systems can also provide immediate communication between the patient and their health care provider. This also creates an open line of communication. Patients are then more involved in decisions regarding their healthcare. Another benefit of communication technology is improvement in health literacy of patients. Patients will feel more comfortable with asking their healthcare provider more questions and ask for assistance in filing healthcare-related paperwork. Lastly, communication technology can increase medical compliance in patients. This kind of technology can tell patients why medical adherence approval is crucial, creating a stronger feeling of compliance. Through compliance, patients can receive accurate and efficient medical attention faster. Communication technology provides many improvements to healthcare.
Because of our rapidly changing world, communication technology is critical to the future of healthcare. Within the past ten years, our dependence on technology has dramatically increased. We are not only much more dependent, but we also expect an instant solution to our desires. This can be achieved through development of apps and text-based systems. It is also critical for communication technology to be available on every possible platform. This includes internet, smartphones, and tablets. Individuals want the information they want at any given moment through any possible device that they possess. Because health information is crucial and must be available in urgent times, versatile and secure access to this sensitive information must be present. Additionally, security of these programs heavily affects the future of healthcare. A large security breach can destroy healthcare’s public persona.
Healthcare is in urgent need of new technology to improve communication and access. Through efficient and well-built technology, healthcare can maintain its standards and improve itself within the coming years.
We appreciate Lindsay’s insight on the advancement of patient engagement technology and would like to thank her for her submission. We wish her success in her educational endeavors and know that she is passionate about being a part of the future of healthcare and improving the patient-provider relationship. Good luck Lindsay!