Three trends that support better patient engagement

06 May 2014 | Gabe Rijpma, Sr. Director Health & Social Services, Asia

It’s increasingly important that we find ways to engage patients in taking better care of themselves. We all know the scary reality: As the world population continues to grow rapidly, we’re facing a shortage of doctors. And as the populace ages and we have an increasing incidence of chronic conditions, healthcare costs will rise at an unsustainable rate. Perhaps nowhere is this situation more imminent than in Asia, where I live. Asia is home to 60 percent of the global population and has one of the fastest aging populations. By 2030, according to United Nations projections, 565 million Asians will be aged 65 years or older—up from about 300 million now, as reported in this New York Times article.

Given these challenges, the health leaders I speak with are realizing that they need to rethink how they manage their relationships with the aging and the services that they provide. How can they better engage those they serve to help them be healthier? And how can they do so with limited resources?

The good news is that today’s technologies can help health organizations start to answer these questions. Here are three technology trends that I see supporting increased patient engagement:

  • Patient relationship management. More and more health organizations are implementing systems to help them manage relationships with their patients holistically. They’re using CRM tools to gain a 360-degree view of all the information, activities, and communication related to  an individual. With automated workflows, they’re efficiently reaching out to people for pre-admission preparation, post-discharge follow-up, and more. Rather than only seeing them when they’re experiencing symptoms, health organizations are using these tools to proactively engage with people in their community through targeted outreach campaigns and education efforts.
  • Internet of Things (IoT). We’re seeing an explosion of devices in healthcare that can connect to the Internet and each other—from FitBit to mobile phones with glucometers to home blood pressure monitors. All these devices are having a profound impact on the personal health data that can be captured. Capturing this important data can help individuals and their caregivers track their progress and drive appropriate early interventions for any health issues to head off problems down the road.
  • Consumer-controlled platform for health information. People are increasingly looking for ways to organize all their health information. And they want to make it easily available to their health professionals, but they want to be in control of who sees what. So they’re using things like HealthVault, which is a consumer-controlled online platform for gathering and sharing health information—whether collected at home, the doctor’s office, pharmacy, gym, or anywhere in between. Because it’s an open platform, HealthVault can also be a conduit for connecting a patient’s home device readings with a health organization’s patient relationship management system. That way, health professionals can get a real-time view of how a patient is living day-to-day. And when a patient’s reading is out of the target range, automated workflows can alert clinicians or case managers so they can intervene early to help prevent acute episodes that require a trip to the hospital or the emergency department.

Patient Engagement

By taking advantage of today’s technologies, health organizations can engage patients in new and efficient ways to help them be healthier. And ultimately, finding ways to help patients take better care of themselves will be vital to arresting the explosion of costs in the healthcare system.

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Gabe Rijpma
Sr. Director Health & Social Services, Asia

Microsoft in Health Blog

About the Author

Gabe Rijpma | Sr. Director Health & Social Services, Asia

Gabe Rijpma is Sr. Director Health & Social Services for Asia. Based in Singapore, Gabe’s responsibilities include leading and defining the solution offerings and strategy for meeting the needs of healthcare customers across Australia, New Zealand... Read more