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Priority Planning: The Nuts and Bolts of Engaging with Healthcare Consumers

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

nuts and boltsThe digital and technological tools of healthcare marketing are increasing in importance and opportunity. And, if you haven’t done so lately, right now is probably a good time to weigh your “connectivity goals” against the technical nuts and bolts needed to get the job done.

All the action behind consumer engagement is evolving at the intersection of health information technology and medical marketing planning and administration. As a top line example, a recent survey by the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) concluded that consumer engagement is a top priority for many organizations, but that objectives, strategies, tactics and success metrics are still evolving.

Although, says NeHC, “the majority of respondents (53 percent), rank consumer engagement with health IT as high or very high on their organizations’ priority list. Three percent of respondents rank consumer engagement as very low on their priority list and 20 percent rank consumer engagement as low on their priority list.

“The survey found that while about 33 percent of respondents said their organization's strategies for consumer engagement with health Information Technology (IT) are not clearly defined, [and] 59 percent said their organization is developing clear consumer engagement strategies.” Some of the top consumer engagement goals include:

  • Improve health outcomes
  • Deliver information to patients
  • Enable consumers to take more responsibility for their health
  • Reduce healthcare costs
  • Improve consumers’ experience in interacting with our organization
  • Increase individuals’ awareness of their health related activities (e.g., diet, exercise)
  • Encourage healthier lifestyle choices among the people we serve

Currently, respondents report that their organizations are engaging consumers:

  •  53% deliver information electronically to patients
  • 47% offer a patient portal
  • 43% provide marketing or educational materials electronically
  • 31% offer personal health record
  • 21% offer remote patient monitoring with data transmitted to provider
  • 16% include patients on Board of Directors and in other leadership roles

How many of these goals and methods are part of your priority planning? We’d like to hear from you about this facet of your IT plans and healthcare marketing. Who has the leadership responsibility?

This survey sample puts the spotlight on the need for healthcare marketing and technology leaders to work together. “Progress is being made but a significant amount of work remains to be done in order to get closer to realizing the benefits of consumer engagement with health IT.

"Opportunities exist for coordination and collaboration as well as best practice collection and dissemination in order to accelerate achievement of the potential improvements in health outcomes that can result from effective consumer engagement in health IT.”

More from the National eHealth Collaborative and additional survey data is available here.

Lonnie Hirsch


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