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Dr Julia Adler-Milstein on Measuring Patient Engagement

In order for providers to achieve balance between patients who want more direction and patients who want more autonomy, the healthcare industry must first find some measure of patient engagement, said Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, assistant professor at the School of Information and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.


In order for providers to achieve balance between patients who want more direction and patients who want more autonomy, the healthcare industry must first find some measure of patient engagement, said Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD, assistant professor at the School of Information and the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

Transcript (modified)

How do providers reconcile between patients who want to be told what to do and patients who want more of a say in their care?

The first thing we need to do is really figure out how do we measure patient engagement. And those measures, I think, need to be subjective because people are going to have different definitions of what it means for them to be engaged.

But right now we haven’t even had the ability to measure that well, and so we don’t know where we stand today. A lot of healthcare systems will say “I’m doing patient engagement” and then you ask them what they’re doing and they say, “Oh, you know, I have a portal where a patient can look up their lab results." And, again, maybe for some patients that feels like they are engaged, but for other patients that probably is going to really fall short of how they want to be engaged.

But until we measure it, it’s going to be very hard to know how we’re doing, and it’s going to be very hard to ultimately tie incentives to it. I think this is going to be the really transformative piece of this, when healthcare delivery systems feel like they have to prioritize patient engagement if they want to be competitive and effective; but I think patient engagement has just not reached that level of prioritization to date.

 
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