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Dr James Hamrick Discusses Bringing Value to Patients Through Engagement

The more engaged patients who have more access to their data and are more informed about what’s going on are actually going to have better outcomes most of the time, explained James Hamrick, MD, senior medical director at Flatiron Health.


The more engaged patients who have more access to their data and are more informed about what’s going on are actually going to have better outcomes most of the time, explained James Hamrick, MD, senior medical director at Flatiron Health.

Transcript

When approaching patient engagement, what approach does Flatiron take to bring the most value to patients?

So, when Flatiron thinks about how we’re going to bring value to patients, in terms of patient engagement, the first thing is we firmly believe, and I think we share this belief with a lot of people in oncology, that more engaged patients who have more access to their data and are more informed about what’s going on are actually going to have better outcomes most of the time.

The things we think about are, first of all, you really need to think of patients as a very heterogenous group of people. We actually invest a fair amount in doing user research with patients where we actually speak to patients themselves in a formal, intentional way so we can begin to understand what are the different things that matter uniformly across the different groups of patients, because you really have to ask them. You get into trouble when you start assuming, “Because I’m a doctor I know,” or even “Because I’ve been in the patient’s shoes I know,” because it’s a very heterogenous group. We think about how can we get access to patients and start to understand what really does drive value.

I think the second thing that we think about is, you’ve got to meet the patients where they are. We’re a technology company, and there are a lot of people out there hypothesizing that technology is the solution to really bring value to patients in clinical care. Not everyone is on an equal level in terms of how comfortable they are with technology and how much they want to use technology to interface with their practices. So, you see some patients that are very comfortable with software portals and downloading apps; you see others that really don’t want to do that or that’s not part of how they operate. And so, we try to design things that meet patients where they are so they can be useful.

Also, we’re very aware at Flatiron of not creating products and features that worsen disparities in healthcare. We want to build products that enable the very human elements of practices and doctors connecting with patients to make patients have a better care experience, and we want to use technology as tools to help facilitate that.

 
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