We continue to hear that a patient’s involvement in managing their own healthcare contributes to better health outcomes and that those involved with their providers tend to be healthier than those who are not engaged. Therefore, it is not surprising that patient engagement is emerging as a priority in the healthcare community. Patient engagement combines a patient’s knowledge, skills, and willingness to manage their own health with information technologies that can support the engagement.

To determine where the industry stands when it comes to patient engagement, and what providers are doing to increase it, CDW Healthcare part of the public sector subsidiary of CDW LLC surveyed 200 patients and 200 providers. The results are not surprising and they do provide a glimpse at some of the biggest engagement challenges that healthcare faces, as well as where some focus might facilitate increased patient engagement.

Key findings of the report include:
-Both patients and providers are eager for more engagement and patients are slowly becoming more engaged. Two reasons for this engagement growth are patient provider communication and the ability of patients to interact with their health records.

-Providers are increasing their efforts to grow their patient engagement because it helps with overall patient care. Also, growth is due to recent technological advances and also because providers are focusing on it due to their meaningful use requirements.

-Both patients and providers view the access to information as a hindrance but see that new technologies will help to move forward. 74 percent of patients say greater access to healthcare information would help them take a more active role in their healthcare and 60 percent of providers feel that providing patients with greater online access to their personal healthcare information would improve their quality of care.

-Providers are working to grow engagement through new patient offerings. They are working on a way to make personal healthcare records easier to access so patients can track their own care (medicines and treatments and test results) and the costs associated with their care.

My next topic will be on how Electronic health records (EHRs) can also improve patient outcomes.