Health Experiences
Peter Heywood wrote this on March 06, 2014 / no comments

Have you ever been to HIMSS? Were you there this year?

I have been in the past, but not this year, and maybe (partly so I could observe first hand the tremendous commoditization of messages) I should have gone. One fellow I know whose company genuinely does offer engagement and population solutions said that it seemed everyone was slapping some sort of population health and patient engagement message on their offerings, no matter how tenuous the connection.

big-dataIt’s easy to take potshots at some vendors’ search for relevance in a changing market, but the shift to data and technology driven care is only gathering momentum, and there are in reality far more enabling technologies targeting population health than just two years ago. Although what they’re really enabling is the creation of data. Lots of it.

In the context of “the Internet of things” and Big Data the amount of data produced by healthcare is still small. IBM, for instance, reckons that overall 2.5 billion gigabytes of data were generated every day in 2012, and that’s two years ago. But this is only relative – between the information generated by clinical records, revenue cycle management, remote health and fitness monitors, e-prescribing and more, there is still a vast amount of data being generated in the sector, by institutions, providers and consumers themselves.

But in a time when we are moving to true patient-centered care (aka care that the patient has some control over), who is all this data really for?

There was an interesting post on health literacy on the MedCity News site on March 4th It asked, “Once we get our data, will we [the consumer] know what to do with it?” Its conclusion, at least today, was no. In fact, it suggested that the flood of data and information is further distancing the patient from his or her care because it’s so hard to access.

Yet I believe bright types, especially those with no vested interest in keeping the information experience complex, will find ways to present the data and associated insights in helpful, accessible ways, because the consumer market will demand it.

Human centered information and user experience design will play an important part in driving success for these new products and services, but equally important will be the necessary shift in provider attitudes towards patient engagement and empowerment.

The FDA and 23andMe imbroglio notwithstanding, the old provider attitude that your health information is, well, not actually yours will crack under the strain of consumer expectations. It is astonishing that, in this day and age, many providers still believe they need to protect consumers from their own information, and designing the data and information experience to be accessible will only exacerbate the “problem.”

So it’s really encouraging to read about a pilot project by the Ohio State University Medical Center called MyChart Bedside, developed in conjunction with Epic. (read about it in MobihealthNews OSUMC hands each patient in for, say, a procedure, an iPad that has loaded on to it the patient’s record, contextual information about the pre and post-op periods, medication records and information, patient education information and the ability to communicate with the care team.

Epic-MyChart-Bedside-iPadWith only one (compelling) screen shot accompanying the copy, I can only guess that the entire information experience is equally powerful. I have also assumed that the information is rich, evidence-based and meaningful for the patient, not so stripped down as to be pointless. But however the entire execution has actually been handled, the intent is spot on, and you have to commend OSUMC for using information and process design to truly involve the patient in his or her care and care team.

Not surprisingly, patient reaction has been incredibly positive, and the article notes that OSUMC will be rolling the app out more broadly shortly. Be interesting to see what metrics the hospital has established and how the program affects these, but it doesn’t take measurement to understand why patients would be keen.

Big Data and its associated analytics are valuable to health strategy and policy specialists, no question, and better ways to experience the information in ways appropriate to their needs still have to be designed. But there also needs to be a huge push to increase health literacy and involvement for consumers themselves. The experience of information as conceived by OSUMC is an encouraging sign that the healthcare establishment is starting to get just that.



Peter Heywood wrote this on March 06, 2014 / no comments

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