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2016 Connected Health Trends: Market-Driven Patient Engagement

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it is for We the Connected Health Geeks of Perficient, anyway. It’s that time of year where we indulge our inner trend-spotters and set them loose upon the world of Connected Health. But…this year we are releasing the trends with a bit of a twist. As we role out the Top 10 Connected Health Trends for 2016 we are not going to provide you with our listing of relative order. Instead, we are going put them all out there in the open (shameless and unnumbered). You can download our new guide, The Definitive Guide to Connected Health 2016: 10 Trends You Need to Know to find out what order the ten trends go in!

With that disclosure out of the way…let’s move on to the first trend! Well, this might not actually be the first trend…could be the fourth…or maybe the eighth. All we can say for certain at this point is that this next trend in market-driven patient engagement will be among the top ten movements in the Connected Health world that you should keep your eye on.

Sending the Ghost of Meaningful Use Past Packing

Our first trend drops us here at the beginning of the end of MU2. Let’s be honest, in the wake of the Ghost of Meaningful Use Past, patient centric healthcare technology has left much to be desired. The reason is simple, as discussed in The Meaningful Use Marketing Fail Keeping VPs up at Night, the #1 decision making criterion for patient portal implementation under MU2 was ease of integration with EHR. We built it, and we waited for them to come. As shown in a study by Witteman et al, that I picked up on Chilmark Research, healthcare technologists oftentimes assume that patients have “unlimited enthusiasm” to engage with their health information. Let’s all take a moment to reflect on that faulty assumption. When we think of those technologies in our lives that we truly have unlimited enthusiasm for, I am guessing we would not find systems integration at the root core of their purpose. Why do these technologies actually engage us? Because they were built from us. They considered all of the patterns that are embedded within our everyday lives, they take our motivations into account, and they were built within an experience that then became habit forming for us. In other words, these technologies worked because they were “market driven”.

With Meaningful Use out of the way, we need to move away from prescriptive checklists and towards market driven concerns that have patient engagement at their core. The two most notable are: 1) bending the cost curve, and 2) improving pay for performance outcomes. In both we can use technology to motivate and incentivize healthcare consumer behaviors to meet market driven goals. Plus, by creating solutions that are market based, we will have technology platforms with higher ROI that are truly habit forming and utilize the technologies that are most appropriate for a particular patient population and the providers that care for them. When these technologies are market driven they will be able to meet consumer expectations, survive new reimbursement methods, and create data streams worthy of mining for additional consumer driven insights.

Design Thinking in Healthcare

At the central core of this trend we find a shift away from the meaningful use checklist and towards design thinking in healthcare. What is design thinking? Design thinking flips traditional technology solution development upside down. In the old era we came up with an idea (e.g., Meaningful Use), and solutions were spun around it. Using the design thinking method, the idea is to first identify the users’ needs and then spin off technology solutions from that point.

Before we start throwing technology at patients, we need to understand how to deliver solutions to those with limited enthusiasm for that engagement. Doing this requires an organization to step back and get strategic for a moment. Perficient clients that were market driven well before their time, Florida Blue and Marshfield Clinic among them, put user research at the very foundation of their solution development. They utilized research efforts that helped them understand what their consumers actually wanted (as opposed to throwing a solution at them that told them what they needed). As a result of strategic solution development like this, engagement improves and, by way of Florida Blue’s example, consumers begin bending the cost curve on their own behalf because they were provided with the technological tools they needed in order to do so.

The Market-Driven Patient Portal

Curious about what a market-driven patient portal looks like? Fancy that, we already have a white paper available on the topic. We invite you to check out 7 Features of a Market- Driven Patient Portal and post any questions or comments below.

Market-Driven Patient Engagement is just one of the trends we explore in our new guide, The Definitive Guide to Connected Health 2016: 10 Trends You Need to Know. Download the guide to see where this trend falls and to discover the other Connected Health trends healthcare executives must be aware of. In the guide we also provide insights to help organizations not only survive – but thrive – in the age of consumer-driven healthcare.

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