#Engage4Health: Looking for the Invisible at HIMSS17

By Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Chief Healthcare & Innovation Officer, Femwell Group Health

As a physician who bridges health and tech, I always look forward to HIMSS and participating in the conversations and decisions that are revolutionizing the healthcare industry.

A recent captivating #Engage4Health Twitter chat conversation which is sure to continue at the conference this year, focused on effective patient engagement.

My profession gives me a unique perspective on health tech but equally important is my personal consumer view of healthcare as the Dr. Mom of my household. Moms across the world take care of children, spouses and aging parents or other extended family members. It’s no small task. So when we talk about patient engagement the most important patient to engage with across the board is actually Dr. Mom. If we can make her life easier, health tech will achieve much success. The Harvard Business Review conducted a survey in 2015 that found, fifty-nine percent of women are making health care decisions for others.

The retail experience is built to engage moms. Any number of websites can help compare products and vet consumer reviews. Wholesale retailing sites, will even suggest items to purchase based on shopping habits and also market relevant items at the point of sale.

Today’s consumer is not only more engaged but more empowered. She can feel good and well-informed about the choices she’s made and vetted for her family when it comes to shopping in the retail space.

This is markedly different from what a consumer experiences in healthcare today. The lack of healthcare literacy combined with limited access to care and medical records along with little transparency about costs leaves the consumer of healthcare feeling anything but empowered, let alone engaged.

The evolution of banking via mobile devices is a perfect model for consumer-centered healthcare. Depositing money, transferring money between accounts, checking on overall financial status and scheduling an in-person appointment with an agent can all be done from a smart phone or mobile device.

It’s becoming a rarity to have to actually go into a bank these days. ATMs and drive thru banking eliminate the need to visit a bank during restrictive hours.

Both of these consumer experiences really work for Dr. Mom. They are easily integrated into on-the-go lifestyles. When I think of these experiences and what they have in common – they’re very simple. These industries meet me where I am as a consumer; delivering information to me when I need it without my having to seek it out. By automatically sending me relevant emails or push notifications (all with my consent) I am kept up-to-date in real-time.

My vision for patient engagement stems from these experiences as a mom. I look for healthcare to have similar retail and banking tools- not different or fragmented solutions. The best solutions should be invisible and elegant just as they are in every other industry.

Retail and banking went through these revolutions many moons ago and they are better for it and so is the consumer. The questions we asked in our Feb.9 #Engage4Health Twitter chat were centered on this concept and our progress as an industry.

I don’t believe that EHRs are the answer.

Ninety-six percent of hospitals and doctors are using an EHR and this is significant progress from where we were as an industry five years ago at HIMSS, but we cannot look to solutions built for physicians and clinicians to engage the consumer of healthcare. Consumers require a tool dedicated to them with an ease of use that promotes engagement.

At HIMSS17, I’ll be looking for solutions that affect actual outcomes, with actual use cases, and not from the EHR companies. I’ll be looking more at mobile technologies, text, CRM platforms, telemedicine and RPM solutions that are closing the gap to connect with patients anywhere, anytime. These solutions should be invisible and show real progress: because of a point of care intervention an ER visit was averted or because of an outreach intervention a HEDIS measure was actually achieved. We have been talking for some time in the industry; yes, even at the last HIMSS, about such patient engagement programs/tools. Now it’s time to see change.

Be a part of the change at HIMSS17.


The intense focus on effective patient engagement was put on display with the Feb. 9 #Engage4Health Twitter chat – with more than 2,000 tweets on the topic that day according to Symplur. A sampling of the tweets can be seen below:


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