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Patient Engagement Is A Physician-Patient Communication Challenge…Not A Health Information Technology Challenge

Physicians, hospitals and other providers are being misled by  industry pundits claiming that more health information technology (as in EMRs, PHRs, Smart Phone apps, and web portals) is the key to greater patient engagement.   It’s not.


If health information technology were all that was needed to “engage” patients then patient and member adoption rates of provider and payer web portals offering Personal Health Records (PHRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) would not still be hovering around a disappointing 7% (with several notable exceptions Kaiser, Group Health and the VA).*


Part of the misunderstanding concerning the role of HIT comes from how the discussion about about patient engagement is being framed. According to the pundits, patient engagement is the physician or hospital’s responsibility… and like everything else these days…we can fix it if we just throw more technology at the problem. Can anyone say Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements?

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