Is information technology making a difference in engaging patients?
Research article describes a theory-based model for evaluating the effectiveness of health information technology for engaging patients.
Engaging patients in their healthcare is widely viewed as critical to the success of patient-centered models of care. Personal health information technology (HIT) serves an essential role in patient engagement, providing the infrastructure for connecting patients with their care team. As healthcare leaders make strategic decisions involving HIT to support patient-centered care initiatives, they must do so without having a clear definition of patient engagement or universally accepted measures to evaluate the effectiveness of applications in engaging patients.
A review of the literature reveals a broad spectrum of approaches for using HIT to engage patients. Various health outcomes measures are employed as indicators of patient engagement. The variations in what constitutes patient engagement and diversity of measurement methods illuminate the need for a framework to guide the scope and effectiveness of HIT-based interventions for engaging patients. A Health IT for patient engagement effectiveness (HIT-PE2) model is proposed – drawn from theories of patient engagement and research exploring the role of HIT in fostering patient-provider collaboration and patient self-management. The empirically-based model features three dimensions: (a) system use (b) patient experience, and (c) patient activation. These dimensions interact symbiotically to influence patient engagement.
The HIT-PE2 model can be used by health care organizations to inform their personal HIT strategies and to evaluate the effectiveness of patient engagement applications. The model expands the horizon for measuring patient engagement and helps move the health care community closer to a universal paradigm for patient engagement and measurement of this important construct.
Keywords: Health IT, personal health IT, patient portal, personal health record, patient engagement, patient activation, patient experience, HIT effectiveness, HIT measures
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