We recently took part in a panel hosted by Ernst & Young where innovation in patient engagement was a main topic of conversation. Part of that conversation had to do with defining what patient engagement is. As a starting point, the definition by Center for Advancing Health was offered:
“Actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them. This definition focuses on behaviors of individuals relative to their health care that are critical and proximal to health outcomes, rather than the actions of professionals or policies of institutions. Engagement is not synonymous with compliance. Compliance means an individual obeys a directive from a health care provider. Engagement signifies that a person is involved in a process through which he or she harmonizes robust information and professional advice with his or her own needs, preferences and abilities in order to prevent, manage and cure disease.”
We were then asked our opinions of this definition and how we might modify it. Here’s our take:
There doesn’t need to be just one definition of patient engagement (nor will we ever have consensus around one definition), but, when discussed, it should widely encompass many different factors.
From our innovator standpoint, when we think of patient engagement we should simply be able to prove, without hesitation, that our products produce results and improve care.
Patient engagement is:
• The conversation a patient has with a family member or friend about their health
• When a patient looks up information online
• When a patient considers how to live a healthy lifestyle
• Considering seeing a healthcare professional
• Seeing a health professional
• Communicating about concerns, questions, and interests about health with those closest to you – professional or personal
• Interacting with technology to more greatly understand conditions or procedures
In the simplest sense, we should remove “patient” and just understand that engagement is whatever it takes – to:
• Improve understanding.
• Improve communication.
• Improve delivery.
• Improve consumption, retention, and compliance.
To improve health.
What is your definition?