Patient Engagement Solutions: Cleveland Clinic On Not Being Dumb With Smartphone Apps

patient engagement solutionsWhat can you do to improve patient engagement solutions?  As part of its series of “Pop Health” forums, HIMMS last week invited Cleveland Clinic Chief Experience Officer Adrienne Boissy, MD, to speak.   She shared Cleveland Clinic’s insights on how to improve patient engagement.  Her key message:  more apps are not the answer.

Dr. Boissy was clear that an integrated digital health platform is important. And apps are a vital part of that experience.  But, just adding more apps is not the answer. This is particularly true when multiple apps fragment the patient experience.

Dr. Boissy noted that Cleveland Clinic currently has 22 apps available.  Many of these have not seen improvements since they were first released.  And, what the apps provide is not necessarily aligned to what research has shown patients are most interested in.  In the case of Cleveland Clinic — the primary concern is avoiding delays.

Dr. Boissy noted that most patients are not interested in complex features.  Rather, they want to know who is on their care team and what’s next for their care plan. “It’s kind of ironic that these physicians would decide what’s best for you to keep you engaged,” Boissy noted in an article from MobiHealthNews.  She noted that understanding the patient experience is not a quick and easy thing to do.  It takes time.


Pharmica’s Take – Patient Engagement Solutions

In a 2014 study conducted by Xerox among 1,250 participants, the survey concluded that 64% of patients did not use patient portals.  I know myself, I have to go to 4 patient portals.  This is between my physician network, Lab services provider, Insurance company and hospital network (and I’ve only been to the doctor a half dozen times in the past 5 years).  This is another example of thinking about the complex fragmentation of healthcare from the provider’s perspective rather than the patient’s.

According to Dr. Boissy, that Cleveland Clinical is still committing this error.  It has separate apps for scheduling, check-in kiosk, and discharge.  There are several things needed to deliver on the promise of digital health and to improve patient outcomes.  Health care providers and app developers should understand the needs and pains of patients, and how an integrated experience can lead to better healthcare.  To do this they are going to need real contextual inquiry and end user research with patients.