Information technology to support patient engagement: where do we stand and where can we go?

Walker DM, Sieck CJ, Menser T, Huerta TR, Scheck McAlearney A
J Am Med Inform Assoc 24 1088-1094 11/01/2017

Abstract

Objective: Given the strong push to empower patients and make them partners in their health care, we evaluated the current capability of hospitals to offer health information technology that facilitates patient engagement (PE).

Materials and Methods: Using an ontology mapping approach, items from the American Hospital Association Information Technology Supplement were mapped to defined levels and categories within the PE Framework. Points were assigned for each health information technology function based upon the level of engagement it encompassed to create a PE-information technology (PE-IT) score. Scores were divided into tertiles, and hospital characteristics were compared across tertiles. An ordered logit model was used to estimate the effect of characteristics on the adjusted odds of being in the highest tertile of PE-IT scores.

Results: Thirty-six functions were mapped to specific levels and categories of the PE Framework, and adoption of each item ranged from 23.5 to 96.7%. Hospital characteristics associated with being in the highest tertile of PE-IT scores included medium and large bed size (relative to small), nonprofit (relative to government nonfederal), teaching hospital, system member, Midwest and South regions, and urban location.

Discussion: Hospital adoption of PE-oriented technology remains varied, suggesting that hospitals are considering how technology can create partnerships with patients. However, PE functionalities that facilitate higher levels of engagement are lacking, suggesting room for improvement.

Conclusion: While hospitals have reached modest levels of adoption of PE technologies, consistent monitoring of this capacity can identify opportunities to use technology to facilitate engagement.

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