The health care information industry in the USA is increasingly focused on a patient-centric transformation — one that uses technology to empower patients with their own health information, turning them from passive recipients to active participants in their treatment and care.
The first entrant into this market was the Personal Health Record. This was touted by associations, insurance companies, and some large providers as the one instrument that could save billions in US health care spending. Implementation approaches ranged from the ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ model, to the conscription model, where patients/consumers were pushed to use the services provided through their primary care physician managing a chronic disease process for the patient. In other instances the pressure may have come through a health and wellness-tracking program provided by their employer or health insurance company. Interestingly enough, this had little impact on adoption rates, which continued to hover around 7-9% in late 2011, according to the IDC (Lewis, 2011).
The next step the market brought to the patient-centricity effort was to mobilize the Personal Health Record and add all sorts of health care applications to an eco system where patients/ consumers could manage not only their health information but also their chronic diseases, wellness, or their family’s health — all from their mobile devices. The challenges in the beginning were the myriad mobile devices in the market place, and whether to cater to just the browser-based health application market place or build and support multiple versions of the applications to support a majority of handsets and multiple operating systems (CTIA, 2010). The numbers of adult patients and consumers managing their health on their mobile device has been estimated at around 9% of the 85% of adults with mobile phones (Tunheim, 2011).
Both the Personal Health Record and the health care apps point to the same problem – great in principle, but no real adoption or solution cohesiveness. What are the issues preventing the large scale adoption of these technologies?
Do you have any ideas on how to increase patient adoption of these technologies? Do write in with your thoughts – we’d love to hear from you!