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6 Steps to Creating a Connected Health Program

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, October 26, 2011

One of the biggest operational challenges is physicians who are reluctant to turn patients over to the IT department or an outside vendor. Doctors want to protect their relationships with their patients. Be prepared to offer above-average support to both physicians and their patients. Help desk staff should be well-educated, highly compassionate, and well-paid, Havasy says.  

4. Build adoption and engagement

Lane notes that organizations need two people, in particular, to overcome resistance and ensure success of a connected health program. The first is an executive champion—the highest-level person who can override "no" and authorize resources, money, and time as well as approve the pilot. The second, and equally important, person is an administrative champion, the "feet-on-the-street and make-it-happen" person. He or she will make sure the program has the right staff and technology and ensure successful project management.  

In a connected health model, there are lots of end-users, including patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses, and social workers, says Alex Pelletier, PCCH's corporate team leader. Each of these groups has different needs and will require different adoption and engagement strategies.

The newness of connected health can make it tricky for end-users, especially patients. In a typical connected health program, 60% of patients might engage—sending in their reading daily, for example. So how do you reach the other 40%. "I don't think we have all the answers to all of this," Pelletier says.

Nudges and incentives can help improve patient engagement. Those might include automated reminders, such as text messages or emails and reminders and outreach from family members and providers. But none of these tactics will work all of the time for every patient, Pelletier says.

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1 comments on "6 Steps to Creating a Connected Health Program"


Dave Howard (10/27/2011 at 2:57 PM)
Some great points here. Especially how to engage patients in the program. Sounds like social media like Facebook and Twitter could be a catalyst to engaging the patient ecosystem. Of course, social media is not the channel through which patients would share results but cloud-based web services applications (like XIFIN iNet) enable instantaneous intelligence sharing at all points in the continuum of care. Disparate systems like ordering, LIS, HIS, billing and A/P can all be connected via the web, which is where the patients already reside. Now is the time for the health ecosystem to take FULL advantage of information and knowledge sharing via the web. Some of us are old enough to remember our fear of the fax machine. Why now are we so afraid to let it go?