National eHealth Collaborative Surveys HIE Learning Network on Consumer Engagement Strategies

Consumer Engagement is a Priority, Progress is Being Made, Challenges Remain

Washington, DC (July 24, 2012)National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) today widely released the results of its recent Consumer Engagement with Health Information Technology (IT) Survey.  The Survey was distributed to the 450 members of NeHC’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) Learning Network in advance of NeHC’s Consumer Consortium on eHealth Engagement Summit on July 16, 2012, during which highlights of the results were shared.  The survey was designed to build an understanding of consumer engagement strategies currently underway and planned for the future.  The NeHC survey inquired about how organizations define consumer engagement, how they are using health IT to engage consumers and what challenges have been encountered.  With a 21% response rate, the results of NeHC’s survey reveal interesting and encouraging findings.

“Effectively leveraging health IT to engage with patients and consumers will lead to better healthcare outcomes,” said NeHC CEO Kate Berry.  “Our survey shows that a majority of organizations believe in the strategic importance of consumer engagement yet their strategies are understandably nascent.  NeHC’s Consumer Consortium on eHealth and HIE Learning Network can serve as forums for sharing consumer engagement lessons learned to help accelerate progress.”

NeHC’s survey showed that 53% of respondents ranked consumer engagement as high or very high in their organization’s priorities; only 3% ranked consumer engagement as very low in priority.  Yet 33% indicate that their strategies for consumer engagement with health IT are not clearly defined at all and 59% say their strategies for consumer engagement are beginning to evolve toward clarity.  Only 8% consider their strategies to be very clearly defined.

Respondents identified their primary goals for consumer engagement with health IT as follows:

·         Improve health outcomes – 68%

·         Deliver information to patients – 66%

·         Enable consumers to take more responsibility for their health – 59%

·         Reduce healthcare costs – 59%

·         Improve consumers’ experience in interacting with our organization – 57%

According to NeHC’s survey, there are many definitions for consumer engagement with health IT.  Based on a list of options, a majority of respondents indicated that their definition included:

·         Patient uses electronic educational material or online resources to learn about better health or their own health conditions – 74%

·         Patient refills prescriptions or accesses lab results or other personal health data online – 72%

·         Patient engages with provider through electronic means (e.g. telemedicine) – 71%

·         Patient understands how their health records are stored securely, how they will be used and shared – 69%

·         Patient enables friend or family member to review medical records electronically when appropriate – 64%

·         Patient manages own health through the use of electronic home monitoring devices, health-related smart phone apps or online tools – 63%

·         Patient uses IT tools and resources to manage his or her medical record – 62%

·         Patient downloads his or her medical record and other health data to a personal health record or to a personal electronic storage device – 62%

·         Provider emails or texts reminders to patients – 60%

·         Patient makes medical appointments online – 60%

·         Patient emails provider with questions – 58%

Respondents to the NeHC consumer engagement with health IT survey indicate they are using the following approaches:

·         Deliver information electronically to patients – 53%

·         Offer patient portal – 47%

·         Provide marketing or educational materials electronically – 43%

·         Offer personal health record – 31%

·         Offer remote monitoring to enable patient information to be transmitted to provider via electronic network – 21%

·         Include patients on Board of Directors and in other leadership roles – 16%

A panel discussion during the July 16 Consumer Consortium on eHealth Engagement Summit discussed these and other approaches in detail.

The NeHC survey uncovered additional information on how organizations plan to measure the success of their strategies for consumer engagement with health IT as well as the challenges they are facing.  The complete survey results can be found at

NeHC’s role as health IT thought leader and convener of both the Consumer Consortium on eHealth and the HIE Learning Network provides a unique opportunity for all interested stakeholders to collaboratively explore how health IT and HIE  can help better inform patients and motivate them to become more engaged in their health and healthcare.  NeHC will bring together its Consumer Consortium on eHealth and HIE Learning Network as well as others who are interested for a roundtable discussion in the coming weeks to probe more deeply into these issues and their potential implications.

About National eHealth Collaborative

National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC) is a public-private partnership focused on accelerating progress toward widespread, secure and interoperable nationwide health information exchange to improve health and healthcare. NeHC’s neutrality and diverse multi-stakeholder participation provides a unique platform for collaboration. NeHC educates, connects, and encourages healthcare stakeholders to advance health information technology and health information exchange nationwide through its NeHC University web-based education program, its Consumer Consortium on eHealth, and its HIE Learning Network.

National eHealth Collaborative is a cooperative agreement partner of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.