It’s All About the Patient

Listening to a patient

The HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition doesn’t end when the convention center doors close. Attendees leave with knowledge from educational sessions, speakers and networking that can be applied to the real world, creating an ongoing, year-round experience. HIMSS asked attendees to share the personal and professional successes that stemmed from attending conference – from challenges faced to changes made. Read on to learn about the value of attending HIMSS19 from the unique perspective of our members and partners.

Over the past several years, coinciding with the increasing capabilities of personal technology, there has been a shift in the healthcare dialog. Although, when you think about it, the responsibility for health has always been the responsibility of each person, only recently have phrases such as “patient engagement,” “patient activation,” and the like shown up. The use of the terminology itself is driving some of the change.

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Nothing New but Still Complicated

Of course, those of us who are nurses have always known this. Patient education has been a primary nursing function since Florence Nightingale, with the goal of such education being change in patient behavior. However, with the new focus and buzzwords, there seems to be increasing interest to provide tools to assist the patient in managing their health.

But too many of the tools are still provider-centric. By this I mean the tool asks for information that a healthcare provider thinks s/he needs. This makes some sense for known problems (a diabetic patient, or one with congestive heart failure). The problem arises when it doesn’t give the patient a chance to talk about what is important to them, or perhaps new/undiagnosed problems. Due to the targeted nature, the apps may also inadvertently keep the client from providing the one data point that solves the case.

Watch Geeta Nayyar, chief healthcare and innovation officer at Femwell Group Health talk about ways to manage and engage patients to “meet them where they’re at” on HIMSS TV.

There Is Hope

Steve Jobs is noted for saying “People don’t know what they want until we show it to them.” At the last few years during the HIMSS Global Conference & Exhibition, I have seen presentations that indicate some folks are getting it. I think everyone who works in healthcare IT should watch the presentation by Kristina and Kate Sheridan. This mother/daughter pair present their personal story and the importance of presenting the patient story in proper diagnosis and treatment. Their presentation “shows it to you.”

Beyond Patient Engagement

When you get right down to it, you don’t want the patient engaged. You want them running the show, calling in the experts when needed, but having the information and tools they need to provide for their own best care.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.


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February 11-15, 2019 | Orlando, Florida
Join forces with 45,000+ champions of health from 90+ countries at HIMSS19. Collaborate with other health information and technology superheroes, explore the latest disruptive innovations, and discover the resources and solutions that are right for your organization. Learn more | Register

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