Perspective Tackles Patient Engagement in Health Technology

Health informatics application developers should better align IT products with patients’ daily social interactions and activities to boost engagement in self-care technology, according to a Perspective published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, FierceHealthIT reports (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 8/18).

Details of Perspective

The Perspective was written by:

  • Rupa Valdez of the University of Virginia;
  • Richard Holden of Vanderbilt University;
  • Laurie Novak of Vanderbilt University; and
  • Tiffany Veinot of the University of Michigan (Valdez et al., JAMIA, 8/14).

In the Perspective, the authors referred to the effort that patients and family members make for health care maintenance as “patient work,” which can include both physical and mental tasks ( FierceHealthIT, 8/18).

They noted that a “patient work approach to [consumer health informatics] draws on medical social science and human factors engineering models and simultaneously attends to patients, their family members, activities and context” (JAMIA, 8/14).

In order to better align technology with patient work and patient desires, the authors identified five key components technology developers should consider, including:

  • The individuals involved;
  • The physical environment;
  • The social-organizational environment;
  • The tasks to be completed; and
  • The tools that will be used.

The authors noted that if health technology used by patients adequately addresses those components, there is an increased likelihood that patients will perform a task correctly and use IT tools to self-manage their health (FierceHealthIT, 8/18).

According to the Perspective, future research is necessary to improve:

  • Techniques for incorporating knowledge and understanding of patient work into the design of consumer health applications;
  • Theories of patient work; and
  • Ways to analyze patient work.

The authors concluded, “Advancing a patient work approach within [consumer health informatics] is integral to developing and deploying consumer-facing technologies that are integrated with patients’ everyday lives” (JAMIA, 8/14).

Source: iHealthBeat, Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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