I'm in Los Angeles at the California Endowment attending the HIMSS Southern California Chapter Annual Healthcare IT Conference today. I was invited to speak on the topic of social media this afternoon, so I'm grateful to be here.
The theme of the conference is around Healthcare Consumerism and the Twitter hashtag is #HITCon13.
The opening keynote was delivered by Kenneth W. Kizer, MD, MPH, Director of the UC Davis Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI). He described some innovative programs like the California Health eQuality (CHeQ) Program, a California HIE program. There are other grant programs supporting HIEs in California, so it seems that other states will be able to learn from these models. You can learn more by visiting the IPHI website.
He also addressed the increasing costs of health care and the unsustainable model that currently exists today. Health care is a complex adaptive system, so change occurs when we pull on key change levers like: financing, performance measurement, health IT, consumerism, and regulations.
How do you define healthcare consumerism? Patient centeredness. Patient empowerment. Patient engagement. Patient autonomy. What exactly do these big terms mean? Including big words in a federal grant request may help you get government funding, but if these terms are not adequately understood by health care professionals, then we won't achieve healthcare consumerism. We can distill all of these terms down to the 5 C's (or 7 C's): Choice (control), convenience, collaboration (connected), comfort, and cost. Patients want to share their health information with family members and they want care coordination to get easier. They want to see efficiencies in the healthcare system. When we achieve this for patients, then we will begin understanding healthcare consumerism.
If we look at other industries, we see major transformations that have been driven by technology and consumerism. For instance, traditional bookstores are hurting because of cloud-based businesses like Amazon.
There are many IT tools that are transforming healthcare, but how effectively are they getting incorporated into patient care today? The HIMSS community has a great opportunity to leverage these tools and platforms to improve population health management and to achieve the 5 C's of health care consumerism.