Here are 6 people who will teach you something new about patient engagement

patient engagement experts

patient engagement conference MedCity ENGAGEIn the new world of healthcare, it’s new voices that can be the most helpful. The medical industry is lucky to be filled with thought leaders who are regularly offering their ideas to the industry. But without new thinking and new points of view, healthcare – facing big challenges in areas like patient engagement and healthcare delivery – is sunk.

Here are six people you need to hear more from. Each one joins the chorus of unique thinkers taking part in MedCity ENGAGE,’s summit on patient engagement and healthcare delivery June 5-6 in Washington, D.C. They have been building accountable care organizations from the ground up, working shoulder-to-shoulder with patients navigating the healthcare system, pushing doctors and other stakeholders to think differently and, in one instance, is a patient herself.

Without new approaches nothing will change for the better in healthcare. So read about these six people and consider: why haven’t you heard more from them?


1. Dr. Ivor B. Horn, associate professor of pediatrics, Children’s National Medical Center

Horn has spent time researching healthcare communication and child health disparities, while examining how social media and mobile health can be used to help young patients. She’s become a regular on social media, sharing insights from @drivorhorn, while championing underserved patients’ place in the engagement discussion.

“I love my practice and I love my research, but I’ve come to realize that all the things I’ve learned through my research has been going into a medical journal that will never be read by the families I’m trying to help,”she once wrote in her regular column on “Yes, it’s improved my resume, but it hasn’t done squat for the families I serve. I could use the information with the few families that I see in practice, but what about all those other folks? I wondered, how could I share that information beyond the exam room?”

2. Bob Finuf, vice president and PCN Executive Director, Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics

Finuf resists the ACO-approach for his health system. Instead, at Children’s Mercy, it’s an integrated pediatric network, an important difference in approach that avoids requirements around enrolling adult patients. Plus, Children’s Mercy has created what it called a “financials first” model.” It focused more on issues such as risk sharing over developing a model for managing care.

“We are developing the care delivery model, shifting away from admits and days to community-based population health, primary care medical homes and wellness,” Finuf said in a case study.

3. Dr. Adrienne Boissy, medical director, Cleveland Clinic Center for Excellence in Healthcare Communication

Boissy spends her time on the front lines equipping doctors with skills to better treat patients. She leads a team at Cleveland Clinic that has leveraged data and other research to create a program to strengthen physician and provider communication skills throughout the health system. She also serves as the experience officer for Cleveland Clinic’s Neurological Institute, where she leads a Neurological Institute Patient Advisory Council and develops programs aimed at improving the experiences of patients, employees and staff.

4. Sarah E. Kucharski, CEO, chairman and founder, FMD CHAT

Kucharski started blogging soon after she was diagnosed with intimal fibromuscular dysplasia. She has expanded those efforts into FMD Chat, which helps patients, families and healthcare providers involved with fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) understand what it means to be a patient with FMD.

“How can patients be expected to participate in their own healthcare, to engage in improving the healthcare system as a whole, if the majority of the medical establishment continues to shut patients out of the dialogue?” Kucharski said. “To my fellow patients I say, ‘They are talking about us, but they are not talking with us.’

“An included patient is a compliant patient,” she added. “And including patients – the constituency providers serve – thereby engages providers to put caring back into healthcare and work in collaboration to achieve better outcomes.”

5. Roys Laux, general manager, health vertical, Angie’s List

Laux is charged with expanding the health offerings at Angie’s List, which gives customers power over prices and, through feedback, transparency in industries ranging from plumbers to painters to physicians. Before Angie’s List, Laux worked at both Indiana University Health and Eli Lilly.

“Health systems and individual physicians who embrace unstructured feedback in multiple channels and effectively engage patients on their terms will be best positioned to succeed,” she said. “Furthermore, most studies show that the level of trust between doctor and patient plays a big role in recovery and overall health. Think of it as preventative care. Staying engaged in the conversation will make it much easier to fix whatever ailments come your way.”

6. Lanie Abbott, senior communication and outreach specialist, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems

“As the communication and outreach specialist for the EMHS accountable care effort, I spend a great deal of time listening,” said Abbott, who focuses on improving the communication skills at Eastern Maine Health Systems, which in 2010 was one of 17 federal Beacon communities and, last year, became one of 32 federal Pioneer accountable care organizations.

Abbott also helps with a section of EMHS’ site that highlights patient success stories and other viewpoints on how new approaches to healthcare are working.

“We know change can be difficult,” Abbott said. “However, by sharing these personal stories, EMHS is successfully reinforcing that our patients are in good hands. Providers, staff, patients, and our communities see change, in this case, as a good thing when they see how it’s improving the life of someone they know or someone who lives in their community. ”

These are just six of more than 50 empowering and insightful speakers taking part in MedCity ENGAGE,’s summit on innovations in patient engagement and healthcare delivery on June 5-6 in Washington, D.C. Review the agenda, look at all the speakers and then join us in Washington D.C. in June.

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