Patient engagement is a healthcare buzzword these days but for all the lip service it gets, it’s not easy to quantify. Sure, patients might take their medication, but do they read their care plan? Do they just eyeball the documents or do they spend a significant amount of time reading them?
As a way of making patients more transparent to providers, mobile health company Duet Health developed an app and Web-based tool that shows doctors the level of their patients’ interest and understanding of their condition. The idea is to improve interactions between patients and their physicians. It could help physicians better understand what their patients’ challenges and needs are and potentially change the way they communicate with their patients.
The company claims that its Patient Intelligence Index measures the number of times patients’ view their healthcare protocol, information and exercise videos, the number of health journal entries they make, and how well they do on quizzes.
Jeff Harper, Duet Health CEO, said in a statement that the Patient Intelligence Index would help doctors make better use of the limited time they have with patients. “They wanted to be able to walk into a visit and say, ‘I can see you are not feeling well and the last five journal logs are telling me why.’”
I can see the value in giving medical professionals more tools to understand their patients, but I suspect that patients who are already having a tough time following a care plan won’t be inclined to take a quiz that just beats them over the head with that information. It seems a bit much to expect most patients to have the time after a long work day — and who may also have kids and other commitments — to find the time to make journal entries about their health. For patients who have already demonstrated they’re engaged, it will just provide a way to confirm that.
What would be interesting to see is how this index changes how doctors interact with the patients who fall in the middle and see what if any impact it has.
The app does sound interesting and would be beneficial for some patients. However, I am wondering if the developers took into account that the patient/physician relationships that would truly benefit from the technology are often comprised of patients without smarphone technology; no regular or routine access to a computer or the internet; and may not speak English as their primary language.
@Alfreda Rooks Alfreda, thank you for the response and interest. This is Jeff Harper, my marketing folks alerted me to your response. Your questions are right on target, and I am pleased to report that Duet technology is available in 90 languages, chosen by our health system clients based upon their populations. Additionally, the data around the adoption of technology at ALL demographics are really astounding. For instance, in household with less than $30k / year income, 50% of own a smartphone and of all incomes in the US, women 25-34 make up the majority of smartphone owners, at 78%. This is only for smartphones, the percentages for all internet usage are even higher.
No communication means reaches all people, and certainly we cannot claim to with our technology. That said, our largest growth of interest is from those that support low income families. With the cost of a stamp, envelope, and paper to reach these individuals to be 3-5x higher than technology - and not able to prove its ROI - there is a movement to those communication means that are able to provide data on value.
Thanks again for your interest and my apologies that we did not elaborate on the exciting new opportunities in reaching all patients through technology today.