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.