Book Review: Engage! Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement

As a member of the HIMSS eConnecting with Consumers Committee that sponsored the book, Engage! Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement I knew in advance how good it was going to be. My colleagues, the editors (Jan Oldenburg, Dave Chase, Kate Christensen, and Brad Tritle), have that valuable rare mix of profound knowledge, humility, and practicality. The expert, the novice, the lay person, and the clinician will find value here. It’s up-to-date, timely, spiced with foundational material that will be relevant well into the future. I learned something new in each section, but found the case studies most enlightening.

Each chapter ends with Why is patient engagement….good for patients; good for providers; and good for the system overall? The answers cover the spectrum from communication, to preventing mishaps, to meeting health goals, to understanding, to increasing loyalty, to reducing cost, etc. 
The section on Design in Patient Engagement by Aaron Sklar and David Fetherstonhaugh, intrigued me with its approach of discovery, empathy, opportunity, navigation, reinforcement, evolution with applications for technology and personal behavior. The chapter on Getting Started, by Jan Oldenburg and Brad Tritle, was thorough from the provider and health system perspective. I was a tad disappointed that there wasn’t a matrix for the consumer. Patient-Provider Communication by Dave Chase exceeded its title talking about the need for a healthcare GPS, describing low cost primary care of the future , and aligning financial incentives.
The 23 short case studies provide practical applications. Especially interesting are the ones describing change in physician practice with more engaged patient-provider relationships and the use of digital tools to enhance management of diabetes, weight loss, depression, and cardiac challenges. I highly recommend this book.
Danny

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