From massive medical centers in the heart of major urban areas to small hospitals in rural areas well off the Interstate Highway System, there exists, in one form or another, a patient engagement initiative. Reflective of that are the 1,100 job openings that returned when I typed in “patient engagement” in the Jobs search box on LinkedIn.
Finding ways to engage with patients makes all kinds of sense in this day of high deductible health plans. More of the healthcare dollar must now come from what is increasingly someone referred to as a healthcare consumer. And that consumer is involved in healthcare in more ways than financial responsibility.
Since 1990, average life expectancy in the United States has increased from 71.8 to 76.4 years for men, and 77.8 to 81.2 years for women. During that same period, the uninsured rate has dropped from 13.9 percent to 9.1 percent. And the number of physician visits is increasing at a rate faster than this country’s population growth.