Macadamian Blog

Understanding Patient Engagement

Macadamian Technologies

Guest blogger, Elizabeth Bacon, shares her thoughts on Understanding Patient Engagement.

Patient Engagement

As a user experience designer and entrepreneur, I’ve been addressing issues around fostering patient engagement for the past couple of years. So I was delighted when Lorraine Chapman, Director Healthcare User Experience, Macadamian invited me to present on the subject of “Understanding Patient Engagement” to the HIMSS Usability Task Force.

So often, the production of health information technology can leave the human element and context of use behind. However, we can only generate progress towards the crucial goal of patient engagement for health if we focus on people. People are emotional and individuals are networked, whereas today’s healthcare systems are stuck on transaction-based models that don’t meet people where they are, much less anticipate their future needs.

In my presentation, I propose that the new interaction model for healthcare to transcend “sick care” is a blended model that sustains engagement by truly understanding the individual. We have to research people’s behavior, motivations and goals and use these to craft desirable experiences that enhance their everyday quality of life.

As I was preparing for my presentation, a member of HIMSS, who had read my whitepaper “Interaction Design for Medical Systems”, got in touch to say thanks for an analogy on house architecting. She said the analogy will help her and her teams to follow the proper process when moving from requirements definition to detailed design and testing. We have to always remember to keep iterating!

Following my HIMSS Usability presentation, I heard from a few of the attendees, one of whom is working on solutions to help educate patients about chronic disease states while also incorporating the healthcare provider in that experience; he appreciated the tips about using persona models.

Overall, each of us has to identify the set of best practices that work for our particular health information technology problem as well as meeting stakeholder and user needs. No matter your environment, though, our work needs to begin with clearly understanding the specific human qualities of the people we aim to serve. Then ride the motivation wave, and rather than presuming you can dictate behavior, help facilitate people reaching their own health goals.

Download the Presentation Slides

Elizabeth Bacon

Elizabeth Bacon

Elizabeth began her career in user experience design and research at Cooper. She went on to become a founding member of the Human Factors Design Engineering team at St. Jude Medical, designing software systems which manage implantable cardiac rhythm management devices. After St. Jude Medical, she launched her own digital product design consultancy, Devise Consulting. In 2012, Liz moved into Product Management at Providence Health and Services, and founded Find Wellness.  Liz is also a Director Emeritus of the Interaction Design Association. When she’s not carrying the torch for design thinking to change the world, she might well be found indulging her passion for high-performance driving.

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Macadamian Technologies

Macadamian is a full-service software design and development firm. Working with today's leading technology companies, Macadamian creates inspiring software that enriches lives through meaningful and compelling user experiences for mobile, web and desktop applications. Driven by user-centered insights, strategy and design, Macadamian delivers transformational products across multiple sectors including the healthcare, telecommunications, mobility, enterprise, and consumer markets. Whether collaborating on an end-to-end project or filling specific gaps, partnering with Macadamian’s inventors gives you immediate access to software engineering services, design services, and broad domain expertise in mobility, VoIP, SaaS, web and desktop applications, HTML5, iOS, Android and more.
  • Peter Hamilton


    just read your article thank you. maybe u could answer this question. i have a need for many appt schedulers on many websites….i am being told by a developer that if a medical cleint has a site at say and someone makes an appointment that the URL must have an SSL certificate in order to be hipaa compliant. or it must move to a different site that has an SSL certificate and make theappt from there…can you clarify?