This is the first in a series of five posts.
Increasingly, healthcare software vendors are developing electronic Personal Health Records (PHRs), Patient Portals, and mobile self-care software. These systems aim to improve the quality and portability of patient information and give patients more control over their own care and well-being. Many healthcare organizations, however, are struggling to institute these systems in a way that satisfies the needs of both patients and physicians.
Google Health is a well-known example of a PHR that did not live up to initial expectations, but it is not alone. Across North America, patient software, whether developed by a healthcare organization or a third-party software vendor, is suffering from low adoption. In fact, only 7% of respondents in a recent survey had ever used a Personal Health Record.
Critics cite a number of factors for the overall lack of patient software success to date:
• Existing patient software is not user-friendly or engaging enough to encourage repeat usage.
• Patients are unable or simply not “ready” to interact with self-care software
• Patients are concerned about the privacy and security of their information
• Physicians are concerned about the added responsibilities and legal implications of interacting with a patient portal
While these are all valid criticisms, at Macadamian we believe that there is more to the story. Our work with both healthcare providers and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) / Electronic Health Record (EHR) software vendors has given us unique insight into the real-world obstacles encountered by both patients and clinicians using patient software. Ultimately, the biggest patient software challenge is to include the right feature set that will encourage patients to use the application regularly and, ultimately, convince reticent healthcare institutions to engage in the patient software process.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll provide our top recommendations for software executives and healthcare institutions looking to increase the adoption of patient-facing software and realize its full benefits.
About the Author
Didier Thizy has been a software professional for 13 years, holding a variety of positions in Software R&D and Product Management.
At Macadamian, Didier is Macadamian's VP Consulting, responsible for a cross-functional unit of design and development consultants specializing in healthcare software. His focus areas include healthcare software, usability of complex systems, and modern mobile and web technologies.
Didier is an active member of HIMSS, the Toronto Product Management Association, Silicon Valley Product Management Association, and the Ottawa OCRI association for technology.
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