The Shifting Focus to Patients, Really?

Posted on October 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Everywhere I turn I’m reading articles and tweets that talk about the shift of healthcare towards the patient. All the EHR vendors are touting various patient focused features. Supposedly, a new engaged patient is getting involved in their healthcare and doctors are having to focus much more on the patient that they’ve ever done before. The drum beat of patient focus is being beat in so many places.

Is this really happening or is this just the topic du jour?

Some might argue that things like meaningful use’s patient engagement requirements are pushing this movement forward. However, those who have worked to meet those requirements know very well that meeting the meaningful use patient engagement measures doesn’t look very much like true patient engagement. The concept was interesting, but the actual implementation leaves a lot to be desired.

I have recently seen some patients start to care a little bit more about their health than they did before. This is driven largely by the high deductible plans. It’s amazing how getting people to pay for their care will change their attitude. Although, even then it hasn’t made people want to care about their healthcare. It’s just made them more informed on the price of the healthcare they receive.

Has the healthcare system really turned towards the patient? Are we any more focused on the patient now than we’ve ever been before? I don’t think we are. For all the talk, I haven’t seen much action and I can’t think of something that’s really going to dramatically change things.

I’d love to hear if people disagree. Do you see a shift of focus towards the patient? Have we always been focused on the patient, and so it’s not really a shift at all? Are there things we should be doing to encourage a shift to the patient?