David Bates and Ronen Rozenblum

Though few in the field would argue that engaging patients in their care is not important, few have written about patient engagement with patients, instead of about them,” writes BWH’s Ronen Rozenblum, PhD, MPH, in a new book published this spring.

The book, titled “Information Technology for Patient Empowerment in Healthcare,” is one of the first to delve into the intersection of patient-centered care, patient engagement and health information technology, and includes the patient and family voice alongside those of health professionals. With instant access to health information via computers or mobile phones, patients are becoming better informed and more active participants in their care. At the same time, these technologies enable health care providers to partner with their patients, optimize quality of care, improve health outcomes and transform the health care system. Rozenblum calls this intersection “the perfect storm.”

Founding director of the Unit for Innovative Healthcare Practice & Technology and director of Business Development for the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice at BWH, Rozenblum edited the book with BWH Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer David Bates, MD, MSc, and Maria Adela Grando, PhD, of Arizona State University and the Mayo Clinic.

The book aims to provide a 360-degree perspective on information technology for patient empowerment by incorporating the diverse perspectives of patients and family members, clinicians, researchers, health care organization leaders, health information technology experts and others. It discusses the existing needs, challenges and opportunities for improving patient engagement and empowerment through health information technology, mapping out what has been accomplished and what work remains to truly transform care and fully engage patients in their care.

“Patients are more empowered to shape their own health care today than ever before,” said Rozenblum. “The book is about engaging patients and their families in new and innovative ways to support the management of their own health.”

As a leader in patient-centered care and research, BWH is using health information technology to engage patients and families in several ways. One example is the PROSPECT (“Promoting Respect and Ongoing Safety through Patient-centeredness, Engagement, Communication and Technology”) clinical research initiative, in which patients and their family members in the ICU and oncology units have access to a tablet at the bedside. Using the tablet, they are able to view their plan of care and goals, their schedule, medications and care team members. They are also able to send a question to their entire care team through a microblog messaging function.

“The notion is to change the way care is delivered,” said Bates.

BWH has also been a leader in the collection of PROMs, or patient-reported outcome measures, in which patients answer a series of questions using an iPad in the waiting room and then receive follow-up questionnaires. In addition to engaging patients in their care, PROMs help BWH collect data about quality outcomes that matter to patients, provide new insights into patient behavior and allow for better tailoring of care to specific patient groups.

“Engaging and partnering with patients are top priorities at the Brigham,” said Rozenblum.

Learn more about the book.