This past week I had the privilege to attend The World Congress 2nd Annual Patient Engagement and Experience Summit in Boston. As a new member of the healthcare industry my initial weeks were filled with information overload on health reform, health systems, HMO’s, ACO’s, and countless other acronyms that inevitably had me looking at words on the page as if they were in a Magic Eye book…hoping the answers would pop out and organize themselves logically in my mind.

Patient Engagement and Experience Summit Logo

What I was forgetting, and what The Patient Engagement Summit reminded me, is that it’s not about words on a page. It’s about the patient and creating an experience that prompts them to take ownership of their health, increasing their confidence, and doing so in a way where they can walk through their fears of living with chronic disease feeling dignified.

I sat through two days of presentations with interesting data given by Jessica Greene regarding the the Patient Activation Measure (PAM), Megan King’s findings on recreating the pain scale to reflect common pain verbs and educate patients for better expectations and more positive perceived outlooks, and Daniel Sands discussion on the Role of Mobile Engagement Initiatives to Improve Outcomes (reiterated this week by our Medical Director Chris Masters)

There were a few recurring themes strung through many of the presentations.

  1. Transportation is key for increasing engagement. In studies done, over and over, one of the top reasons for missed appointments is lack of transportation or knowledge of how to physically get there.

  2. Motivational Interviewing and the simple (or not to simple) empathic communication style designed to prompt patients into sharing relevant information with their healthcare providers. Use of motivational interviewing was cited numerous times as making the biggest difference in positive outcomes.

  3. Feelings of isolation are an issue, especially for the engagement of the dual eligible population 65+

Leaving the conference I felt a renewed sense of pride in the work that Melon Health is doing to help people help themselves. We are pulling industry notes such as PAM scoring, motivational interviewing, and integrated care teams as a pocket resource for patients.

Peter Wong, author of The Caregiver’s Toolbox left us with words that help me to reframe ideas around communication. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”