What the chronically ill really want is less engagement with, less time spent on their particular condition or disease–certainly not to be forced into Sisyphean tasks. What this Editor has termed the ‘perpetual Battle of Stalingrad’ of self-monitoring (especially apparent in diabetes) means extra effort with minimal/no reward, never achieving ‘normal’ and never catching a break. Glen Tullman, former CEO of Allscripts and currently a healthcare investor with 7WireVentures, points out that the endless promotion of ‘consumer engagement’ is not only patronizing, but also wrong-headed in blaming the patient for not managing their illness their way. People want simply to live their lives, not their problems.
- “What if we ask patients—or “health consumers” as I call them—to do less rather than more?”
- “They want technology and information that will allow them to do that, not saddle them with more tasks. They don’t want help—they want solutions.”
- “…technology, perfectly applied, is indistinguishable from magic. This is where health care entrepreneurs and executives should be focused: on providing tools and information that allow patients get on with the parts of their lives that don’t involve being sick.”
Last week’s shutdown of Aetna’s CarePass and the ‘object lessons’ of digital health flops such as Healthrageous, HealthRally and Zeo [TTA 29 July] confirms Mr Tullman’s point. In addition, the issue is similar to medication compliance–where it’s sometimes too much for that person to handle. Instead of figuring out why, it’s the patient’s fault. [TTA 18 June 2013]. Stop blaming the patient (or the well person) first. We should be finding better, less burdensome ways to work with them and help them get their job done! Let’s Stop Trying to Force Consumers to ‘Engage’ With Their Health Care (Forbes) Hat tip to Ellen Fink-Samnick of LinkedIn’s ‘Ellen’s Ethical Lens’.