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To make new tech implementations work, patient consultant says to focus on the person

When it comes to implementing new tech don’t be fooled by the shiny objects, said Stacy Hurt, a patient consultant. The most important part of tech is making it work for the patients, and that often comes down to affordability.

“Let’s take for example telehealth or accessing a patient portal online. If a patient doesn’t have access to broadband then this whole conversation is useless to them,” she said. “So, we all have to pitch in as stakeholders to the healthcare ecosystem and provider universal access to broadband for these patients so they can access telehealth and their patient portals.”

Hurt and other panelists will be talking at HIMSS’ State of Healthcare event on June 15, where new data on the patient, provider and payer journey will be revealed.

Patient concerns go beyond affordability and include questions like accessibility.

“We can have really cool tech but if our patients don’t understand how to use it then it is useless. To me health literacy, that includes our deaf, blind populations or maybe language as a barrier to accessing tech. So, breaking down those barriers to technology in terms of costs, accessibility, affordability and understanding in terms of health literacy, that could be our elderly, that could be our people with multiple disabilities accessing this technology.

Questions over usability have been circulating in the digital health world for some time. One patient population getting a lot of attention on this topic is seniors. A JAMA study found that telehealth is not suitable for 38% of patients over 65 due to hearing issues, lack of tech abilities or visual difficulties.

The best way to get to know what patients want? Go to them.

“The last thing is…  meeting patients where they are. We have to figure out outreach to reach the unreachable patients.”

HIMSS’ State of Healthcare will be taking place virutally on June 15 from 1pm to 2:30 pm CT. 

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