Q&A: The imPatient Movement

'We've got this army of consumers out there that are interested in using these tools. How do we mobilize them?'

A new advocacy group launched at HIMSS13 in New Orleans earlier this month. The imPatient Movement wants to change the conversation about patient engagement – giving voice to healthcare consumers and pushing for more fruitful data exchange between patients and their physicians.

With Stage 2 meaningful use set to make patient empowerment a centerpiece, the new organization, founded by NoMoreClipboard, Microsoft HealthVault and Indiana Health Information Technology, Inc. – and actively seeking new members – seeks to "empower patients, healthcare providers and health IT organizations to collaborate and advocate for swift and meaningful action in making electronic health information accessible, interoperable and actionable."

So far, the initiative has found friends in high places.


"The imPatient campaign recognizes what we firmly believe – that both patient and provider attitudes must change in order to achieve the full potential of eHealth, and that both parties will benefit from having greater access to and use of electronic health data," Farzad Mostashari, MD, national coordinator for health information technology, said about the group in a press statement.

Healthcare IT News spoke with Jeff Donnell, president of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based NoMoreClipboard, about the imPatient Movement, about physician resistance, and about the ways consumer engagement is gaining momentum in healthcare.

Q: How have attitudes with regard to patient engagement evolved in recent years, from your point of view?

A: There's been a significant shift in attitude. As someone who's been working around patient engagement for seven or eight years now, it's gone from, "Why are we even talking about this? Why is it even important?" – or, "Maybe someday, but the time is not right" – to recognition that this is important.

Q: What are the grounds for physicians' objections when you hear words like that?

A: They say, "This may be a good idea, but it's not right for my patient population – I see safety net patients, or most of my patients are senior citizens," those sorts of things. Sometimes it's, "Hey, frankly, I don't see a big demand for it." On the provider side, a lot of it was, "This is new, this is different." It's a fear of the unknown.

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