Patient Engagement 2016
Clip
The Saturation of Health Information (02:56)

The mass media bombards consumers with health advice — but that doesn’t necessarily result in behavior change.

“Probably everybody now knows that they should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day,” says Wendy Wood. “That was part of a CDC initiative [and] since that program was started, people’s knowledge has improved. Their consumption of fruit and vegetables, however, has gone down.”

We’re good at changing people’s knowledge and behavior, notes Wood, but we’re not so good at changing repeated behaviors. “It’s time to switch our focus from informing people to behavior change,” she says. “It’s great to know how many servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat, but I don’t think that’s going to do it for your health.”

Nevertheless, the dissemination of health information to an increasingly informed average consumer is a good thing, adds David Kirchhoff. “It is great to give people the tools if they choose to empower themselves,” he says.

As for consumers getting swamped with too much medical information, potentially resulting in confusion, Kirchhoff isn’t sure that’s the issue. “It depends if you’re talking about health information for people who are dealing with illness, or if you’re talking about health information on things like diet, nutrition, and everything else,” he explains. “I don’t know that I see that as a problem, I just don’t believe that it is necessarily, by itself, even sort of a fix.”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.

More From Patient Engagement 2016

Patient Inducements — High Graft or High Value?

Can health care be more like Uber and Lyft?

Consumer Engagement: New Tools and Capabilities for Health System Marketing

Novant Health is using research and data analytics to identify and engage new consumers, develop more relevant products and services, and support its mission and brand promise.

Shared Decision-Making for Good Clinical Care: Better, but Not Easier

Active patient involvement and patient autonomy can be burdensome to patients, especially when they are faced with serious illness. The primary goal of shared decision-making is not autonomy, but good care that fits patients’ lives.

The Patient as Consumer and the Measurement of Bedside Manner

Many physicians do not believe patient satisfaction is a legitimate pursuit. Yet they must meet consumers of health care where they are — on Internet ratings sites.

Halpern02_clip_still: A/B Testing Health Behavior Interventions

A/B Testing Health Behavior

Health care can’t implement changes overnight like Silicon Valley, but we can still learn from their version of treatment and control.

Social Interventions Can Lower Costs and Improve Outcomes

We can better serve our under-resourced patients by helping them access treatments and social interventions we already know to be effective.

Better Communication Makes Better Physicians

How Adrienne Boissy and Cleveland Clinic are focusing on physician communication — and getting results.

Transparency and Trust — Online Patient Reviews of Physicians

Transparency of validated data about delivery-system performance has the power to change the culture of health care.

Patient Engagement Survey: Technology Tools Gain Support — But Cost Is a Hurdle

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members say patient engagement technology tools must be patient-centric and are most useful for managing chronic disease.

Patient-Researchers and Physician-Consultants Confront Chronic Disease

Personal-use sensors and data applications allow patients with Type 1 diabetes and other chronic diseases to take charge of managing their health. This is the future of chronic disease management.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Treating Low-Income Individuals Is Our Obligation

The CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian discusses the policies, interventions, and perspectives required for making sure low-income…

Patient Incentives

50 Articles

Behavioral Medicine’s Ether Dome Moment

Good patient engagement design reduces anxiety.

Coverage Expansion and Delivery System Reform…

Safety-net health system transformation is threatened by recent health reform proposals that erode coverage gains.

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now