This blog post was written by our guest blogger Karen Joncas, Healthcare Transformation Coordinator at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS).

In a recent interview, Devin Gross, CEO of Emmi Solutions, a technology firm that provides interactive and multimedia solutions which engage and empower patients to take a more active role in their own healthcare, shared his thoughts on what the new industry buzzword “patient engagement” means to his firm. Emmi Solutions has been successful because of their focus on the end-user of their product, the patients of the healthcare organizations that they serve.  Their business model includes holding patient focus groups to improve the tools they sell with an emphasis on customer service.  This results in success for their clients by engaging patients in their own care. They have also been successful staying ahead of the curve in an industry with constant change.  He also emphasized that they seek to employ people who believe in the company’s stated mission of changing healthcare by helping the patient and their family in difficult times. This business model could and should be emulated by the healthcare organizations using the tools to facilitate self-management support.

Patient Engagement

Here are the most salient takeaways from this article. They are all focused on placing the patient at the center of care management:

  1. Creating an emotional connection with patients: Speaking to people respectfully as individuals is important in facilitating their success.  Making emotional connections with patients is motivating and satisfying for both the patient and the healthcare workers charged in their care.  The ultimate goal in patient self management is understanding how to use tools and resources.
  2. Talking to patients on their terms: In order to enhance patient engagement and involvement in their care management, it is critical that we talk to them as individual people on their terms in ways that they will understand.  The goal is to empower the patient to be engaged and take charge and ownership in their own care and health.
  3. Treat patients with respect:  At any point during a patient encounter, there can be many “touch points” that a patient experiences.  A positive “touch point” for a patient can provide an exceptional experience and make the patient feel that they have been treated with respect, kindness, courtesy and compassion. This positive encounter can provide great momentum for patient engagement and long-term commitment.  The display of respect can provide the foundation of a long-term collaborative relationship between a patient and the provider which can yield long-term positive outcomes.
  4. Educate and encourage patients to be involved:  We know knowledge equates to power.  Providing patients with a foundation of knowledge will yield more positive outcomes.  Patient knowledge is critical for long-term compliance and behavioral change.
  5. Engaging key-stakeholders in patient education:  Patient engagement and compliance can best be achieved by engaging staff and employees that believe in their mission of education. If the mission is to achieve improved performance, that is driven by patient engagement.  Therefore, staff that is passionate about their mission, will undoubtedly provide the foundation for change.  Most important is that you regularly assess the impact of staff by engaging patients to provide feedback about how their commitment is driven by staff engagement.  Staff that is motivated in their work has a wonderful opportunity to influence significant change among patients.

Asking the patient what is important to them, tracking the results, and continually adjusting processes to improve success is critically important to the financial success of healthcare organizations where there is constant change in technology, government, and insurance payment programs.

RMS Healthcare, a division of Research and Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS) has over 50 years of collective and proven experience in providing consulting services to meet the specific needs of our clients.  Regardless of your healthcare research or practice transformation needs, RMS Healthcare can help.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Susan Maxsween, Director of Healthcare and Practice Transformation at or telephone her at 1-866-567-5422.