Patient Engagement and the Patient Engagement Framework

One of the many aspects of healthcare reform is the concept of patient centered care, whether it’s HITECH, medical home or accountable care organization.  To provide patient centered care, healthcare professionals must engage with their patients and provide tools and resources to their patients.

About the Patient Engagement Framework

The Patient Engagement Framework is a model created to guide healthcare organizations in developing and strengthening their patient engagement strategies through the use of eHealth tools and resources.

The Framework is the result of nearly a year of collaboration by over 150 top experts in healthcare, technology and human behavior, and is designed to assist healthcare organizations of all sizes and in all stages of implementation of their patient engagement strategies. This Framework can help organizations create a path towards a more efficient and effective models of care that treat patients as partners instead of just customers.

The Framework Stages

This framework which the National eHealth Collaborative designed ( consists of 5 phases:

1) Inform Me

2) Engage Me,

3) Empower Me,

4) Partner with Me, and

5) Support My E-Community.

The Patient Engagement Framework

At Navigating Cancer, this model resonates with us and is a great way for us to think about how we build product features to help support healthcare professionals and patients to better partner in their care.  We’re all about  facilitating patient engagement, and this framework allows us to think about the steps and evolution of the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals.

So how are we doing today?  Here is our own inventory of how we’re measuring up on the Patient Engagement Framework developed by the National eHealth Collaborative.

1)    Inform Me – In this phase healthcare professionals demonstrate basic levels of patient engagement – providing simple tools which make healthcare more convenient and accessible for patients.  We’re happy to report we meet all objectives in this first phase, but have taken it many step furthers.  Instead of printable forms, we provide online forms that can be edited, saved, printed and provided to other healthcare professionals.  We also provide a complete library of patient education and have new exiting changes to patient education that we will be launching soon! So stay tuned!

2)    Engage Me – This phase is the next step in “maturity” from the “Inform Me” phase.  This phase increases the amount of information available for the patient, like complete electronic health records including any labs or histology reports.  Also available are medication reminders, calendar management, scheduling appointments, etc. Our portal provides patients with access to their health records (labs, medications, diagnosis, next appointment, etc…).  Our “calendar” function  allows patients to manage next appointments not only with their oncologist but they can also enter other appointments they want to manage.  We have patient specific materials which help patients prepare for their next clinic visit.  We’re happy to report that we’ve got you covered in the Engage Me stage.

3)    Empower Me – We’re excited about this next stage in the framework.  Although we have much of the needed functionality, we’re finding most healthcare professionals aren’t quite ready to provide some of these services yet–but many are getting closer and we’re excited to facilitate.  This is where bi-directional communication can happen between healthcare professionals and patients.  Our Daily Health Journal provides the opportunity to provide patient reported symptoms and side effects and our Follow Up Form alerts patients to fill out information healthcare providers need before upcoming appointments.  These are the start of patients taking an active role in their care, providing much needed information and providers being better able to provide the right interventions in their care.  We have about 80% of the functionality here—but have some improvements to make to be 100% ready to support you.

4)    Partner With Me – More information and tools are provided to patients so they can truly become a “partner” with their healthcare team.  Materials are available in the languages of the majority clinic population.  Patient generated data is integrated into the EMR.  Coordination of care is possible across different specialties and providers.  We have some work completed here, for example we have a Spanish patient intake module but a lot of work to support this stage of care.

5)    Support me E-Community – This is the apex of the patient engagement framework.  Here the providers and patient have fully leveraged and implemented e-Health tools and data to connect all care team members to each other.  This connectivity transcends the typical bricks and mortar of a physician office but extends to wherever the patient and his/her family support network may be.  This phase allows for patients to communicate with “like” patients and their friends and family via secure messaging.  Providers and patients are likely to be found participating in ACO’s and oncology medical homes.  We’re happy to report that we have a lively community of patients interacting daily on Navigating Cancer and tools for patients to connect with their family, friends and caregivers.  Inteoperability and additional data frameworks are important in this last and final stage and we’re working hard to deliver on that promise as well.

We thought you would like seeing this framework as you think about the stages of developing and engaging your patients.  For our clinic partners, we’re here to support you and look forward to continuing to support your efforts as you work to engage your patients in new and exciting ways!  We’re the leader in the market in terms of patient engagment and are working hard to continue to support the amazing efforts of the healthcare professionals and the patients we serve every day.


Stay in the Know

Subscribe to the Navigating Cancer blog for the latest news, innovations, and best practices in oncology care.