Patient using app on tablet for communication; provider engagement concept

Empowering Provider Engagement: The Future of Medical Information Accessibility

Digital self-service information solutions can help healthcare providers (HCPs) access necessary information when they need it. In recent years, use of these systems has expanded, driven both by regulatory incentives and by HCPs’ desire to provide accurate, timely information to patients as part of patient-centered care.

When Medical Affairs teams choose digital solutions that offer ease of use for patients, boost healthcare literacy, and have robust privacy tools, they can put up-to-date information in the hands of HCPs — who can then use this information to help their patients.

How Digital Solutions Foster HCP Knowledge and Patient-Centered Care

Regulatory incentives and healthcare professionals’ efforts over the past decade have brought self-service information tools from innovative technology to widespread adoption. For many years, however, hospitals, clinics, and clinical trials faced a gap: their offerings of patient portals were more widespread than patients’ uptake or use of those systems. 

Although 90 percent of U.S. healthcare systems now offer patient portals, only about 15 to 30 percent of patients actually use these tools, write Courtney R. Lyles and fellow researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

Instead, patients continue to rely on their providers for information directly related to the patient’s care, from background on a patient’s latest diagnosis to facts about a newly-prescribed medication, device, or therapy. 

Efforts to make portals more user-friendly has helped HCPs meet patients’ desire for information in the provider-patient context. In one study of portal use, patients and providers identified three main factors that drove their use of digital portals and other digital healthcare tools:

  • Patient empowerment.
  • Self-management.
  • Personalized care.

“Participatory design approaches have the potential to support the creation of patient-centered digital health tools,” write Samaneh Madanian and fellow study authors. These approaches also help HCPs use self-service information portals and provide better patient-centered care. 

In a similar study, researchers Taya Irizarry, Annette DeVito Dabbs, and Christine R. Curran found that factors like age, ethnicity, education level, health status, and whether the user was a patient or a caregiver also affect how patients use digital portals to engage with healthcare. However, they also found that patients and caregivers still turned to their HCP first when seeking information, and that patients weren’t likely to try any patient-accessible option their provider did not also use or endorse.

Medical Affairs teams can help boost providers’ efforts to provide patient-centered care through their choice and use of digital solutions. When MA teams choose portals that are easy for HCPs to use and provide essential, tailored information to each audience, HCPs can connect more easily — and participate in personalized care.

Senior specialist sitting in hospital lobby explaining diagnosis to elderly patient; provider engagement concept 

Why Self-Service Information Access Benefits HCPs and Patients

Providers embrace digital self-service solutions because they provide an opportunity to personalize patient care and encourage patients to participate actively in their healthcare. In a study of patient portal users in Lebanon, Noha El Yaman and fellow researchers found that patients benefited when digital solutions made it easy for the patient, the provider, or both to access information on the patients’ conditions. 

Patients benefited further when self-service information portals provided guidance on how patients could manage their conditions at home. Patients with chronic conditions also demonstrated improved adherence to prescribed treatments when they had access to self-service information portals, either directly or through their providers.

A study by Hae-Ra Han and fellow researchers found that self-service information portal use was linked with improved outcomes, including:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding of conditions and therapies when HCPs accessed needed information. 
  • Improved decision-making involving both provider and patient.
  • Better medication adherence when providers and patients had access to information about medication dosing and effects.

To access these benefits, HCPs need a user-friendly digital portal design. They also need to consider periodically whether their chosen digital solution remains user-friendly and balances accessibility and privacy concerns appropriately, write Elisa H. Son and Eun-Shim Nahm.  

Choosing the right digital solution is crucial. Tools that provide accessible information to healthcare professionals can help ensure that audiences receive the information that Medical Affairs teams work hard on to deliver.

Patient shaking doctor's hand, who is holding a tablet; provider engagement concept 

Choosing the Right Digital Solution for Provider Engagement and Patient Empowerment

Healthcare providers who otherwise embrace the value of self-service information portals hesitate to use them when questions about privacy arise. Struggles with adapting to a new digital interface also present a barrier to digital information tool use, write Madanian et al.

Solutions like Anju’s iCare MAX address these hurdles while enhancing features that support HCP use of digital portals by offering a self-service information portal for both HCPs and patients. Integration with IRMS MAX helps life sciences organizations manage exactly which information is available to HCPs and to consumers. It also allows life sciences teams to integrate their own branding into the information presented. 

Other benefits and features of iCare MAX include:

  • Quick access to information. Self-directed search tools allow providers to find what they need quickly.
  • Access from any device. iCare MAX is compatible with desktop, mobile, and tablet devices, allowing HCPs to find what they need from their preferred device.
  • Data visualization. The iCare MAX reporting engine provides easy-to-read insights with its powerful data visualization technology. 
  • Comprehensive data tracking tools. View searches, document views and downloads, and logins to better understand who accesses which pieces of information. 
  • User registration. iCare MAX can be configured to require that users register for system access prior to accessing content as an added level of document access security.
  • Medical inquiry submission. Users can submit an inquiry back to IRMS MAX using the customizable integrated medical information request form when the desired information is not available via content search.

Tools like Anju’s iCare MAX help Medical Affairs teams facilitate and maintain the alignment with existing patient portal features and patients’ and providers’ information needs and functionality, empowering providers to help their patients work with them on patient-centered, data-driven care.

Images used under license by

Authored by John Ferguson, VP of Product Management for Medical Affairs

John Ferguson, VP of Product Management for Medical Affairs at Anju Software, boasts over 15 years of experience, holding various titles such as business analyst and director. In his role, he oversees project management and software implementation for global pharmaceutical companies, ensuring seamless integration and optimal performance. With a background in finance and an MBA from DePaul University, John’s dedication to continuous improvement drives innovation and success in the medical affairs sector. Connect with John on LinkedIn to explore his achievements further.

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