How to Engage With a Population to Break Down Barriers to Health Improvements

“Technology is the enabler that makes a personalized patient experience cost-effective and scalable,” Ruiz agrees. “While some people may be averse to technology, almost everyone is receptive to the best possible customer service. As time goes on, people continue to recognize the value in technology solutions, and adoption continues to rise from early adopters to fast followers.”

Provider communities typically (but not always) assume patients are not willing or interested in adopting healthcare technology based on their age or comfort with devices, Harter notes.

“But’s it’s important to remember that healthcare affects everyone, including children and seniors, and everyone interacts with technology differently and has varying levels of comfort with technology,” Heffernan says. “So when we as an industry are designing healthcare technology, we need to be mindful and inclusive of all users and be able to customize solutions to meet patients where they are.”

For Circulation, this has meant customizing the way the platform communicates with patients. “Some patients get their ride notifications by text, while others get theirs by phone or email. We build every experience around the patient to ensure it truly benefits them and makes their lives easier,” Heffernan says.

As healthcare organizations find ways to encourage individuals to take charge of their wellness and long-term health, they’ll have to balance the crafting of unique content that takes the user into account with the creation of easily repeatable processes.

As Harter puts it, “a unique challenge in healthcare is the lack of standardization and interoperability across organizations and healthcare applications, requiring patients to access and manage numerous systems or access points. A second challenge is assuring that patient and generational preferences be considered in the user interface or product design. Patients engage and find value in these technologies based on their overall comfort with technology, health literacy, and activation level. Encouragement from a trusted member of their care team goes a long way in the adoption of newer methods.”

With such encouragement, she adds, the shift to technology-based patient engagement solutions is poised to drive broad improvements in population health.

“Technology advancements in most industries have occurred at a more rapid pace than healthcare, from banking to retail to other types of businesses,” Harter says. “I believe the healthcare industry should shift the expectation from ‘if’ patients will adopt to ‘when’ in order to catch up with other industries.” ψ


Megan Headley is a freelance writer and owner of ClearStory Publications. She has covered healthcare safety and operations for several publications. She can be reached at