Patient Support, Engagement and Experience

On Wednesday April 3rd, The Beryl Institute will be holding it’s annual Patient Experience Conference #P2019 in Dallas TX.

Back in 2015, Jason A. Wolf @jasonawolf, President of The Beryl Institute, and I decided to do a live #HCLDR chat from the floor of #PX2015.

Ever since then, we have used the annual Conference as inspiration for a patient experience themed #HCLDR chat, even if we were not able to attend the event in-person.

But rather than talk about patient experience in general. I thought it would be interesting to delve a little deeper into a conversation I’ve had with two friends – Geri Lynn Baumblatt @GeriLynn and Shahid Shah @ShahidNShah. At different times over the past few months both have challenged me with variation on this question: “Do we need more patient engagement or do we first need better support?”

It’s a very mind-expanding question when you think about it. Patient Engagement has become an industry buzzword. At #HIMSS18 and to a lesser extent #HIMSS19, Patient Engagement was splashed across hundreds of vendor booths and was the topic of many sessions. However, much of the attention was being placed on technologies and tactics that would help patients access information and connect electronically with their care team.

What Baumblatt and Shah helped me realize was that those solutions are really targeted at patients who are already actively engaged in their care and want those types of enabling solutions. Shah and Baumblatt suggest that patients need much more basic support versus fancy tools. They need help understanding discharge instructions, they need help to schedule appointments that don’t adversely impact their ability to work, they need help navigating the health system to ensure they don’t get hit with surprise bills, they need culture-specific dietary advice, etc.

Once this support is in place THEN you can start to layer on more engagement tools and processes.

My conversations with Baumblatt and Shah really got me thinking about the approach we are taking to addressing patient engagement. Shah, in fact, suggested that we reframe the space as Patient Support Solutions – to better focus the industry on providing solutions that are meaningful for patients. The more I think about it, the more this makes sense to me.

It’s almost like Maslow’s hierarchy of Needs for healthcare. Here the bottom level would be Patient Support. Followed by Patient Experience and then finally by Patient Engagement. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense to talk about engaging patients as an organization when you haven’t addressed the more basic needs of support and experience. Why would any patient want to engage with an organization that doesn’t offer them any form of support or that provides a sub-par experience?

Join the #HCLDR community on Tuesday April 2nd at 8:30pm ET (for your local time click here) as we talk about patient support, engagement and experience ahead of #PX2019:

  • T1 What type of patient or caregiver support is most needed in healthcare – that can be implemented TODAY?
  • T2 What can be done to help physicians, clinicians and healthcare organizations offer better support to patients, given time/resource constraints?
  • T3 How would you measure or define success when it comes to patient engagement? How should organization judge themselves?
  • T4 The catchphrase at #PX2019 is “I am the patient experience” – what should this mean for us as healthcare leaders? What can we do to live up to this statement?


Wolf, Jason. “To Care is Human: 3 Considerations for the Future of Patient Experience”, The Beryl Institute Blog, 5 December 2018,, accessed 30 March 2019

Christensen, Tiffany. “Opposing Natures: Honoring the Properties of Water”, The Beryl Institute Blog, 3 April 2018,, accessed 30 March 2019

Marshall Martin, Bibby Jo. “Supporting patients to make the best decisions”, BMJ, 7 April 2011,, accessed 30 March 2019

Boissy, Adrienne MD. “Patient Engagement versus Patient Experience”, NEJM Catalyst, 17 May 2017,, accessed 30 March 2019

Demoly, Pascal, et al. “Patient engagement and patient support programs in allergy immunotherapy: a call to action for improving long-term adherence”, Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, 29 July 2016,, accessed 30 March 2019

Evans, Mike MD. “Patient Engagement vs the Engaged Patient”, Reframe Health Lab,, accessed 30 March 2019

Comstock, Jonah. “Making sense of patient engagement, activation and empowerment”, mobi health news, 25 January 2019,, accessed 30 March 2019

Hibbard, Judith. Greene, Jessica. “What The Evidence Shows About Patient Activation: Better Health Outcomes And Care Experiences; Fewer Data On Costs”, Health Affairs, February 2013,, accessed 30 March 2019

Image Credit

Pillars Supporting Sky – Holger Ejleby

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