Bridging the Patient Digital Divide

Melody Smith Jones* Nick van Terheyden*
Mandi Bishop* Lauren Still*
Melody Smith Jones*, Consultant, Cincinnati, United States
Nick van Terheyden*, CMIO, Burlington, United States
Mandi Bishop*, Consultant, Jacksonville, United States
Lauren Still*, Consultant, San Francisco, United States

Track: Business
Presentation Topic: Consumer empowerment, patient-physician relationship, and sociotechnical issues
Presentation Type: Panel
Submission Type: Panel Presentation

Building: Sheraton Maui Resort
Room: A - Wailuku
Date: 2014-11-14 09:45 AM – 10:30 AM
Last modified: 2014-10-24

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The digital divide is often used as an excuse for non-adoption of patient collaborative technologies such as mobile health. What is the “digital divide” exactly? The term is meant to describe the differences between people, households, or demographic/socioeconomic groups with regards to access to information technology and the knowledge and skills needed to use the information gained through technology. Factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, income, and educational attainment are often used when describing the digital divide in the United States. But is this digital divide real or perceived? In light of current facts, what is the best means of collaboration in a patient centric care model?


On average, patients only spend 1% of their time in the clinical care setting. Traditional medicine has focused upon patient engagement during that eight minute doctor visit. Yet, it is the other 99% of the time, when patients are at home, at work, at school, and in their communities that matters most. It is outreach to patients while they are living, working, and playing that determines how their overall wellness is managed. As a result of this understanding, the uses of connected health technologies are on the rise. From diabetes apps to virtual visits on patient portals, technology is providing a cost-effective and convenient way for patients and healthcare providers to connect and work together towards the goal of better health.

However, it isn’t uncommon to hear, for example, “Communicate with patients using mobile devices? I don’t think most our patients actually use mobile phones.”

In this panel discussion we will delve into the topic of the digital divide in a debate format. Each member of the panel will discuss the pros and cons of mobile health adoption given different roles in the healthcare community: patient, physician, IT administrator, and government. The goal is to uncover whether this issue is real or perceived and whether or not digital technologies actually provide the best means of communicating with the entire patient population.

Panelist Bios

Mandi Bishop

Melody Smith Jones leads Connected Health solutions for Perficient. She has more than 12 years of experience integrating technology solutions into marketing and loyalty strategies, and has specialized knowledge in the implementation of collaborative technologies, business intelligence, and CRM. Melody has an MBA from Xavier University in Business Intelligence and Marketing.

Lauren Still

Nick van Terheyden

This will be a panel discussion.

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