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UC14: Engaged Physicians, Engaged Patients

by Michelle Mangino, Social Media Manager

Michelle Mangino,  Social Media ManagerThis week, athenahealth welcomed physicians, practice managers, health care leaders, staff, and our own athenahealth experts from around the country to the Hynes Convention Center in Boston for our annual User Conference (UC14). Now, I know that a conference wrap-up blog post isn’t the most original concept – especially for a company dedicated to a high degree of thought leadership, but bear with me. I’ve got an approach aimed to keep you all engaged – it’s going to be all about the shout-outs, so keep an eye out for your name.

Health Care Social Media
With social media being a huge passion of mine, I always love talking shop with anyone willing, and there were many willing at UC14! Many of our physicians and practice managers are looking for more and better ways to engage their patients, and are realizing that one piece of the strategy – along with strong marketing of the patient portal – is to reach patients where they are most inclined to look for information anyway – on social media channels. This was just a piece of the broader social conversations I had with Dr. Kimberly Maroney, Dr. Alan Strumeyer, Dr. Meeta Pancholi and Dr. Peter Sutherland, to name a few.

Also on the social media front, I wanted to call out some of the tweeters who shared their User Conference experiences with those outside of the convention center walls, including hearing from our gracious keynote speaker, Christy Turlington Burns. (Learn more about Christy and her remarkable and inspiring foundation, Every Mother Counts.)

Patient Engagement
Our providers really don’t skip a beat. With ICD-10 delayed, until further notice, they came to User Conference with a revised emphasis on patient engagement (as evidenced by the social media conversations I mentioned above). They took all that focus originally devoted to the coding transition and shifted it toward something impacting many this calendar year – Meaningful Use Stage 2 and, specifically, the patient engagement measures. UC14 sessions involving either Meaningful Use or patient engagement were at standing-room-only status, with Q&A running right until the very last minute of the hour. It was telling of just how eager caregivers are for more tools, best practices and learnings from colleagues who are succeeding at engaging their patient population.

Which leads me to my next shout-out: Dr. Robert Winn. Dr. Winn, Medical Director at the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, PA, and his team are doing a phenomenal job engaging patients and I hope to share details of their success on the CloudView Blog in the coming months, part of a series of posts on patient engagement.

Making Health Care Work as it Should
Every year, athenahealth gives the athenaVision Awards to the client who embodies the athenahealth vision of helping “make health care work as it should.” This year, the honor went to Dr. Allen Gee, a neurologist using innovative telemedicine technology to create a virtual practice, eliminating geographical barriers to bring high-quality care to patients across the state of Wyoming. Check out this clip to learn more about
Dr. Gee and his practice:

And hey, Dr. Gee: If you’re reading this, look for an email from me very shortly so we can share some of your innovative techniques with our readers!

Physician Burnout
During UC14, I was fortunate enough to sit down with Dr. Bernadette Sheridan, who you may remember from her for very personal blog entries during Hurricane Sandy, or her passionate post on managing the portion of her patient population with diabetes at her practice in Brooklyn. Well, Dr. Sheridan had something else weighing heavy on her chest that night, that so many physicians are at risk of just burning out. Over industry change, lack of communication among colleagues, a lost sense of purpose in their work. She recognized these burnout symptoms in her own experiences, catching them early. She’ll share her story on our blog this summer, for which we are very fortunate. Stay tuned.

Now that I’ve called out some my own personal superstars from User Conference 2014, it’s time to share yours. If you joined us, who left you inspired, excited and eager to take new learnings from this past week and press onward?

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