Older adults taking hold of their health: technologies that foster transparency and engagement (OpenNotes, online communities, and apps)

Michelle Litchman michelle.litchman@gmail.com
Amy Berman amy.berman@jhartfound.org
Tom Delbanco tdelbanc@bidmc.harvard.edu
Sei Lee sei.lee@ucsf.edu

Abstract

            As people age they are engaging increasingly with technology in order to manage their health, better understand illness, and make informed choices about care.  Evolving technologies allow older adults and their families to take hold of their health and health care more actively, and today people can connect readily with others who share similar challenges.  Electronic medical records can enable fully transparent relationships among patients, families and providers. And technology is even helping both providers and patients with the most complex health problems understand the likely course of a disease. This panel will highlight efforts to harness innovative technologies that support the needs of the largest segment of health care utilizers: older adults, who soon will represent one in five Americans.

            Amy Berman lives well with stage IV cancer and is a Senior Program Officer with the John A. Hartford Foundation.  She is a nationally recognized e-patient and an award-winning author for Health Affairs, The Washington Post, The Health Care Blog, and Health AGEnda. She will serve as panel moderator and will frame the discussion with her story featuring examples of technologies that enhance communications, foster shared decision-making and respect for treatment preferences, and encourage greater understanding of our own health.

             Tom Delbanco, professor of general medicine and primary care at Harvard Medical School, is the co-founder of the OpenNotes movement whose members now invite five million Americans to read the notes written by their health providers. He will discuss the effects on patients, families and clinicians of fully transparent, shared medical records, pointing to notes as therapeutic interventions as they affect patient safety, the value of care, caregivers, and the education of the next generations of consumers and health professionals.

            Sei Lee, associate professor in the Division of Geriatrics at UCSF School of Medicine, will discuss the role of technology in helping clinicians, patients, and caregivers make decisions about the future. He will highlight the utility of tools designed to help elders and their families take prognosis into account as they consider how to maximize the benefits of prevention, while minimizing potential harms.

            Michelle Litchman, is a blogger at Health in the Presence of Social Media, a nurse practitioner, and research scientist exploring the role of social media and peer relationships among aging adults with diabetes. She will discuss emerging issues in online communities, such as self-disclosure and anticipatory guidance to younger individuals living with chronic disease.

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