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RISARC CEO Richard Stephenson reports health-industry progress on collaborative patient engagement

A new wellness generation of young adults, now covered under the Affordable Care Act, are demanding the same instantaneous electronic access to their health care records and personal medical counsel that they now receive from banks and retail providers. Health care providers and insurers are racing to meet that elevated standard of engagement.

Burbank, California (PRWEB) February 25, 2014 Richard Stephenson, Founder and CEO of RISARC, a leading national high-technology and revenue recovery consulting firm to the health care industry, reports that health care providers and insurers are making rapid progress in expanding patient engagement programs.

Pre-care counseling and wellness

Says Stephenson: “Inside the U.S. healthcare system, we often address costly injury and illness that could be effectively avoided with earlier intervention. President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) is now giving the industry a chance at a redo. Incentives in the ACA law encourage providers and insurers to get ahead of that curve, supporting families early with pre-care counseling and wellness support.”

Among RISARC’s clients, patient engagement is now an integral, endorsed component in measuring the quality of care, reports Stephenson. Shared decision making is encouraged under the ACA law as a central part of clinical practice. The law has also created a Patient- Centered Outcomes Research Institute to assist patients, caregivers, doctors and payers in making informed health decisions.

In a February 14th article in Health Affairs on Patient Engagement, Kristin Carman and co- authors from the American Institutes for Research, propose frameworks for engagement that will include shared decision making, patient activation and broader patient activation.

The article further states, “Consistent with second and third levels of engagement that she and coauthors indicate “conversation ready” health care structures that may better discern and meet patients’ needs and preferences – attitudes and choices about end-of-life care are just one example – letting those patient preferences ultimately shape broader responses on a societal scale.”

Secure access to electronic records

Stephenson believes that the growing numbers of young achievers covered under ACA will be more attuned to “conversation-ready healthcare institutions” and will become an enormous force for innovation and savings in our care delivery and medical communication systems. But they will demand instantaneous access to documentation of their care, similar to their experience with the financial and consumer aspect of their lives. Health care providers and insurers are racing now to meet that standard of electronic engagement established by banks and on-line retail.

Says Stephenson: “This is a bold, inter-connected and transparent generation that may think themselves immortal yet never stops communicating with smart phones, tablets and laptops through which tweets and postings are never ending.”

The tools for that level of interaction are coming: A Fierce Health IT article in August 2012 highlights the Chilmark Report findings that innovative health insurers increasingly are building their own consumer-engagement applications or collaborating with technology developers to create such tools.

Health literacy and the young

According to Stephenson, younger adults, who will now make up an important sector of those covered under ACA, have access to a steady flow of healthful-living news and medical breakthrough information which encourages practicing wellness and good health.

Adds Stephenson: “Health literacy is high among the young who were introduced to aggressive wellness and nutrition programs in school. Once ACA brings them into the medical system for coverage, these younger patients are accepting of, even demanding a greater active role in their own care beyond and in advance of the traditional diagnosis and treatment interactions.”

The wellness generation

Stephenson cites a growing body of evidence that individuals more active in their health care incur lower costs and have better health outcomes.

Says Stephenson: “Among the first-time insured, there is a generation that welcomes personal management of their own health and fitness. As millions sign up for coverage under Obamacare, we will see that ACA coverage is also a revolutionary step towards empowered patient engagement and decision-making about health care.”

Plans can now be individually reviewed, considered and thoughtfully weighed in the balance. It is a new era of personal choice – for a healthy lifestyle, the choice of a medical plan that is affordable and right for individuals and families.

Concludes Stephenson: “We will have a better, more customized and effective health care system as a result of this bold step forward, as a society to extend health care coverage to all of our nation’s citizens.”


RISARC is a leading national high-technology and revenue recovery consulting firm to the health care industry. RISARC, founded in 1990, has recovered over $1 billion for its clients. The company offers the RMSe-bubbleTM for secure electronic document exchange and the signature RISARC 360° single-source solution that combines health care revenue cycle expertise with innovative cloud-based, cost-saving technology to help clients optimize existing resources, meet business objectives and reach financial goals. RISARC is a pioneer in health care technology solutions and is a certified Health Information Handler for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, esMD project. The RMSe-bubble provides the industry’s best secure, HIPAA-compliant environment for electronic record and document exchange and has been endorsed and accepted by providers, commercial insurance carriers and government agencies across the United States.