The Health-Care Industry Is Pushing Patients to Help Themselves

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It’s the last mile in the race to fix health care—getting patients more involved.

Hospitals, doctors and public-health officials are pushing patients to keep track of their medical data, seek preventive care and stay on top of chronic conditions. They’re measuring how motivated patients are to manage their own health and adopting a wide range of strategies to help them do better, a concept known as patient engagement.

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The federal government, for instance, is promoting new initiatives to give millions of Americans access to their medical records online, so patients can use them to better manage their health. Providers, meanwhile, are mining those records to find patients who aren’t compliant with their regimens or missing preventive care, and nudging them to take action. And new mobile applications help clinicians keep a closer eye on patients’ progress in things like diet and exercise.

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