Munzoor Shaikh discusses how technology will shape the future of patient engagement.

Ochsner makes patient engagement easy through mobile and wearable technology.

Leaving her internist’s office at the Ochsner Center for Primary Care and Wellness in New Orleans, the elderly patient stops by the O Bar in the lobby.

This bar won’t serve her an alcoholic beverage. Nor a smoothie, nor a latte. She might, however, walk away with a new Fitbit on her wrist or a weight loss coaching app downloaded into her smartphone. The O Bar is a brightly lit tech support station sleekly appointed with stainless-steel stools, counter-mounted iPads and wall-mounted video displays. It’s modeled after the Genius Bar in Apple stores.

At the O Bar (O for Ochsner, of course), there’s a technician on duty to advise the patient on how best to fill the prescription that bears the doctor’s signature. He’s checked off two mobile computer apps appropriate to her health situation (from eight categories: nutrition, fitness, women’s health, oncology, diabetes, medication, smoking cessation and general health). He’s also recommended she consider outfitting herself with a chic, wrist-worn activity-tracking device (from a preprinted prescription list that also includes a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose monitor, a wireless weight scale or a wireless blood pressure monitor).

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