Health tech conference – Aetna expert in patient engagement to speak!

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Health tech conference – Aetna expert in patient engagement to speak!

Jan Oldenburg , a Vice President at Aetna and a nationally know expert in patient engagement, will participate in one of the twelve  panel discussions  at the upcoming  Health Technology Forum Conference on April 19, 2013 at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.

Jan Oldenburg - transforming healthcare through digital patient engagement

Jan Oldenburg – transforming healthcare through digital patient engagement

Ms. Oldenburg will participate in the panel addressing the topic of “Patient Engagement for Care Improvement”.    Ms. Oldenburg is Vice President Patient and Physician engagement at Aetna and editor of  a recently published book published by HIMSS –  Engage: Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement.   The questions Oldenburg and the panel will address include:

  • In this virtual age of lesser and lesser human contact, can technology be an enabler in creating dynamic partnership among patients, their families, and the providers of their healthcare?
  • In a partnership model, who would establish the boundaries with regard to privacy, competent decision making, and ethical behavior, and ensure that they are respected?

Patient engagement has become a cornerstone today in discussions of accountable care.  Strong patient engagement will have its basis on physician patient partnership and that relationship will have to be grounded in confidentiality and clarity about mutual responsibilities.

Oldenburg has a passion for examining the use of technology to deliver patient engagement tools and solutions.  In addition to serving as the the editor of the  “Engage! Transforming Healthcare through Digital Patient Engagement”, she was selected to be a member of the Consumer Empowerment Workgroup (CEWG) of the Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC).  The HITPC makes recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health IT on a policy framework for the development and adoption of a nationwide health information infrastructure.  The Consumer Empowerment Workgroup (CEWG) is charged with providing recommendations on policy issues and opportunities for strengthening the ability of consumers, patients, and lay caregivers to manage health and health care for themselves or others.

In recent years, the rules of patient engagement have changed.   In a non-fiction book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, Rebecca Skloot discussed how cells retrieved from Henrietta’s cervical cancer, in 1951, have been the most widely used cells, have been bought and sold by the billions and have led to many discoveries and scientific insights.

These cells were taken without Henrietta’s permission and in those days no one talked about patient engagement or strived to create physician-patient partnership.  Recently, when Lars Steinmetz and his team published the genome of the HeLa cells, Steinmetz and his colleagues gave little thought that it could ignite a bioethical lightning rod.  But the descendants of Henrietta Lacks and other scientists and bioethicists were not pleased and they criticized Steinmetz’s decision to publish the sequence, noting that the HeLa cell line was established without Lacks’s consent and it may disclose genetic traits borne by surviving family members.

In addition to Ms. Oldenburg, other participants in the “Patient Engagement for Care Improvement” panel will include Neil Versel, HIT Journalist – Universal Media who will  moderate the discussion, Laura Esserman, Professor – UCSF School of Medicine  and Amy Tenderich, Editor-in-Chief,, an online support and advocacy group for diabetics.

For information on the other panel discussions and speakers at the conference and to register, please go to:


Darshana Nadkarni, PhD
Darshana Nadkarni, PhD
Darshana offers staffing services to Life Science and High Tech companies. Keep up with Darshana at her blog where her job opportunities are also listed. She can be reached at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com.
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