Tag Archive for: MOOC

Online Patient Engagement Course Well Worth It!


I am taking Stanford University’s course, Engage and Empower Me: Patient Engagement Design  and I am very happy with the experience.

This course is open to anyone and is really about How to engage patients to improve the healthcare experience for all. This class is the first of a series of courses to be offered by MedicineX and the new Stanford Medicine X Academy.

As stated in the course description, the goal of the course is:

“ to educate you about participatory medicine and empower you to create a more inclusive, collaborative healthcare system for patients. During this course, you will learn the science of habit formation, behavior change, and decision-making. You will gain knowledge about how human-centered design can empower people and help them make healthy choices. Finally, you will discover how social media platforms can be used to create robust patient communities and how self-tracking devices can provide day-to-day data points that motivate people to make positive changes.”

There are no prerequisites and the course is free. There are numerous guest speakers from patients to academics, industry leaders, researchers, and healthcare providers. The content is mainly video clips and there are quizzes along the way, so you have to pay attention! There are also Google hangouts each week with a neat little tech gadget that allows you to “like” or “not like” what is being said. When you “like” the comment, you hear applause (I thought that was a cute trick!) And there are conversation or discussion boards where you can post comments regarding a specified topic and you can read and think about what others are saying.

I did learn quite a bit from this course. It is difficult to modify behavior or engage individuals, and this course talked about the science of engagement and what it takes to engage people. And of course, you can apply the strategies and lessons learned to reach your own personal health goals, to help others reach theirs, to create innovative healthcare solutions on a small or large scale, or to be a more empathetic and inclusive healthcare provider.

I spoke with Dr Larry Chu, one of the designers of the course. Dr Chu is Associate Professor of Anesthesia on the faculty of the Stanford University School of Medicine and studies how information technologies can be used to improve medical education and collaborates with researchers in simulation and computer science at Stanford to study how cognitive aids can improve health care outcomes. Dr Chu is the Executive Director of Stanford Medicine X.


Dr Chu explained that through Medicine X and the new Stanford Medicine X Academy, he wants to offer 2 certificates of learning; one for industry leaders and healthcare providers (HCPs) and another for patients.  The current course that I am taking is geared towards the HCP audience and will be required for that certificate. Courses for the certificate offered specifically for patients are due to start Spring 2015. From the website  :

“The certificate, awarded by Stanford Medicine X, will focus on the what, how, why and strategies for becoming ePatient leaders.”

Dr Chu is dedicated to the idea of patient engagement and empowerment. And he is dedicated to providing accessibility to education. When asked to give his thoughts on the course and why he created the Stanford Medicine X Academy, he answered,

“Online courses like this one provide accessibility to education. The course is about what it means to engage patients for industry and healthcare providers. True engagement requires culture change, and starting a discussion is a first step. I am happy with the discussions around the course potential. Courses like this one can be powerful tools to get people to think about the issues of engagement.”

Please consider going to the Medicine X website and watching some of the videos, reading their blog or perhaps enrolling in one of their courses. There is a spring course offered in Design for Health – design innovation to improve healthcare – that sounds very interesting.