by Liam Selfors

Samsung’s medical division met with professionals in the healthcare field to research how new technology can be applied to medicine and asked one very important question: What problems are you not currently trying to solve?

It turns out that clinicians completely lose control of their patients at a vital stage in treatment – when patients leave the hospital and no longer have the rigid care of doctors and nurses.

Healthcare research widely agrees that traditional paternalistic models of care can be specifically prone to post-care patient disengagement, and has shown support for person-centered and person-directed goals aimed to inspire initiative in patients’ own treatment (Institute of Medicine, 2001).

This idea was operationalized by a highly reliable Patient Activation Measure (PAM) developed in 2004 by researchers at the University of Oregon that psychometrically groups patients into four categories based on their (1) belief that the patient role is important, (2) confidence and knowledge necessary to take action, (3) actually taking action to maintain and improve one’s health, and (4) staying the course even under stress (Hibbard et al. 2004).

Application of PAM shows a large gap in readmissions, medical errors, coordination of care and health consequences between group 2, having confidence and knowledge to take action, and group 3, actually taking the necessary action.

In his keynote presentation at the Wisconsin Biohealth Summit 2017, Dr. David Rhew, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Healthcare and Fitness for Samsung Electronics America, explored new ways to move patients from groups one and two into groups three and four by increasing patient engagement and improving patient outcomes through four major missions within digital health innovation:

  1. Focusing more on engaging customers than on just improving healthcare and reducing costs.
  2. Aggressively changing incentivization to be more proactive and preventative around digital health innovations.
  3. Increasing our ability to securely share patient data.
  4. Recognizing that data itself does not motivate and that technology must be adjusted to meet user needs.

Samsung partner, WellDoc, validated these missions in the development of their FDA-approved mobile application that guides diabetes patients called BlueStar.

The app takes advantage of the growing ubiquity of smartphones to coach patients on an individual basis with clinical decision support backed by artificial intelligence and large data evidence, making it easier for patients to take action.

“When you apply it in clinical practice and randomized controlled trials, it’s really effective,” said Dr. Rhew. “And when I say really effective, I’m talking about more effective than things we know today as standard medical care.”

In fact, this extra step in patient support has been shown to nearly double treatment completion rate simply because it creates a mechanism for patients to overcome the social inhibitors to acting on self-care, according to Rhew.

Rhew ended his keynote by restating his goal for healthcare and digital health to actively pursue consumer engagement in addition to reducing costs and improving healthcare access, quality, efficiency and overall experience through intelligent adoption of digital health innovation.

For more recap blogs and videos, visit our past Summit page here! 



Hibbard, J. H., Stockard, J., Mahoney, E. R., & Tusler, M. (2004). Development of the Patient Activation Measure (PAM): Conceptualizing and Measuring Activation in Patients and Consumers. Health Services Research, 39(4 Pt 1), 1005–1026.

Institute of Medicine, & Committee on Quality Health Care in America. (2001). Crossing the quality chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: National Acad