Patient engagement can help fix a broken healthcare system, reduce costs, and improve outcomes.

In 1996, Virgil Wong founded the Web & Multimedia division at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College. Over 15 years, he defined the Internet strategy for both institutions based on one central principle: informed and engaged patients will help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes.

Informed and engaged patients will help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve outcomes

By galvanizing a large community of chairmen, faculty, and staff members across both organizations, Virgil and his team created a portfolio of 120 web sites and over 76,000 web pages to accomplish this goal. This team was recognized for their work with nearly 50 eHealthcare Leadership Awards, the leading industry recognition for Internet solutions in healthcare. WeillCornell.org was honored by the Awards as one of the first successful healthcare portal web sites in New York. Patients were empowered with their own medical record information along with the ability to easily communicate with their doctors and submit electronic requests such as prescription refills and specialist referrals. Advancing preventive health is a crucial next step to fixing our broken healthcare system. Preventive health care actions, while difficult to stress during the often brief clinical encounter, could be far more emphatically detailed online.

Patients were inspired to make positive changes not only in themselves but also in the world around them. In 2010, the Web & Multimedia group helped to raise over $100,000 online for Weill Cornell’s GHESKIO clinic after the earthquake disaster in Haiti. Facilitated by both the Hospital and Medical College web sites, people continuously donated their time, money, and even organs to help others. As co-chair of the Clinical & Translational Research Science Center (CTSC) Cross-Institutional Web Portal Working Group, Virgil supported researchers in their lifesaving efforts to quickly bring new treatments to patients with incurable diseases.

Medical Avatar helps patients see possible healthier versions of themselves in order to inspire self-transformation.

In 2011, Virgil cofounded Medical Avatar LLC with Akshay Kapur, an EMR business analyst and IT consultant. Medical Avatar builds mobile apps for hospitals to dramatically increase patient engagement for significantly improved patient outcomes. The app is designed to filter a hospital’s web site into a direct reflection of the patient’s interests based on symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. Interactive 3-D anatomical models are personalized for each patient’s use to visualize their health information in the past, present, and future. Medical Avatar helps patients see potential healthier versions of themselves in order to inspire self-transformation. Advancing preventive health, perhaps led by the patients themselves, is a crucial next step to fixing our broken healthcare system.