As a healthcare provider, you are tasked with giving your patients the best care possible.To do that, you need a little help. You need someone else to get involved. That person is the patient.
What Is Patient Engagement and Why Does It Matter?
When patients are involved in their healthcare plans, it is referred to as patient engagement. Patient engagement is the rate at which patients participate in their healthcare planning and work with providers to understand and improve their well being.
This type of interaction is important because high patient engagement promotes a higher level of patient wellness.
Highly engaged patients know more about the status of their health. They are more likely to be involved with their healthcare decision making, and they typically take better care of themselves. They tend to exercise more, eat better, and receive more preventative care.
When patients have a high level of engagement with their health care, there are usually better overall outcomes with their wellness. In a study conducted by NEJM Catalyst, healthcare providers reported “that their patient engagement initiatives are having a major impact (14%) to moderate impact (34%) on quality outcomes.”
Does Your Office Have High Patient Engagement?
With clear benefits coming from high levels of patient engagement, it’s time to look at your office and see if you are actively working to implement and improve the provider-patient connection.
To gauge your level of patient engagement, ask yourself the following questions.
- What are you doing to educate your patient?
- What are you doing to encourage your patients?
- What are you doing to empower your patients?
Your role in improving the level of patient engagement is giving patients the informations, tools, motivation, and ability to take a more active role in their healthcare.
What Technology Can You Use to Improve Patient Engagement?
To improve patient engagement at your healthcare office, you can use the following tools and technologies.
- Patient Info Portals: You can provide online profiles with patient information so they can access and review their own health records and data.
- Online Scheduling: Digital portals with online scheduling services can make it easier for patients to remember to schedule their appointments and book them with ease.
- Resource Libraries: Provide both in-office and online resources where patients can find more information about wellness initiatives.
- In-Office Screens and Kiosks: Connect with patients while they’re in your office using interactive signs and digital screens that share healthcare advice and wellness tips.
- Social Media: Encourage your patients to connect with your practice on social media so they can stay up-to-date with wellness information you share.
- Email and Secure Messaging: Emails with general information are useful for connecting with your patients. Then, use secure messaging as a way to share more confidential information and individualized healthcare notes.
- Apps: Both third-party apps and custom apps that you create for your office present opportunities for your patients to easily track and manage their healthcare initiatives.
- Wearable Devices: Devices that you wear, like Fitbits, are useful for tracking patient well-being in real time and creating a database related to physical activity.
Technology related to patient engagement is continuing to improve and expand. Start small with tools and resources that are easy to implement. Then, keep an eye on future trends to expand your options for patient.
Tips for Improving Patient Engagement
As you implement processes and tools for increasing patient engagement, keep a few things in mind. Medical office managers can promote involvement by:
Prioritize engagement based on healthcare circumstances. Keep in mind that patients will need different levels of engagement. Patients with complex or critical healthcare concerns will need to be more involved with their wellness plans. So, create unique patient engagement plans for patients depending on their circumstances.
Create a holistic experience. Don’t focus on one part of patient wellness. Create programs and plans that relate to all aspects of well-being. Incorporating mind and body may encourage patients to get more involved.
Challenge patients to participate. Add a level of excitement and competition to your programs by providing patients with tasks that challenge them to take control of their health and wellness.
Reward patients for participating. Offer incentives to patients to get them to take advantage of patient engagement programs. Gamification and rewards systems are fun and effective ways to improve the rate of program adoption.
Set up systems for connecting and communicating. Don’t leave patients on their own with programs. Give them an opportunity to share their experience with others. Create ways to connect patients with you and your staff as well as other patients. Not all medical information will be appropriate to share, but choose non-personal elements that patients may want to share with family and friends (such as step goals, weight loss, etc.).
Include both marketing teams and physicians in your patient engagement planning. Successful patient engagement programs and incentives are created by both the marketing and medical team. You need marketing advice to increase patient adoption and healthcare advice that will lead to better health and wellness.
When patients are involved with their wellness, it creates a better situation for healthcare providers and the patient themselves. So as you look to improve healthcare outcomes, patient satisfaction, and the overall well being of your patients, look for ways to get patients more involved with their own healthcare.
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