Ebook: How to Promote Patient Engagement at Every Step of the Patient Journey

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The Current State of Patient Engagement

Patient engagement: It’s more than just a buzz phrase in the healthcare industry. In fact, it’s absolutely essential for achieving healthy patient outcomes and running a successful, growing medical practice today.

Technological advancements and the rapid rise of healthcare consumerism have completely changed the game, forever altering the way care is delivered. Healthcare patients and consumers are savvier and more involved in their own care than ever before. They demand convenience, autonomy, transparency, and seamless digital and in-person experiences from their providers.

If their expectations aren’t met, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere for a practice and provider— and with so many retail health clinics emerging and creating an increasingly competitive landscape, growing practices simply can’t afford to lose patients to local competitors, especially when churn
is mostly preventable. That’s why patient engagement has become a key area of focus for nearly every healthcare organization, regardless of its shape and size.

Of course, it’s one thing to declare increased patient engagement as a primary goal and another entirely to accomplish it. Healthcare practices face patient engagement challenges at every turn, particularly without the right program strategy and technology to help bring their efforts to life.

In this eBook, we’ll tell you how to promote engagement at each step of the patient journey and discuss the tools and processes you need in place to make it happen.

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Ebook: How to Promote Patient Engagement at Every Step of

Chapter 1

Common Roadblocks to Effective Patient Engagement

Although nearly every healthcare organization today is committed to improving patient engagement, many practices struggle to navigate roadblocks. Each of the obstacles below contributes to poor engagement, which can have a significant negative impact on both healthcare practices and their patients, such as: Low medication adherence, Rising healthcare costs, Worsening patient condition(s), and Poor health outcomes.

Outdated Technology

Some healthcare practices still rely on outdated technology and processes to run the show. Whether it’s a legacy system or a lacking patient portal, ill-fitting technology can really get in the way of orchestrating effective patient engagement.

Manual Workflows

Your practice staff and providers are likely already very busy, and the last thing they need is unnecessary, time-intensive manual tasks that slow them down and get in the way of helping patients. Not embracing automation is a surefire way to impede operations and fall short of meeting healthcare consumer and patient expectations.

Poor Workflow Integration

Even with the right technology at your disposal, poor workflow integration can keep you from taking full advantage of your digital solutions. Your patient engagement platform should be seamlessly integrated with your practice workflows to get the most out of your technology and streamline patient outreach.

Lack of Personalization

Your specific patient engagement program strategy needs to be tailored to your individual patients and their unique needs. Personalization plays an important role in delivering patient-centric care, even before a patient’s actual appointment. That’s why engagement strategies might change during each stage of the patient journey based on a person’s age, socioeconomic status, and health condition.

Disjointed Tech Stack

Using several disjointed technologies that don’t integrate seamlessly or communicate effectively is a surefire way to increase your practice staff’s administrative burden. Your practice can enjoy the full benefits of patient engagement technology by consolidating your tech stack into one integrated platform that incorporates various tools. An integrated platform provides plenty of advantages like allowing for one vendor relationship, minimizing data silos, and making it easy to offer a seamless patient experience.

Lack of Attention to Health Disparities

Social determinants of health (SDOH)—the conditions where we live, work, and play that impact our health outcomes and the care we receive—create significant disparities among vulnerable patient populations. For example, patients in rural areas are often underserved because they do not live in close proximity to a provider’s office. Others may skip out on care they need because of the high cost. Recognizing and addressing these disparities (to the best of your ability) is critical for improving access to care.

 

Chapter 2

Orchestrating Engagement at Every Step of the Patient Journey

Orchestrated patient engagement—or engaging patients at each stage of the patient journey—is key. To do so effectively, you need pre-visit, during-visit, and post-visit engagement touchpoints. Let’s talk about what to do (and what not to do) during each stage of the patient experience.

Pre-Visit Patient Engagement

What are some examples of pre-visit patient engagement?

  • Online self-scheduling options

  • Automated appointment reminders

  • Up-front insurance 

  • eligibility verification

Benefits for Patients

Online self-scheduling options and automated appointment reminders are becoming mainstays in healthcare today. They’re quick, convenient, and available 24/7—exactly what modern healthcare consumers are looking for in terms of a digital experience. In fact, at least 78 percent of patients would prefer to schedule appointments digitally, and almost 66 percent of patients are interested in receiving email or text notifications about upcoming visits. 

No one likes a surprise medical bill. Patients are also looking for more transparency around the cost of care—especially amid the rise of retail clinics, which typically offer prices and require payment up front. Plus, around 60 percent of patients want to receive notifications about costs that insurance won’t cover. 

Benefits for Practices

Offering patients self-scheduling options and automated appointment confirmations and reminders leads to not only increased patient satisfaction but also greater practice efficiency. Taking these proactive steps up front helps to maximize providers’ schedules and minimize manual work (not to mention burnout) for your staff, reducing the number of phone calls and the risk of no-shows.

Additionally, up-front insurance eligibility verification and payment collection is a solid win for healthcare practices, helping to prevent missed payments (from both patients and insurers) and ensure a steady cash flow for the business as a whole. 

Missed Opportunities for Pre-Visit Engagement

Despite increasing consumer interest, more than half of providers say scheduling is too difficult to offer as a self-service. If your practice isn’t offering online scheduling capabilities, you’re likely increasing manual work for staff and missing out on opportunities to attract and retain patients.

Failing to send automated reminders increases missed appointments while also frustrating current and potential patients. It can also lead to gaps in provider schedules due to increased patient no-shows. Plus, not taking time to verify each patient’s insurance eligibility and determine their out-of-pocket responsibility up front—in addition to payment collection—often leads to financial difficulties for patients and missed payments for practices. 

In other words, your practice can miss the mark before you ever see a patient—all because of a lack of engagement. 

Blog #73 [ABM] How InteliChart’s Patient Portal Addresses Meaningful Use

During-Visit Patient Engagement

What are some examples of patient engagement during a visit?

  • Digitized registration and intake
  • Virtual care alternatives (telehealth)

Benefits for Patients

Nobody likes to fill out paperwork—especially with a germy pen and clipboard in a doctor’s waiting room. Sixty percent of patients are interested in filling out forms digitally, and 35 percent say it’s a top motivator when considering switching providers. That’s why digitized registration and intake forms sent automatically after patients self-schedule appointments online are engagement game changers, offering consumers better, more streamlined patient experiences.

Consumers today also expect virtual care options like telehealth visits. Eighty-five percent of Americans said telehealth has made it easier to get the care they need, and 88 percent want to continue using telehealth services after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Telehealth is not only more convenient for patients but also more affordable and accessible, improving care access for underserved populations.

Benefits for Practices

Automating and digitizing your intake process is a convenient, modern, and efficient approach that minimizes manual work and streamlines internal processes for practice staff and providers. Patients are in and out of their appointments seamlessly with fewer paperwork-related delays. On top of that, telehealth visits are more efficient and cost-effective for practices, simplifying workflows while also meeting evolving consumer and patient expectations.

Missed Opportunities for During-Visit Engagement

Sometimes healthcare practices fall short of meeting expectations during the visit stage, as well. For example, paper-based registration and intake processes are outdated, inefficient, and error-prone, requiring manual data entry by practice staff. Manual registration and intake workflows can lead to waiting room backlogs, patient delays, and dissatisfaction—or in other words, a very poor first impression. 

And then there’s telehealth; adoption rapidly accelerated during 2020 and the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s here to stay. Practices that don’t get up to speed by offering virtual care options will likely lose potential patients to competitors that offer better, more modern digital experiences.

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Post-Visit Patient Engagement

What are some examples of patient engagement after a visit?

  • Automated post-visit surveys
  • Population health management

Benefits for Patients

The patient-provider relationship is the foundation of a quality healthcare experience. Patients want the ability to communicate with providers, share their opinions, and engage in shared decision-making regarding their care.

Post-visit surveys are a great way to nurture the patient-provider relationship. This communication can remind your patients of what was discussed during their appointment and increase the likelihood they’ll adhere to treatment plans, make healthy choices between visits, and take a more proactive, engaged role in their own healthcare. 

Benefits for Practices

Eighty-six percent of top-performing healthcare providers send patient satisfaction surveys after every visit. Automated, targeted surveys to assess patient satisfaction, and gather patient-reported outcomes improve outcomes and provider/practice reputation management while also supporting population health initiatives. 

Ninety-eight percent of healthcare executives believe population health management is important for their organizations’ future success. Targeted patient surveys are an efficient and effective way to stay connected between visits and to actively manage the health of various patient populations, such as those managing chronic conditions like diabetes. Sending automated surveys is also a way to address disparities caused by social determinants of health.

Missed Opportunities for Post-Visit Engagement

Engagement initiatives shouldn’t come to a halt after a patient visits your practice—in fact, quite the opposite! A lack of post-visit follow-up can end up leading to decreased patient satisfaction, worsening health conditions, patient churn, poor adherence, and even negative health outcomes. 

Plus, some healthcare practices are still not investing in population health management initiatives, which can impact quality performance and value-based care reimbursement in addition to patient health outcomes.

 

 

Chapter 1

Benefits of Implementing a Great Patient Engagement Program

Implementing a great patient engagement program—one that engages patients before, during, and after appointments—results in a myriad of benefits, such as:

 

Better Patient Management That Results in Healthier Outcomes

Outreach and engagement play a key role in patient management. Providers can stay connected to patients between visits and intervene as needed, which ultimately improves treatment plan and medication adherence and individual health outcomes. Plus, proactive and strategic patient management is a must for providers in the era of value-based care and population health. 

Increased Patient Engagement, Satisfaction, and Retention

It’s no big secret that the entire healthcare industry struggles with healthcare consumerism. Meeting consumer expectations is challenging—especially without the right strategy to engage and empower patients. Fortunately, practices and providers can increase engagement, satisfaction, and ultimately retention by delivering the modern tools and care experience today’s consumers expect.

Improved Reputation Management for Practices and Providers

With greater patient satisfaction comes better reputation management and the ability to market your practice. When patients are satisfied, it opens the door to attract new patients based on high ratings and positive online reviews. Additionally, satisfied patients are much more likely to refer providers to family and friends.

Enhanced Ability to Attract New Patients and Grow Your Practice

Engaged, satisfied patients and improved reputation management—not to mention smarter, more efficient practice workflows—all contribute to an enhanced ability to attract new patients, retain existing patients, and grow your practice over time. And in today’s highly competitive, ever-evolving healthcare industry, that’s a huge win.

 

Chapter 3

Using Patient Engagement Technology for Healthier Outcomes

All of these patient engagement initiatives and associated benefits have something especially critical in common: technology. More than half of health system chief information officers say patient engagement technology is a top priority in 2021, largely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sheri Stoltenberg, founder and CEO of Stoltenberg Consulting, puts it this way: "Whereas healthcare organizations may have previously gone through the motions of patient engagement enablement for value-based care incentives, the pandemic's dramatic shift to remote care and true digital health advancement has forever transformed consumer-driven patient expectations toward taking a more active, yet convenient role in their own care journeys.”

Of course, not all patient engagement technologies are created equal. A purpose-built patient engagement platform like InteliChart’s Healthy Outcomes, designed with patients’ unique needs in mind, helps achieve all the benefits of implementing a great patient engagement program and more, without additional heavy lifting for practice staff or providers. 

This way, your practice can enjoy the benefits of simplified workflows on top of better engagement, ultimately freeing up staff to focus more on delivering an exceptional care experience for each patient. On top of that, consolidating everything into one fully integrated solution—not to mention one vendor relationship—eliminates the technology and administrative burdens that come with learning and managing different systems from different companies. 

That’s what separates the average healthcare practices from the very best of the best—with the reputation, growing list of patients, and healthy outcomes to show for it. Access our infographic to learn more about why patient engagement requires a full platform and what today’s consumers expect from their healthcare providers.

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Ebook How to Promote Patient Engagement at Every Step of