We all know that today’s patients have expectations that are greatly influenced by industries outside of healthcare. They want instant access to their health information and online tools for scheduling appointments and messaging their provider because they can do similar tasks through retail and banking websites. If patient engagement tools don’t align with expectations, providers risk their patients looking elsewhere for care.
Because of the focus on the patient-as-consumer mindset, a sometimes-overlooked benefit of patient engagement is its role in creating active patients. In addition to providing the technical tools patients demand, patient engagement creates the opportunity for patients to become actively involved in their care, which reports show increase patient satisfaction and create better health outcomes.
Over the last several years we’ve seen the term patient engagement evolve and expand to mean “an established communication pathway that connects patients to their providers with the goal of streamlining care and creating better health outcomes.” Today’s patient engagement is centered around the critical two-way communication pathway between the patient and provider. The better the exchange of information, the better providers can activate patients to take more responsibility in their own care.
An active patient is defined as “someone who engages regularly in their healthcare, leading to better health and a higher quality of life.” In today’s world, becoming an active patient is almost impossible without leveraging patient engagement technology; it’s the catalyst that drives greater activity from patients outside of the office visit.
Today’s care can be more strategically focused on patient activation by providing the best access to convenient patient engagement technology solutions from day one. Below are just a few of the key patient engagement technology tools providers can take advantage of to activate patients:
- Patient portals: In addition to giving patients quick and transparent access to their health records and history 24/7, portals can provide instant access to test results and a way to securely message a provider with questions or concerns. Patients that may find it challenging to contact a provider’s office during regular business hours can interact with their provider at their convenience, which increases the likelihood that a potentially positive health interaction will take place.
- Automated surveys: Surveys can do so much more than gauge patient satisfaction. Capturing patient reported outcomes in-between visits can allow providers to monitor a patient’s response to treatment plans and intervene before an acute episode occurs. Linking surveys to diagnosis and procedure triggers can ensure patients in certain populations are staying on-track with medications and in control of symptoms, with the added bonus of creating accountable patients.
- Automated education: Information delivered at the right time to the right patient populations can have a profound impact on health outcomes. Campaigns can be tailored to everything from vaccine education to where to find the best low-sugar dessert recipes – reinforcing the patient’s role in managing their health.
To truly engage and empower patients, providers need patient engagement technology designed for each stage of the patient’s journey. Constant engagement is the foundation for better overall health outcomes and will ultimately allow providers to take full advantage of the value-based care benefits these tools provide.
This article was originally published on Healthcare IT Answers on March 8, 2023. You can view the article here.