Improved health outcomes and increases in administrative efficiency can work hand-in-hand for healthcare organizations
According to studies, engaged and activated patients personally invest in the choices and actions towards managing their health care – such as obtaining preventive care or participating in regular exercise – which leads to better health outcomes.
At the heart of engaged and activated patients is the relationship patients have with their providers. To strengthen this relationship, many health organizations are actively transitioning to patient-centric care delivery models with advanced patient engagement technologies. Not only do these digital tools offer numerous benefits in terms of helping patients become more accountable for their care, but they also increase staff productivity and patient loyalty, creating a win-win for providers and patients.
Improve health outcomes with digitized tools that increase communication
Active patients will inevitably be healthier patients. Technology that enables proactive care management and communication can become an important gateway to a higher quality of life.
For example, the digital front door created by a portal empowers patients to make appointments, request prescription refills, and ask questions any time they arise. There is no longer the physical barrier of office hours to restrict communication.
There are several digital “keys” available to maximize engagement opportunities via an online portal’s door, such as:
- Accessible online appointment scheduling
- Easy-to-use virtual care through a phone call or video chat
- Targeted surveys that track patient-reported outcomes and facilitate timely interventions based on responses
- Automated delivery of educational materials to patients with chronic conditions to help them manage their care
- Timely reminders about scheduling necessary provider visits to help patients stay on track
- 24/7 access to test results, personal health information, and secure messaging
Every time a healthcare organization adds another “key,” they are creating another opportunity for their patients and providers to work together towards better health outcomes while creating a consistent patient care experience.
Unlock provider efficiencies with patient engagement tools
Even before COVID-19, clinician burnout was causing headlines. Research showed that more than 70% of physicians were spending at least 10 hours each week on paperwork and administrative tasks. An excess of time-consuming non-patient facing processes was damaging morale and leaving staff physically and mentally exhausted.
Then the pandemic hit. And the toll COVID-19 has taken on clinician’s mental health is alarming. A recent study published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings found emotional exhaustion increased almost 40% and depersonalization scores increased almost 61% during the pandemic. The stress of the health emergency coupled with frustrating operational efficiencies created a perfect storm for burnout and increased job dissatisfaction – likely leading to recent nursing strikes.
Health organizations can’t control external factors such as a pandemic. However, they can decrease administrative burdens by automating many daily, repetitive, manual tasks. For example, automating clinical workflows related to post-visit follow-up enables staff to remain focused on enhancing care delivery and improving their patients’ health. Wait times can be drastically reduced with digitized intake, which also helps ensure demographic accuracy by avoiding manual rekeying of patient forms.
Recently, InteliChart announced a partnership with ENT and Allergy Associates, LLP (ENTA). ENTA selected InteliChart’s Patient Portal from the Healthy Outcomes patient engagement platform to optimize its patient engagement and consumer health care initiatives. Additionally, InteliChart’s API integration with ENTA’s NextGen EHR and practice management systems was a significant contributor to their overall patient engagement upgrade strategy.
“We went live on the InteliChart Patient Portal… and have seen a sizable increase in our portal adoption and utilization rates. We’ve benefited from the automated workflows InteliChart provides for portal registration, patient form delivery, and online scheduling, which has decreased manual staff efforts required to attain our patient engagement goals.”
– Nicole Monti- Spadaccini, chief operating officer of ENTA
Cater to the consumer to encourage loyalty and gain a competitive edge
Today’s patient is a healthcare consumer that seeks the same convenience, ease, and positive experience from their health provider as they receive from the hospitality and retail industries. Research shows if patient expectations for a seamless experience aren’t met at one practice, patients will find care at another.
There was rapid adoption of patient engagement tools, especially telehealth, during the pandemic. A new, higher bar has been set regarding the patient experience; patient engagement tools have become a critical factor patients use when deciding where to receive their health care services. Healthcare organizations that understand and meet the expectations of patients will be at an advantage in the marketplace with higher patient retention and positive word-of-mouth.
Health organizations like ENTA understand this, and through their investment and focus on their patient engagement capabilities, they are already reaping the benefits across their organization. From healthier patients, to decreased burnout, to retaining patients and creating a competitive edge, health care organizations of all sizes can improve their practices by embracing the right patient engagement solutions.
This article was originally published on Healthcare Business Today on March 15, 2023. You can view the article here.