Patients who don’t involve themselves in their care decisions are 34 percent more likely to get readmitted to healthcare organizations. Additionally, hospital readmissions cost $41.3 billion per year and so, patient engagement and satisfaction is critical. However, the process to engage patients effectively isn’t as simple as executing or updating patient information on online portals. Patient engagement heavily depends on the person’s willingness to handle their health and be more capable of doing so. By engaging patients, organizations drive positive health outcomes, decrease readmissions, and reduce care costs. Here are six patient engagement strategies to improve interactions with your patients.
6 Strategies for Patient Engagement
Table of Contents
Get Patients Actively Involved
Whenever it’s possible, talk to your patients and find out what they prefer, value, and what their goals are. As doctors, you can help them set health-associated goals after they undergo rigorous surgery like getting off specific medicines. You can actively promote healthy lifestyle habits in daily conversations and interact from the beginning. When you help them set personal goals, patients invest their attention and become more open to taking your advice. During the engagement, inform your patients about several treatment options that can assist them in fulfilling their goals. Then, you both can decide the right treatment plan to go for together.
Win the Confidence of Loved Ones
35 percent of participants find support from family and friends to be the most one of the most effective patient engagement measures. You can take help from your patient’s support group to help them let go of long-term bad habits like smoking or drinking alcohol. Your patients are more likely to listen to you when their friends hold them accountable for your tips. So, getting support from your patient’s loved ones is critical to help them with their short-term health conditions. Daily empathetic gestures like emailing a patient’s support group before you perform surgery and help them be there for your patient when they need them. Family members, friends, and neighbors offer support to the patient and personally involve themselves in post-surgery care. By involving them in the discharge process, 90-day readmissions for elder patients can reduce by 25 percent.
Build a Patient Portal
The patient portal is the most famous tool in patient engagement ideas space. It acts as a dashboard for patients to get access to personal health and payment details, and engage with healthcare personnel effectively. This platform is also integrated with other tools that improve functionalities like getting access to Personal Health Information (PHI), scheduling appointments, and contacting physicians tremendously. These portals also enhance patient-provider relationships by easing their experience significantly. It makes it simpler for patients to access their visit details, view and track their payments, and pay online partially or fully. 41 percent of patients who don’t get immediate access to their medical records online will shift physicians. Further, 57 percent of patients believe they’ll have a better relationship with their healthcare provider if they’re able to easily access data online. Organizations can also set up messaging centers to address patients’ queries as soon as it pops up in their mind instead of waiting for the next visit.
Offer Flexibility in Payment Plans
Offering flexible payment plans ranks high among the various patient engagement best practices. In many cases, availing healthcare facilities can come as a surprise to many patients. So, they might not have the immediate funds to pay you back. Since the rise of high deductible insurance plans, some patients may not be aware of the costs their insurers won’t cover. However, if you come up with an affordable monthly plan for them, they’ll stop avoiding your calls and pay you in installments. Through the patient portal, healthcare organizations can help patients understand the bill in detail, increase patient-provider engagement, and plan for payments as well. By understanding your patients’ financial condition, your organization can improve patient engagement significantly.
Use Remote Patient Monitoring
Growth in remote patient monitoring through apps and wearable technology is becoming extremely popular. In this technique, digital technologies can collect health data from patients and send them to medical professionals for assessment purposes. These tools ease chronic disease management, follow-up healthcare, and patient satisfaction management through effective engagement. Mobile tech, patient portals, and health records can provide easy healthcare data access to patients. 80 percent of patients are willing to share their health data with their healthcare provider to receive services that suit them. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 patients will use the health-related app their physicians recommend. Data extracted through these tools pave the way for personalized healthcare services. Various apps and wearables give real-time data to medical professionals to analyze and decide on proper treatment.
Provide Easy-to-Understand Resources
One of the most effective patient engagement techniques includes patient education. Even if your patients are well-educated in other fields, it’s critical to make them health literate. Through health literacy, they’re empowered to engage in self-care and manage serious illnesses easily. Many doctors are guilty of getting too technical when they talk to their patients. A huge influx of technical jargon will confuse patients and not get them interested in self-care. So, as much as you can, use simple words to converse with them. If you still use medical terms, take a moment to clarify what you mean, and ask if they follow. We understand that most providers spend 16 minutes or less with every patient. In such a time crunch, provide informational brochures or online resources to educate them further on the subject. Always leave your patients with the information they can read and refer to later to keep them informed.
“Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
This quote applies perfectly in the context of patient engagement. We hope this post tells you how to improve patient engagement through various techniques. Only when you relate to your patients on a personal level, will they follow what you’re suggesting with caution.