By Dr. Gregg Allen
Patient engagement involves inspiring patients to make intelligent and informed decisions regarding their own wellbeing. Engaged patients are known as “activated patients” because they engage in favorable behavior, such as managing their own care and health. This helps to lower costs while enhancing health outcomes. With that being said, in this blog post, we are going to reveal what patient engagement is and five of the most creative ways to increase patient engagement.
The importance of patient engagement
Before we take a look at how to improve patient satisfaction and engagement, it is important to look at why this matters. Patient engagement is vital in terms of providing a successful healthcare service. It is imperative because it enables patients to be entertained, fully informed, and make their own choices about healthcare. Overall, this results in a better patient experience and overall outcome.
We can see why patient engagement is critical in a study that was published on Health Affairs. In this study, 60,185 patients were split into two groups. One of the groups received “enhanced” support while the other group received their “usual” healthcare support. Enhanced support included more contact with trained healthcare professionals through email, telephone, and the Internet. The results show that enhanced healthcare support delivered beneficial outcomes in manner ways. For patients who received enhanced support, the following applies:
- Total medical expenses were 5.3% lower
- Heart surgeries were 10.9% lower
- Surgeries were 9.9% lower
- ER visits were 2.6% lower
- Inpatient admissions were 12.5% lower
Five creative ways to increase patient engagement
As you can see, there are many benefits associated with enhanced patient engagement. But what efforts support patient engagement? Let’s take a look at five of the creative ways to increase patient engagement:
- Provide education
There is only one place to begin, and this is by investing in patient education. According to the American Journal of Medicine, roughly every 1 in 2 patients with chronic disease do not obtain clinical benefit from treatment due to poor compliance. This is why it is imperative to make sure your patients are engaged and fully compliant with the management of their condition. Educational resources can ensure this is the case. In fact, it has been revealed in a recent study that 67 percent of patients are compliant with their treatment when they received educational materials.
- Leverage cutting-edge technology
From real-time location service technology that enhances patient flow to interactive tools that improve wayfinding, there are many different ways that you can enhance patient experience with the help of technology. One thing we certainly expect to see over the coming year is the introduction of smart waiting rooms, which give patients the ability to customize their environment.
- Use analytics to understand your patients
We are all different, right? We all respond to care in different ways. This is why it is imperative to understand your customers so that you can build meaningful relationships. This will enable you to tailor your approach depending on the patient that you are dealing with. Analytics can also help you to get a better understanding of your clinic as a whole. You will learn what you are doing well and where improvements need to be made, enabling you to keep moving your healthcare practice forward.
- Reduce barriers with virtual care
One of the biggest issues when it comes to enhancing patients’ health is when they are not able to access the care they need. There are a number of reasons for this, including social interactions or a rural location. Worryingly, 14 percent of patients who are chronically ill say that they do not get the care they require to manage their condition. So, it is important to look for ways to bridge the gap, with virtual care being a viable solution.
- Give your patients a voice in their care
Did you know that clinics that implement a shared decision-making program see their hospital admissions lower by 19 percent? This is according to a Mayo Clinic study. Patients will be more encouraged to participate in treatment that they helped to decide on.
Finding patients to connect with in the first place
Of course, patient engagement comes later down the line. You need to connect with people and convert them into patients first and foremost. One of the ways that you can do this is by making sure that you are present on all of the web-finding platforms that modern patients today use to find new practitioners. When they search for a doctor, it is important that your profile is there, with all of the required information and a positive rating. Doc360 is a great platform for this, as it provides an unbiased rating system, ensuring that other doctors cannot simply pay to rank higher than you on the search result pages. It is also provided by careNext, which is a trusted name in the healthcare sector.
Start engaging with your patients today and experience the benefits
As you can see, all healthcare practices need to put together effective patient engagement strategies. If you want to succeed in 2022, you need to look at how to improve patient satisfaction so that your brand continues to flourish. Use the suggestions that we have provided above to get started.
Dr. Allen’s success in the healthcare industry spans from his time as a board-certified family physician, emergency room physician to the founding Chief Medical Officer of Medsolutions and now as an Advisor at Doc360°, a highly trusted doctor search platform powered by careNext. He also sat as the Senior Medical Officer of Coventry Corporation and is a long-time member of the editorial board of the Journal of Population Health.