Updated on March 9, 2021.
Patient engagement — involving your patients in their healthcare journey through ongoing education, information, and shared decision making — has a lot of potential for improving your outcome indicators and reducing costs. As a healthcare provider, you have a number of opportunities to achieve these positive results with your patients before, during, and after the appointment. Utilizing tools for patient engagement, like patient-specific patient education software and patient portal platforms, can lead to provider optimization. With these healthcare patient engagement solutions, healthcare providers have the tools to achieve the following goals: educate patients, manage prescription medications, communicate between office visits, send health risk assessments, and engage in shared decision-making.
Educate your patients with tools for patient engagement.
Engaged patients need to understand their medical conditions before they can take charge of their health. For instance, a patient with diabetes can make better, more informed decisions about their diet if they understand how blood sugar works through diabetic patient education. This generates better compliance than giving a patient a list of foods they can’t eat with no explanation. It’s vital that healthcare organizations provide patients with well-designed print and web patient education handouts. Successful patient education strategies must be easy to understand and easily accessible to all patients. In order to ensure that patients stick to their treatment plans, nurses should also be involved in education efforts. Patient education should also be slowly “drip-fed” to patients. Sending patients a short, one-page education topic once per week over a two-month period is more effective than sending patients a single document with the same amount of content. Patient portal adoption, which includes patient education and care planning in the portal, facilitates successful adherence to a medical plan.
A personalized patient education solution can save the practice money by reducing patient education handouts’ printing costs. Providing patient education also improves[¹] their levels of knowledge, medication or treatment adherence, satisfaction, and clinical outcomes.
Take charge of medication management
When patients forget to take medications or when prescriptions aren’t adjusted as needed, it results in high readmissions, adverse events, and additional costs. Healthcare patient engagement solutions, like prescription refill request software, provide a range of possibilities in medication management. Healthcare providers can create text or mobile app reminders to fill prescriptions and take meds, engage patients in tracking side effects and changes in how they feel, and use the platform to check in with patients about their medications between appointments. These tools for patient engagement allow you to increase compliance with regimens that are working well and act quickly to modify the ones that aren’t.
Communicate between appointments with healthcare patient engagement solutions.
The majority of a patient’s time is spent outside of your office, but what happens during that time has a huge impact on outcomes. That’s why it’s especially important that patient engagement continues between appointments. Bidirectional patient messaging through patient portal adoption is one of the best ways to educate patients, build patient trust, and provide patients with opportunities to contact you with questions.
A patient engagement mobile app allows patients to communicate with their healthcare provider at any time from anywhere using their mobile devices.
Improved[²] patient-provider communication saves time and money and helps provide patients with relevant health information. At the diagnostic stage, engaging a patient in effective, open communication to fully understand the issue increases a doctor’s ability to arrive at the correct conclusion. At the treatment stage, a patient who understands their condition and takes an active role in their care is more likely to comply with a treatment plan. An increase in treatment adherence decreases readmission rates saving time and money.
Engage patients in decisions.
Patient engagement in treatment decisions doesn’t mean that doctors are giving up their roles. Instead, healthcare providers should be guiding a collaborative process where they support patients in understanding and committing to treatment plans. The result? Treatment compliance, improved outcomes, and lower costs. A study[³] of patient-provider engagement and its impact on health outcomes found that portal use is associated with a reduction in readmissions and length of stay.
It’s clear that there are multiple benefits for implementing healthcare patient engagement solutions. Tools for patient engagement provide an opportunity for healthcare organizations to increase patient engagement, promote loyalty, better manage costs, and increase workflow efficiencies.
- Timmers, T., Janssen, L., Kool, R.B. and Kremer, J.A. (2020). Educating Patients by Providing Timely Information Using Smartphone and Tablet Apps: Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(4), p.e17342.
- Portz, J.D., Bayliss, E.A., Bull, S., Boxer, R.S., Bekelman, D.B., Gleason, K. and Czaja, S. (2019). Using the Technology Acceptance Model to Explore User Experience, Intent to Use, and Use Behavior of a Patient Portal Among Older Adults With Multiple Chronic Conditions: Descriptive Qualitative Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, [online] 21(4), p.e11604. Available at: https://www.jmir.org/2019/4/e11604
- utexas.app.box.com. (n.d.). Box. [online] Available at: https://utexas.app.box.com/s/yf2pvxg37lr7w2921q4lit0byrh694t5