Adopting even the bestpatient portal software and mobile app can be a challenge for many medical practices, both in terms of getting staff on board with the new software and encouraging patients to use it. This is often the case, despite the fact that patients are increasingly demanding access to their healthcare online and that organizations can significantly benefit from the patient portal’s time-saving tools and features.
The good news is that successfully launching new patient engagement technology can be easy. It involves a patient engagement strategy that includes the right software, support from providers and staff, and an experienced implementation team. Here are three implementation tips to help you get started:
1. Communicate early on with staff about plans to implement a new technology.
Early communication with providers and staff about the decision to implement a patient portal or patient engagement mobile app will lead to a higher buy-in rate. It is important to provide as much information as possible about the technology and to be proactive in answering questions such as:
How will you integrate the technology with existing workflow?
What benefits will the technology provide on a day-to-day basis?
Will the technology create more work or alleviate tasks for the team?
The more confident your staff feels about the implementation of a new patient engagement technology, the more likely they are to accept it and to recommend it to patients.
2. Assign roles and responsibilities for overseeing specific aspects of the technology.
Implementing patient engagement technology will simplify many administrative tasks, but it is going to require making a few changes in order to handle some new responsibilities that stem from the software. For example, you will need to decide whether one person will be responsible for responding to medication refill requests or whether this task will be split among several users. The same goes for appointment requests and patient messages. Assigning these roles early on and providing ample training will help eliminate confusion.
3. Start a campaign to encourage patient adoption of the new technology.
Whether you want patients to use the technology to attest for MACRA or simply to help improve treatment outcomes, the first way to increase patient portal adoption is to raise awareness. A general campaign targeting your entire patient base is only a good idea if you have the staff resources, as you may get a lot of questions initially while patients learn to navigate the new system.
Another option is to start by promoting the portal or mobile app to a specific set of patients only – for example, those with a chronic disease. You can assign a care coordinator to help these patients find their way around the new technology, including the features that will benefit them and their condition most. You can also send emails to patients who opt-in, highlighting important features. By following these guidelines, you can be assured successful implementation of new patient engagement technology.
Is your practice doing all it can to increase patient engagement? Contact us to find out how a patient portal or patient engagement mobile app can help.
Having a post-visit communication plan can significantly improve patient outcomes by reducing the number of emergency visits, decreasing the hospital re-admission rate, and improving chronic disease management. Utilizing HIPAA compliant patient surveys is an excellent way for providers to gather post-visit information that enables them to monitor patient well being, verify medication adherence, and review care plan compliance, all of which improves patient satisfaction and help patients maintain good health.
Despite the importance of follow-up communication, few healthcare organizations have a robust post-visit communication plan in place.
A recent survey of 50 health professional and healthcare administrators conducted by Bridge Patient Portal, demonstrated that only 30% of organizations have an adequate post-visit communication plan in place.
The survey also examined the areas of post-visit communication that pose the greatest challenges for healthcare organizations.
Post-Visit Communication and Patient Engagement Goals
For survey respondents whose organizations do have a patient engagement strategy, when asked which goals they were trying to accomplish, the majority (59 percent) said continuity of care for better health.
Barriers to Implementing Post Visit Communication Plans
The Bridge Patient Portal survey indicated that there are multiple barriers to addressing the post-visit patient communication challenges According to the survey, the two biggest barriers for healthcare organizations are “internal problems with managing existing technology” and “lack of knowledge to produce a satisfactory solution.” Moderate barriers include: lack of internal staff resources, lack of budget, and lack of interest by management or not a priority.
The results show that post-visit patient communication is a significant problem for many healthcare organizations, and the barriers for adoption cannot always be resolved internally. For this reason, it is increasingly important for organizations to work with third parties, including patient engagement strategists, consultants, and vendors that offer patient survey software to develop comprehensive plans to improve post-visit communication and, as a result, patient health outcomes. With Bridge Patient Portal’s robust, HIPAA compliant forms and secure notification system to deliver surveys to patients you will have a trusted partner to build your organization’s post-visit communication plan.
Studies have shown a link between poor health literacy, increased costs to the healthcare system, and poorer patient outcomes.
50% of patients walk out of their physician’s office not knowing what they were told or what they were supposed to do. This can result in a range of costly health expenses, not to mention possible dangers the patient could incur from not remembering pertinent information.
Patients are often overwhelmed and confused by medical information, and may be embarrassed or to shy to ask questions or for further clarification. Furthermore, patients filter what they hear, based on their own health beliefs, values, experiences, and illness.
Successful patient engagement solutions not only rely on a patient’s willingness to manage their own health, but also on other interventions that encourage a proactive attitude, like preventative care. Once implemented, patient engagement solutions have the ability to have a positive impact on your organization, from both a clinical and financial perspective. They go beyond just meeting the Meaningful Use mandates and engage consumers in a way that improves their health and helps your organization run more efficiently.
Achieving effective long-term patient engagement strategies has its challenges, but with a well-considered multi-faceted plan, organizations can succeed.
Here we discuss the five essential elements you need to incorporate.
1. Be Accessible to Patients
Healthcare has already undergone huge transformations due to mobile technologies and research suggests that these advancements will only continue to increase. The proliferation of patients using mobile devices and tablets to access health information plus increased use of apps, smart watches, and other wearable biomonitoring devices highlight the importance of reaching consumers through mobile means.
2. Invest in Interoperable Data Systems
Interoperability, or the ability to exchange and make use of data from various sources, is crucial as mobile adoption continues to rise. Information systems must be able to capture and organize patient data for useful analysis and improved patient care. A perfect example is an interoperable patient portal that can sync consumer’s self-reported data with a health-monitoring device or a personal fitness app.
3. Monitor Data Effectively
Your technology solutions should allow you to leverage the data and help optimize patient outcomes. This will most likely require organizations to allocate extra resources (clinicians) to manage and monitor incoming data. Clinicians could then determine when to commence an intervention, or when to contact patients based on the metrics and conditions that their data reveals.
4. Make the Data Actionable
Effectively monitoring the data is the first step; putting the data into action is the next. Healthcare organizations need to ensure that their technology systems can interpret and present data in a way that is founded on evidence, allowing the team to make actionable decisions. This could be particularly useful if a patient is experiencing any negative or potentially dangerous side effects of a medication. Let’s say that a patient’s blood pressure severely spikes and they record and share this information through an app. Before an adverse event occurs, an intervention could be ordered based on the information generated from automatically accessing the patient’s health record, filtering the updates, and generating a notification for the provider.
5. Outreach to High-Risk Consumers
If we consider again the example above: when the consumer receives an automatic notification to contact his provider through his smart phone or tablet, that alone may not be sufficient motivation to trigger the consumer into action. However, if the clinician monitoring the data calls the consumer to inquire about the high blood pressure readings, provides information, and connects him directly with his provider, the level of engagement is found to be significantly higher than from automated calls alone.
As patients continue to evolve into healthcare consumers, with value-based payments becoming more common, organizations must establish very clear patient engagement strategies. The evidence is clear that engaged patients cost less and have better health outcomes. By incorporating a strategy that takes advantage of the available technologies, improvements in the patient experience will grow while costs will decline.
Patient engagement is a buzzword that has taken the healthcare industry by storm. The problem is that not only does it have various meanings in different contexts, but it is often a catch-all term for anything even remotely related to the patient experience.(more…)
Communication is an integral component of patient engagement, but it isn’t easy to accomplish – particularly due to the fact that people communicate, process and interpret interactions differently. There are some ways, however, to overcome communication barriers.
Healthcare professionals need to understand that successful patient engagement strategies require patience. In fact, developing a successful strategy, carrying it out, and experiencing positive results could take months or even years. The sooner organizations accept this reality, the greater chances they have of realizing success. So what makes for a successful patient engagement blueprint?
You’ve probably heard the “taking baby steps” and “walk before you run” clichés – and they certainly apply here. Whether you are implementing a patient portal system or increasing your outreach efforts through social media, establishing realistic milestones on your patient engagement journey will lead to a successful destination. Once again, communication is key here. You not only need to communicate openly with patients but with everyone involved in the process (i.e. office staff, nurses and physician assistants). Engage everyone involved to seek their input in order to gauge what is realistic. Remember, one size does not fit all, and what’s realistic for one practice may not be for another.
Another cliché that applies here (last one I promise!) is the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid. Implement simple solutions that can grow over a period of time. The simpler the better. After all, when patients are able to easily understand a new concept or policy, they are more willing to accept and adopt the change. Remember, most people are adverse to change, so simple and gradual solutions will make the transition easier. Once a simple solution is adopted by many, another simple solution can be implemented and then another – now you have momentum and traction!
Attracting the “Right” Patient
Let’s face it. Some people will not accept change no matter what you do or how easy you make the process. For those that don’t want to adopt or be a part of the strategy, fire them. I know this is a controversial topic, but remember what the engagement strategy is all about – better communication and overall better patient outcomes. The changes you make are ultimately for the benefit of your patients, so why keep those that don’t want to be a part of the process? Seek the right patients that want to be part of the engagement process while utilizing tools that don’t require complex integration.
The Patient Wish List
No patient engagement strategy would be complete without getting patient feedback prior to implementation. Patient surveys are an excellent tool for finding out what your patients want or need. It could be that they want the ability to schedule an appointment online. Perhaps they want patient education resources that can be accessed from your practice’s website. Or maybe just a symptom “decision tree” intake form that’s easy to fill out and that allows the doctor to know what’s wrong with the patient before he or she is even seen. Whatever your patients’ wish lists consist of, you’ll get a much better understanding from the surveys, not to mention buy-in from your patients.
Patient engagement is all about actively involving your patients in their health outcomes through collaboration, feedback, understanding and education. Communication is the common thread which runs through each of these key components which in the end will lead to improved patient care.