Patient Engagement has become the buzzword in today’s healthcare system. Almost every Healthcare IT competitors have tried to impart an education around Patient Engagement Solutions through countless articles, blogs, studies, and whitepapers. Patient Engagement has such a significant impact on improving the quality of patient care and reducing healthcare costs that in 2013, an editorial journal of Health Affairs has even labeled patient engagement as “The blockbuster drug of the century,”. Several others also say “The future of healthcare is being shaped largely by the Patient Engagement Evolution.”
So what exactly is patient engagement and why does it matter?
Patient engagement is the key strategy to let patients participate in their healthcare plans. It comprises tools, technologies, and actions taken by patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to promote informed decision-making to encourage improved health outcomes. The reason patient engagement has become a BUZZWORD is that it carries shreds of evidence that supports improved patient outcomes at a lower cost of care.
Today, the healthcare industry is finally coping up with the rest of the businesses in the world. Lately, it is recognizing that to grow successfully in the competitive marketplace, patients need to be treated as consumers. Patients need more information, knowledge, reminders, quality time, and accountability toward their health. When patients have a high level of engagement with their health care, there are usually more favorable outcomes with their wellness.
How technology plays a crucial role in patient engagement?
We live in a world where 5G is on its verge. The 4G internet has already made it easy for us to socialize, engage, and get connected to any corner of the world on our fingertips. Since Social Media has been a part of our life, people are now wanting to bring the same level of engagement from their healthcare providers. They want their health to be discussed in routine life within the open channels of technology.
Related Article: Top 5 Healthcare IT Trends In Patient Engagement Technology
We are living in a connected and engaged society. Just like social media applications, patients are now demanding to have healthcare applications to monitor their health activities. They are looking for tools that can be easily managed and used, tools that help them to focus on collecting and analyzing health data, to be in constant communication with healthcare providers, and to get an education on how to manage healthcare at home. Therefore, technologies such as wearable devices, patient portal software, and Electronic Health Records, are aimed at improving the overall patient experience in the healthcare environment.
How to gauge the level of patient engagement?
To gauge the level of patient engagement, providers should ask themselves three simple questions
- What activities you are doing to educate your patient?
- What activities you are you doing to encourage your patients?
- What activities you are doing to empower your patients?
Patient engagement needs action that must begin and be sustained by the individual. It is also through the encouragement of the provider that patients learn to utilize tools and technology for improved healthcare results. If neither the provider nor the patient is interested in the utilization of these technologies, then no one will benefit from them.
What are the benefits of patient engagement?
Reduced costs: Technology such as EMR/EHR can help promote workflow through the use of shared healthcare information. They can reduce errors, improve scheduling, insurance, and payments.
Increased communication: Through the use of technology, physicians and patients can communicate with one another more often and provide updates on the patients’ condition.
Increased patient satisfaction: Through increased communication and more information on healthcare information exchange, patients become more confident about their healthcare conditions and diagnoses they receive.
Population health analysis: Through the improvement in gathering health-related information, the data scientist can analyze public health data and identify healthcare trends and improve healthcare outcomes at large.
Challenges of patient engagement
- Difficulty in adopting change
- Using different communication preferences
- Lack of health information exchanges
- Difficulty in utilizing new technology
- Operational and implementation challenges
- Workforce reluctance
What technology can improve patient engagement?
- Patient Portal Software: Patient portal software facilitates extremely secure communication. This technology empowers patients with the information they need to manage their health proactively.
- Electronic Health Record: Digital patient records are a key part of helping patients manage their health. It also allows physicians to better coordinate care for patients.
- Automated Reminder Solution: Good communication leads to a stronger and closer relationship. This tech tool facilitates sending automated reminders and messages to patients as per their preferred communication mode, it may be a phone call, text message, email, or fax.
- Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring: Telehealth and RPM offer more convenient access to healthcare as it allows virtual appointments with doctors from patients’ homes or offices. It is getting popular due to different factors, including the aging population, long waiting time for an appointment, and difficulty receiving adequate health care in rural areas.
- Mobile Healthcare Applications: Nowadays, patients are positive to have self-control over their healthcare. However, they would manage their health with the least possible effort, and that too at their convenient time. Mobile healthcare applications fulfill their requirements and also meet their technology demands.
- Wearable Devices: Devices such as digital watches and sensors are useful for tracking patient well-being in real-time and creating a database related to physical activity.
As a healthcare provider, you might have understood the importance of patient engagement technology in your practice. If yes, then you must aim to bring in patient engagement technology that allows your patients to start engaging whenever they need it.
Just remember, highly engaged patients know more about their status of health. They are more likely to be involved with their healthcare decision making, and they typically take better care of themselves.
If you are also looking to get connected with your patients and ensure higher health outcomes and patient satisfaction, you must hit the link and avail a free demo of iPatientCare’s Patient Engagement Software and decide the perfect fit for you and your patients.