In the healthcare world, patient engagement essentially means patients engaged in info and making decisions regarding their illnesses, treatment options and symptoms. A more detailed definition of the term includes a partnership between, patients and their healthcare provider. Clinicians regularly communicate and engage with the patients under their care and the patients help them make decisions and manage their various conditions.
Merely reaching out to patients to provide them with options and information is not enough for nurses and doctors. If patients fail to respond and help experts with managing their health, they aren’t engaged. Also, patients should not just collect information and ask doctors loads of questions. If the latter do not provide enough education, stimulate involvement and encourage healthy habits, they will not be able to build patient engagement.
In order for patient engagement to work, both sides must regularly communicate with each other and stay committed.
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The Importance of Patient Engagement in the Healthcare Field
Since doctors are the experts, many of them feel that patients shouldn’t ask too many questions and just heed their advice. However, when patients are involved in the decision-making process, they get a better understanding of what they should do and show a stronger commitment to improving their health. High patient engagement results in cost savings and improved outcomes for the medical experts and the patients.
Experts conducted a survey where they divided sixty thousand participants divided in two groups. The first group received regular support from their healthcare coaches. Meanwhile, the second group got enhanced support. The results of the survey showed that enhanced support was the clear winner. Here are some of the findings from the survey:
- The total number of surgeries was significantly lower
- Visits to the ER were not as frequent
- Inpatient admissions reduced significantly
- Overall medical costs saw a massive drop
This clearly proves that providers and patients can positively influence patient outcomes and healthcare costs with the help of patient engagement. If you are still unsure whether this approach is ideal, let us discuss some of the benefits that patient engagement has to offer.
Patient Engagement – The Benefits
First off, it is worth keeping in mind that patient engagement can be challenging at times. The main challenge that healthcare teams face with patient engagement is the high amount of time they have to spend communicating with patients. As you would expect, organizations that actively engage with their patients spend more minutes per patient compared to those that don’t. This also means that the amount of people these healthcare providers see is low, meaning that their income would be lower as well.
However, that is not the full story. This is because patient engagement in the world of healthcare also saves time while increasing income. According to research, patients who are the least engaged have a high likelihood of delaying care and having unmet medical needs. This is especially true when compared to engaged patients.
When patients communicate with their healthcare providers, they take preventative measures to remain healthy and self-manage their health conditions effectively. So, when you take the time to develop patient engagement, you will essentially be improving your health and know-how to take care of yourself if similar conditions show up in the future. This has plenty of benefits for hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers. Here are some of them:
- Significantly lowers no-show rates
- Patients don’t have to make frequent visits, which means professionals can check more patients
- Scheduling appointments is not a hassle anymore
It would be fair to say that patient engagement can help healthcare providers become efficient, effective and highly profitable.
Tips to Improve Patient Engagement
As mentioned earlier, getting used to patient engagement can take a great deal of time for patients as well as healthcare pros. However, when both parties are on board and make the effort, the results are excellent. It would be best to start small and eventually expand the program. Mentioned below are a few tips to improve patient engagement.
Select a Group of Patients
The first thing that healthcare professionals should to is spot a common chroming disease in the patient population. Your patients could be suffering from anxiety, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, etc. If you are unable to identify a common chronic disease, it would be best to target people suffering from multiple chronic conditions. Consider choosing a group of patients that could use health management.
To make sure this is both manageable and valuable, try encompassing around five to six per cent of your patients. Once you create a list, reach out to them and explain your plan, and how it will benefit them and send them an invitation to participate.
Find a Care team Group
After choosing a patient group, the next step would be to select a group of clinicians to run your program properly. Some hospitals use nurses while others utilize multidisciplinary teams for working with patient groups. The professionals running your program will essentially be learning from it and imparting their knowledge to others, improving patient engagement in the process.
Utilizing Software to Improve Patient Engagement
Your patients and the care team you designate for them must be able to effectively communicate with each other through simple solutions that offer secure telehealth, video, text and phone functions. There is plenty of software available these days and utilizing them could be incredibly helpful for hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities.
The healthcare industry followed a provider-centric approach for a long time and failed to recognize the important role of patients in improving their well-being. It would be fair to say that this approach is quickly going away as healthcare organizations are adopting the more effective patient engagement model.
While this model can work wonders, healthcare providers must do their due diligence to ensure adopting it is hassle-free and doesn’t affect their patients negatively