Factors To Consider When Implementing A Patient Engagement Strategy

Patient Engagement

Modern healthcare has come to be defined by patient participation. Healthcare providers worldwide realize that enhancing patients’ participation in their health is the key to unlocking improved outcomes, regardless of size or payment type. However, there isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy for patient involvement, just like there isn’t for other things in healthcare.

Many healthcare providers now prioritize patient care improvement to achieve high patient satisfaction. This trend results from several reasons, including increased public knowledge, rising public demand for better care, intense competition, increased health care regulation, medical malpractice lawsuits, and worries about unfavorable consequences.

The effectiveness of operational systems, staff competence, infrastructure quality, and training quality all play a significant role in determining the standard of patient care. The adoption of a “patient-oriented” approach is a crucial prerequisite. Since non-medical and medical variables play a role in current health care issues, a comprehensive system that enhances both areas must be implemented.

The standard of the hospital’s facilities, the caliber of its staff’s education, and the effectiveness of its operational systems largely affect the standard of patient care. Adopting a system that is “patient-oriented” is a crucial prerequisite. A complete approach that enhances both areas of health care is required because current issues are related to both medical and non-medical causes. The issue facing health care systems in developing nations is exacerbated by the need to balance patient equality and cost recovery.

Completely Non-Medical

All individuals working in the medical care system must acknowledge that the patient is the most significant. Patient care at any hospital is significantly affected by this one component. Unfortunately, financial constraints frequently result in subpar healthcare in underdeveloped nations. The implementation of management systems that prioritize cost recovery can remedy this. Our experience demonstrates that a system should be created first to draw clients who can afford to pay for high-quality services, and subsequently, such a system should be expanded to clients who cannot afford to pay. The benefits of this approach include high-quality care and effective cost recovery.

Most people concur that the success of a patient’s healthcare program, procedure, operation, or treatment is the most crucial patient experience metric. Unquestionably, patient safety and enhanced health are the top priorities. But after that, various factors—some of which may surprise you—impact a patient’s experience with a healthcare professional.

Healthcare patient engagement increases the rate your business gets new clients and retains existing ones. So let’s dive into factors that influence implementation strategies for engagements:

  1. Patient Participation

Giving patients a chance to express their views can improve patient engagement. We all like the chance to voice our opinions because it gives us a sense of ownership, but the healthcare industry doesn’t offer many platforms. People can complain or vote with their dollars if they are dissatisfied with something, but that is not the same as having the chance to offer suggestions or an overall assessment of their care.

Patient surveys are a terrific method to encourage a sense of participation in healthcare. It makes the reason that the more connected your patients feel with their healthcare, the more likely they are to engage actively. Surveys differ from other options in several ways, including the ability to choose the tone and focus of the questions, the relative cost-effectiveness of the option thanks to modern technology, and the ease with which they may be integrated with web platforms and mobile access.

Most patients have an impression of how the clinician responded to their tale and how they rated their experience. Professional doctors remind out that patients greatly value an understanding and nonjudgmental answer.

Even though it makes sense when one thinks about it, this aspect of patient experience is frequently disregarded and is challenging to measure. Healthcare workers communicate largely through their body language in addition to their words, from the medical administrative assistant who schedules the visit to the lab tech who draws blood. Patients feeling vulnerable may assume that a healthcare worker is judgmental or unconcerned about their circumstances, even if this is inadvertent or the person is simply having a terrible day.

  1. Participate In Joint Decision-Making

According to a study in the American Journal of Surgery, patient-reported outcomes declined when collaborative decision-making was absent from care contacts or did not meet a certain level.

Doctors and patients collaborate when choosing tests, therapies, and care plans based on clinical data. This process is known as shared decision-making. Making health plans and goals with patients is a successful engagement technique.

Patients are more inclined to comply with a treatment they had a hand in developing. Therefore, planning and communication must involve the patients’ involvement as well as that of their care team. To promote patients’ participation in their health regimen, care teams must educate and assist them in making educated decisions.

  1. Wearable Technology

Patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity that require regular monitoring stand to gain much from wearable technology. For many adoptees, simply choosing to wear a device represents a de facto commitment to improving their relationship with their health.

Additionally, these tools give patients a strong source of motivation and increased awareness of how to take care of their disease. Wearers can track daily activity or nutrition using gadgets like smartwatches or step counters. This gives them a greater understanding of how daily decisions might impact their health.

  1. Language

Interacting with all your patients, irrespective of language difficulties, is crucial to engagement. This may be done in practice by making sure the apps, patient self-check-in systems, survey builders, and online portals you utilize have translation functionality.

In addition, how you communicate with your patients—for example, avoiding medical jargon in favor of straightforward language—plays a crucial role. Regardless of your organization’s patient population, it is safe to assume that most did not attend medical school. Therefore, utilizing common, understandable terminology is a simple way to increase participation.

For instance, on digital signs and wayfinding tools across the hospital, oncology is replaced with “cancer ward,” or otolaryngology is substituted with “ear, nose, and throat care.” Communication between patients and doctors can also be made simpler in the same way, whether it happens over SMS, through web portals, or in person.

  1. Embracing Mobile Applications

By 2023, 74% of people worldwide are expected to own a smartphone. As a result, every patient engagement plan must consider how people communicate now.

Your patients, especially those under 40, are accustomed to living in a world where they can access almost anything via a smartphone and have a right to demand the same from their healthcare. In addition, the majority of patients are at ease engaging with their healthcare provider via distant technologies, including web portals (98%), mobile applications (83%), and SMS (77%).

Patient Engagement

Smartphones are the ideal tool for interacting with patients wherever and whenever you need to, enabling them to text their doctor, provide feedback through an app, or get relevant health information through your portal.

Staff official operating going through a record – Image from pixabay by Engin_Arkyut

Giving your patients the ability to use their smartphones, tablet, or laptop to book an appointment online, request a repeat prescription, provide feedback on treatment, or obtain the most recent health information empowers them to take a more active part in their healthcare.

The answer is straightforward: just like with mobile communication, patients should be reached through the most convenient and comfortable channel, which is increasingly the internet.

  1. Empowering Patients

Everybody is occasionally numb, especially when it comes to matters of importance like taking care of our health. Thus, patient participation may be as much influenced by the autonomy and motivation of specific patients as it is by the behaviors of healthcare professionals. Recent research on the variables influencing patient engagement with digital health interventions concluded that more motivated patients were typically more involved with their health.

But that doesn’t imply we should all go right now. On the contrary, the challenging problem of patient inertia places a heavy burden on healthcare professionals to make it as simple as possible for patients to take an active role in their health.

  1. Transparency

Ambiguity in the medical field is infuriating. And a lot of patients experience it frequently. It’s not a pleasant experience when a patient doesn’t understand what a healthcare provider is doing or about to do, what their appointments and treatments will cost, why they have a particular plan of care, or what their other options are.

The complexity of insurance or liability issues frequently restricts what providers may and cannot say. However, being upfront with each patient and admitting how frustrating it is will help build trust.

  1. Comprehensive Medical Services

 Making sure that all of your patients have access to the information they require should go without saying, but it is a key component of successful patient engagement. This entails addressing obstacles like language and visual and audible handicaps.

Hours of unpleasant, nervous waiting for treatment may not always be avoidable in terms of scheduling, but a comprehensive approach to treatment can help.

Research has demonstrated that these patients’ moods and general well-being can be improved by incorporating mindful wellness and meditation. In addition, meditation helps survivors—many of whom receive post-treatment care—have a better experience by lowering their worry about the recurring disease.

Of course, there are other methods, but their fundamental idea is to make patients feel better psychologically and physically.

Conclusion

Today’s patients prioritize convenience above and beyond the obvious aspects of the patient experience, such as bedside manner and providing effective therapies. This can be related to accessibility—how challenging it is to schedule and travel to an appointment when obstacles like great distances or linguistic hurdles exist.

The first step in improving your ability to interact with patients is identifying the elements that affect patient engagement with your organization. It would help if you chose the appropriate tools in addition to identifying the areas where engagement could be raised.

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About the Author: Micky Aron

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