As providers approach the new year, it is important to have a well-founded understanding of how to lead your patients to success. There is a common misconception that patients are not excited about their personal care, and that is not always the case. Given the right structure and tools, patients will take a more active role in their personal care, which will set them up for success in their overall health. With a more hands-on approach, patients can reduce their health risks, increase favorable health outcomes, and improve their overall experience with their healthcare providers. How is all of this possible?
The key word that providers should focus on: patient engagement. Patient engagement is vital to the success of not only a patient, but to that of the practice as well. Without the patient being personally invested in their medical care, providers miss a key component of what builds a well-rounded and blossoming practice. So, what are the features that help a patient become more engaged in their medical care? And why are they so important?
Importance of Increasing Patient Engagement
When a patient avoids their provider a few things happen. They ignore symptoms, then those symptoms get worse, and those symptoms grow into disease and illness that ends up causing lifelong problems for that patient. If a patient manages to see their provider for one visit, with no follow-ups, they then forget to stay on top of their medication or lose track of when their next test is supposed to take place. Without patient engagement or a patient’s interest in their own health, patient outcomes decline and the wellness of patients turns grim. Patient engagement is so important because it helps patients understand the importance of staying on top of their health, improving their health outcomes and improving their lives. With patient engagement, there is a greater relationship between patient and provider that leads to increased visits, regular testing, managed medication, and an overall wellness that is impossible to achieve without the patient’s help.
Tools for Increasing Patient Engagement
1) The Patient Portal
While this tool is not new to the world of healthcare technology, it is critical that providers understand how important the patient portal is to increase patient engagement. In the digital age, patients would rather log onto their computer to schedule appointments, communicate with their provider, or check test results than talk on the phone to do those same things. The patient portal is the space that allows patients to complete all of these tasks plus more in one secure software without having to call the office. It is quicker for them, it is not limited to office hours, and it creates the feeling that their provider is accessible. For providers looking to increase patient engagement, creating an environment where they are accessible is important if they want their patients to stay involved. The patient portal increases patient engagement by giving patients a digital entryway to their providers outside of the normal office visits.
2) Remote Monitoring
High-risk patients have been at risk in the past by not getting the monitoring the need. This has resulted in long hospital stays that are costly for the patient. Or it results in the patient avoiding their high-risk health and complicating things farther. Remote monitoring has increased patient engagement by giving patients a way to stay home and get the care they need, at the cost they need. This is accomplished by syncing home monitoring devices, so their provider can track their vitals while they are comfortable at home. This motivates the patient to communicate with their provider and helps the provider understand the condition of the patient without inconveniencing the patient.
The third tool that will aid your effort to increase patient is telehealth. Telehealth is what patients want to see from their providers in terms of patient engagement. As we approach 2019, there is not a provider in the country that should not offer this tool. It extends patients that same increased access to their provider, in a more convenient way. Without having to disrupt their day, patients can visit with their provider from the comfort of their home. Providers can give patients geo-based pharmacy recommendations to help patients easily pick up their prescriptions, making the process simple and effortless. Telehealth is crucial to increasing patient engagement.
Help your patients see how simple it can be to play a more active role in their personal care. Increased patient engagement will not only help to improve your patients’ overall wellbeing, but it will build your practice up. By promoting regular visits, testing, and payments, increased patient engagement improves the outcomes of your practice as well.
Interested in tools that can help increase patient engagement at your practice? Contact our team to discuss which options will work best for your patient-base.