Patient Engagement: What is Important in 2019?

With each year that passes, providers find themselves asking how they can keep their patients effectively engaged? Throughout time, the way this is accomplished has evolved. Where communication once took place in person, it is now almost entirely digital. Our understanding of what works in terms of educating our patients on their personal health, communicating with them when questions arise, and what empowers them to make changes in their life keeps evolving. While many providers are ahead of the curve when it comes to patient engagement, many are still struggling to transition into accomplishing high levels in 2019. The truth is, what was important 10 years ago, is not what is important today. If providers want to increase patient engagement at their practice, they need to understand its impact on all areas of their practice as well as what tools to use to improve it. Keep reading to learn more about how to increase patient engagement in 2019.

How Does Patient Engagement Impact My Practice?

1)    Outcomes

Patient engagement by definition is the level at which patients are personally engaged with their medical care and providers. It is how educated a patient is on their own health, how often they interact with their providers, and how compliant they are in the progress of their care. When patient engagement levels are high in a medical practice, providers see an increased number of good outcomes. Patients are addressing more areas of their health which improves those areas overall.

2)    Revenue

Maintaining high levels of patient engagement has a huge impact on practice revenue. Patients who are better-engaged, visit with their providers more often, are more compliant with follow-up care and complete their scheduled labs and tests. By increasing the completed amount of billable services, providers see a positive development in their practice revenue.

3)    Patient Experience

Patients whose providers make an effort to keep them engaged have reported having a better clinical experience. Patients avoid their providers for a few reasons, the top being fear of medical costs and their provider not communicating with them effectively. By utilizing patient engagement tools, providers are better able to educate and communicate with their patients, improving the patient experience.

How can I Increase Patient Engagement at My Practice?

While there are many ways to increase patient engagement, providers need to make sure they are utilizing the most important tool. The patient portal has changed the game for increasing patient engagement in 2019.

Patient Portal Impact on Patient Engagement:

1)    Communication

Improving the lines of communication at your practice is the number one impact of the patient portal on patient engagement. Patients often encounter minor health concerns or red flags that they never address due to the inconvenience of an in-office visit. The patient portal enables patients to engage their providers via secure online messaging. The easier it is for a patient to ask seemingly simple questions, the more likely they will ask them. This improves patient outcomes by catching symptoms before they progress, increases revenue by keeping your patients plugged in, and improves the patient experience with a convenient communication option.

2)    Scheduling

The patient portal also simplifies a patient’s ability to schedule an appointment. Practice hours of operation usually parallel to a patient’s work or school hours. The patient portal enables a patient to quickly schedule an appointment with their physician the moment they think of it, even outside operating hours. It also enables them to cancel and reschedule existing appointments if something comes up. This encourages your patients to schedule more appointments, positively impacting patient engagement.

3)    Reminders

Whether it be a regular check-up or an important lab, patients sometimes forget their appointments. The patient portal offers text and email reminders for patients with any upcoming appointments, increasing the likelihood they will make that visit. The patient portal also increases patient engagement by making patients aware of any annual visits, testing, or labs that are coming up, keeping them compliant with their personal care. This impacts revenue by increasing the number of completed visits but also improves outcomes by helping your patients complete routine medical care.

4)    Billing

Lastly, the patient portal positively impacts patient engagement by including an interactive billing tool. This feature of the patient portal enables patients to better view and understand their medical bill, eliminating any fear surrounding it. With payment integration, patients are able to make secure credit card payments, increasing the likelihood that they pay their bill at all. By educating your patients on their responsibility toward their bill and offering them convenient ways to make payments, providers see a positive impact on the patient experience, revenue, and patient engagement overall.

To learn more about how to integrate a quality patient portal into your practice, click here.