Four Key Considerations for More Successful Patient Engagement Strategies
What is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is fundamentally about eliciting patients’ participation in learning about and managing their health conditions. This includes full participation in informed, shared decision-making that results in the best possible outcomes for patients and the healthcare system overall.
Engaging patients requires care delivery approaches that address their needs
The global pandemic and the widespread adoption of digital health tools have dramatically impacted how and when patients engage with healthcare. This trend toward increased patient engagement will continue to pressure healthcare leaders as patients become better healthcare consumers. With patients demanding more holistic and convenient ways of engaging with providers and payers, meeting these demands should be a critical component of every provider’s and payer’s care delivery strategy.
Key considerations for more successful patient engagement strategies
Successful care delivery strategies engage with patients when, where, and how they want at every stage of the patient journey. From booking appointments to follow-up conversations, it’s essential to have the proper modalities and tools in place to maximize engagement opportunities.
However, healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt digital capabilities that support patient engagement across the entire care continuum. And with new digital apps and platforms continuously entering the marketplace, finding digital apps that support patients effectively and improve patient satisfaction continues to be a challenge for many providers.
Understanding patient needs and wants makes it easy for providers and payers to implement effective patient engagement strategies. Care delivery becomes more convenient and accessible when patients have the right tools. Patients are more informed and better prepared to make healthcare decisions that improve outcomes and lower costs. Here are four actionable tips for improving your patient engagement strategy.
Endeavor to understand the whole patient
Clinical data only tells a portion of the patient’s story. Healthcare leaders need to view patients holistically and account for the social, environmental, behavioral, and cultural variables influencing their health. But operational inefficiencies within the healthcare system create siloed views, creating inefficiencies and gaps that frustrate and confuse patients.
The right digital tools and strategies improve patient engagement by mitigating disparate experiences bringing data together to form a complete view of each patient’s situation to close gaps and improve outcomes. Understanding the digital ecosystem and where each provider and payer fits in will help bolster a patient engagement strategy that results in more holistic and positive experiences for patients across the care continuum.
Track performance metrics revealing the relationship between patient engagement and outcomes
The use of digital health tools has given rise to many new patient engagement opportunities, including the ability to collect real-time information from patients, provide access to care and advice, and gather information on patient outcomes, including experience data. How providers and payers use this data continues to pose challenges across the care continuum. Many organizations struggle to allocate the time and resources necessary to draw meaningful, actionable conclusions.
Widescale digital adoption means patients are increasingly open to new and emerging apps and platforms that lessen patient and provider burden and improve the patient experience. By employing the right tools and modalities, providers and payers can engage with patients more effectively.
Use performance metrics to drive improvements to patient engagement programs
Providers and payers can overcome barriers to patient care and increase patient engagement by leveraging performance metrics to create more personalized care. Meeting patients where they are across the care continuum, adopting apps and digital platforms that improve care delivery, and connecting patients with the personalized care solutions they need based on demographics and social risk factors help providers and payers deliver more proactive care.
Providers and payers have the data needed to improve the patient experience through a more effective patient engagement strategy. But leveraging this data to make patients more informed about diseases and treatments and more involved in shared decision making takes the right tools and know-how.
Use patient engagement metrics to improve health outcomes and reward providers
Value-based payment approaches currently include various kinds of accountability measures that were developed for the fee-for-service system. These measures should be replaced with measures that better fit the goals of value-based care. Future measures, especially those that evaluate patient experience and patient-reported outcomes, should require patients engage in their healthcare. Rewarding providers who find better ways to keep patient healthy helps both payers and providers drive down costs and improve patient health.
In 2022 and beyond, digital health technologies and other approaches will continue to be implemented to enhance patient engagement, collect real-time patient information, anticipate patient needs, and personalize care. The goal is to improve health outcomes and patient experience, including performance on the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey.
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