Patient Engagement 2.0 – From Basics to the Future
Patient engagement is a term quickly gaining recognition in the healthcare industry. Patient engagement is all about healthcare providers and patients working together to improve health. Traditional healthcare focuses on doctors and nurses making the patient feel better. It’s a one way interaction.
But the importance of engaging a patient in their own health to improve outcomes is becoming more clear. Patients now want to engage in and contribute to their healthcare decision making process. Patients that engage tend to be healthier and have better health outcomes. Hospitals are realizing the importance of patient engagement and are using technology to further support engagement.
To focus on patient engagement hospitals starts by establishing the basics. But patient engagement 2.0 is the future.
How far is your hospital in the implementation of technology to engage both care staff and patients?
Use this quick checklist to measure the patient engagement evolution in your hospital and Download our Free Patient Engagement Checklist for future reference.
Patient Engagement Basics
Establishing your basics
Fundamentals of patient engagement do exist. You can’t just randomly start working on patient engagement. Any healthcare provider looking into investing in patient engagement will need to start with forming a strategy. A strategy that covers some or all of these basics. So, what’s your patient engagement strategy?
Connect with patients where they are
You have just launched your online patient portal and are mighty proud of yourself. A job well done! The bad news? A patient portal to connect with your patients isn’t enough. But think about the 92% of patients who own a mobile phone. Even in populations over 65, more than 78% of these groups have a mobile phone.
So it can almost be guaranteed that the best place to find patients is on their mobile phone. It’s the perfect centralized channel to connect and engage with patients and treat them as your customers.
Provide 24/7 information access
The previous point ties in with this point. Engaging patients via their mobile phone is just the beginning. You are trying to involve them and encourage them to access their health information. This shouldn’t mean them having to guess or figure out how to access this information.
Patients should be able to do and see everything related to their health without any effort. From making appointments to paying bills. And most importantly, they should be able to do it anywhere and anytime. Whether it be from their home phone, office cell phone or online at 2 AM. That is true patient-centered care.
Engage your care staff
Patients trust their healthcare providers. Trust is essential to successful patient engagement initiatives.
Patient-oriented initiatives begin with an involved care team. So make sure they feel included and understand the goal you are trying to reach. This will help them speak confidently and competently on connection options.
Patient Engagement 2.0
The patient engagement basics are mostly tactical. But engaging and involving your patients like never before, at all points along the care proces, requires more strategy. You will need to consider more advanced strategies. Strategies that not only back up the tactical moves, but show commitment to patient engagement.
Fire up your leadership
Committing to a future that centers around patients requires the leaders of your healthcare organization to be fully invested and energized. They need to actively work on developing and implementing patient-centered strategies.
These strategies shouldn’t just focus around patients. But should get their families and caregivers involved too.
Rolling out these strategies across all departments might take a few extra developments and training sessions. But it will be worth it in the end.
Treat your patients like customers
This concept is somewhat foreign to healthcare providers, but so simple at the same time. Your patients’ standards of engagement are not shaped inside healthcare.
In order to see more patient engagement within your healthcare organization, you need to meet patients where they are. This means treating patients like customers. This is crucial if you want to transition into a future of patient-centered care.
Customers want to communicate with their suppliers. They want someone to listen to their thoughts and address their concerns. Customers want to be able to have a choice. But changing patients into customers means an organization-wide shift. It requires everyone in the healthcare organization adapting to this change.
Your organization’s motto should be ‘our patients are customers who deserve attention, communication and satisfaction in their healthcare experiences’.
Of course technology should never be centered over patients… But technology should be used to leverage your patients’ existing engagement with technology.
Technology should be a platform of your forward-thinking patient engagement initiatives. Whether you use technology for clinical or informational purposes, it is always personal for your patients.
You can use it to gather opinions that outline the patient journey for example. This patient-generated data can then be connected with your EMR system. Or you can use analytics tools to connect the right patients and populations to the right informational resources, events and programs.
Technology holds so many opportunities for healthcare providers to connect and communicate with their patients. Technology engages patients and makes providers a partner and advocate in improving their lives.
Accelerating patient engagement starts with putting yourself in the patient’s shoes. Where would you want to meet your healthcare providers? What information would you want to know? What would you want to share with your healthcare providers?