As the healthcare industry advances toward a patient-centric approach to delivering services, patient engagement has become integral to that goal. Allowing patients to engage with their healthcare yields benefits substantial enough that many practitioners are adopting new methods and technological solutions to encourage them to do so.
In this guide to patient engagement, we’ll discuss the importance of the process and the different strategies for improving it.
What Is Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is the process of making patients active participants in their healthcare to improve the quality of care, achieve better outcomes, and reduce costs. The process is significantly influenced by the relationship between healthcare providers and patients as well as different healthcare delivery methods.
At the base of this strategy is patient activation, which refers to a patient’s knowledge, skills, and inclination to manage their health and other health-related processes. Patient engagement employs various efforts aimed at increasing activation, such as encouraging patients to take specific actions or providing the necessary support to help them manage their health. The intervention methods can assist with tasks that are simple yet essential, such as taking medication on time or ensuring that patients receive preventive care.
The need for patient engagement is also tied to health literacy, which is the patient’s ability to obtain, understand, and communicate health information and services. Patients sometimes fail to take proper care of themselves or lack confidence in their ability to manage their health due to a lack of knowledge about their medical condition. When providers give patients access to detailed health records and ensure they understand and know how to use the information, those patients can start making informed decisions to improve their health.
The Importance of Patient Engagement
Patients actively engaging with their treatment process is a valuable element in dealing with various aspects of healthcare, from patient adherence to self-efficacy. These efforts are designed to foster a sense of confidence and increased knowledge within patients, enabling them to take greater control of their care — and by extension, their health. An effective patient engagement strategy can result in:
Patient engagement may increase the likelihood of positive health outcomes. Healthcare providers can achieve this through promoting health literacy and building strong relationships with patients. When patients are directly involved in their treatment, they are more likely to have a better understanding of their condition and the steps needed to improve their health.
Engaged patients tend to have an in-depth knowledge of the impact exercising, scheduling routine appointments, and other healthy interventions can have on their overall treatment journey. Meanwhile, they are also likely to avoid risky behaviors or habits that can hinder the success of their treatment. With this level of understanding and engagement, patients can improve care plan compliance, communication, and overall experience, resulting in better health outcomes.
Lower Healthcare Costs
Patients who are involved in managing their healthcare proactively keep themselves healthier and are less likely to need costly care. This trend directly ties into engaged patients seeing better outcomes. By actively participating in their treatment, these patients reduce the chances of emergency visits, readmissions, and other avoidable complications that would lead to high-cost interventions. Studies featured in a 2022 scoping review show that active patient involvement leads to long-term cost savings (Marzban et al., 2022).
In addition, patient engagement has the potential to reduce costs for healthcare facilities by ensuring efficient use of resources. When working with a well-informed patient, healthcare practitioners can avoid conducting unnecessary tests or procedures. As a result, they have more space for patients who need care, save time and effort, and reduce the financial burden on the overall healthcare system.
Patient Engagement Strategies
Healthcare providers can use several different strategies to increase patient engagement. Here are a few techniques that can lead to better outcomes, lower costs, and improved quality of care.
Provide More Personalized Interactions and Experiences
Each patient has their own unique medical history, lifestyle, and preferences. Resources and interventions should be tailored to meet patient needs in order to achieve optimal engagement. In fact, a Redpoint Global survey found that 75% of patients want personalized healthcare experiences (“Consumers wish,” 2021).
You can provide personalized interaction in various ways, including using the patient’s preferred communication channels, offering language support, or customizing messages to relate to their specific conditions. Patients are more likely to engage with their treatment when they receive care that makes them feel heard and valued.
Train Physicians to Connect with Patients Effectively
The relationship between a physician and a patient can impact the patient’s level of involvement in their healthcare. Training physicians to adopt methods that promote engagement, such as maintaining frequent contact with patients or educating them about their conditions, is important to establish strong connections.
A study showed that ineffective physician-to-patient communication led to 71% of patients not following the recommended care plan due to disagreement with the physician or lack of understanding (Lazris et al., 2021). Developing a connection with a patient is essential for creating an environment where they feel comfortable enough to ask questions or make suggestions regarding their treatment, enabling physicians to provide better-quality care.
Effective and meaningful patient engagement is time-consuming and involves various tasks that can take focus away from delivering care. Fortunately, the digital age has led to the development of numerous patient engagement technologies. You can leverage technological tools like our Practice Management Bridge® solutions to streamline administrative tasks and track patient data and experience.
Upgrading existing systems can go a long way in helping practitioners with improving patient engagement. Recent innovations allow easier health self-management, better communication, remote patient monitoring, personalized care, and education capabilities. Additionally, staff no longer have to spend time on certain processes, making operations more efficient.
How to Increase Patient Engagement
Rectangle Health provides various patient technology solutions for practices and organizations of all sizes. Our solutions can help healthcare providers improve patient engagement with the following capabilities:
- Online patient scheduling: Patients can make and manage appointments online using ‘Schedule Now’ or ‘Request an Appointment’ links. With our solutions, you can optimize scheduling based on various categories, appointment types, and lengths.
- Waitlist management with last-minute cancellation fulfillment: Easily manage appointment cancellations and remove them from the schedule to fill the vacant spots automatically.
- Patient experience surveys: Our solutions enable you to collect information from patients about their experience. We then compile a report based on the data to show you the results.
- Routine appointment reminder delivery: Our platform enables scheduling for appointment reminders that are sent automatically through two-way text, calls, or emails.
- Marketing tools to attract and engage patients: Our solutions feature a suite of marketing tools we can use to develop strategies for reaching and targeting the right people and keeping patients engaged with your services.
Benefits of Rectangle Health’s Patient Engagement Solutions
Our solution works around the clock and around the calendar so you can keep your patients healthy, your staff happy, and your practice thriving.
Various Service Plans to Meet Each Practice’s Needs
We offer a range of service plans to serve organizations of any size and specialty. Plus, our plans can be customized to fit your budget and needs.
You are not obligated to buy if you are not completely satisfied with our solution within the first 30 days. With our satisfaction guarantee, we’re confident the results will speak for themselves.
Increase Patient Engagement with Solutions from Rectangle Health
Improving patient engagement can have a positive impact on both your patients and your healthcare organization. As patients become better informed about their treatment and actively manage their health, the result is more positive outcomes and lower costs, benefiting everyone involved. With all the benefits that come with patient engagement, implementing effective strategies to encourage it is essential for securing the best results for your practice.
At Rectangle Health, we provide healthcare providers with patient engagement solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems. With our leading technologies, you can improve staff efficiency, patient experience, marketing, and your return on investment.