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The Key to Engaging with Your Patients

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October 03, 2019

The Key to Engaging with Your Patients

Jennifer Morency

picture The Key to Engaging with Your Patients

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the move towards value-based care has put the patient at the forefront of healthcare, as it should be. With less emphasis on quantity and more on quality, the patient experience has become a recurring trend for practices and hospitals. The main questions revolve around how to better engage with patients and provide them with tools and resources that will promote health management and engagement.

Patient Engagement Programs

In order to implement successful patient engagement programs, healthcare institutions need to understand that they must adapt to their patients, not the other way around. Most of the technology available to doctors and practices consider their workflows rather than the patients themselves.

The healthcare sector needs programs that foster patient engagement through personalized, relationship-focused information sharing rather than ones that focus on solving provider needs. By building strong relationships, clinicians can have a stronger impact on patient behavior.

Of course, there is no cookie-cutter program that will fit to every patient mold. As every patient is different and approaches their health differently, patient engagement programs need to be adaptable and current.

This being said, how can healthcare professionals forge lasting, strong patient engagement programs? Here are a few examples:

  • Implement technology

    • From online reviews to social networking, many factors linked to technology can impact a clinician’s relationship with their patients.

  • Adopt a consumer mindset

    • By framing a practice’s decision-making around how patients want to receive care, they can build long-lasting customer service and relationships at every level of their care cycle.

  • Expand services

    • Through additional programs such as chronic care management and telemedicine, practices can deliver valuable care that is in high-demand and value-based focused. They also offer the opportunity to engage with patients outside regular office visits, further contributing to positive relationship building.

These are only a few ways that patient experience programs can help providers and practices better engage and collaborate with their patients on their health. Strategies surrounding these programs have even helped improve health systems.

Successful Patient Engagement Strategies

Delving deeper into actual strategies that can help healthcare professionals develop strong patient engagement and therefore better patient experiences, we see that there is a certain shift in the healthcare landscape.

Patients are being increasingly placed at the forefront of many care strategies as they demand convenient and customizable healthcare solutions. Due to this, healthcare practices are implementing certain patient experience strategies:

  • Patient-focused strategy

    • This strategy focuses on the patient, allowing them to control their health through technology such as wellness applications, health monitors, and wearable devices, among others. Access to such information enables them to take responsibility in managing their own health and expands the realm of care providers can give.

  • Patient-approach strategy

    • Encompassing various approaches to healthcare for patients, this strategy includes impacting patient behavior through technology implementation (wearables, personalized alerts, activity monitoring, etc.), engagement monitoring (through secure messaging, mobile, etc.), and leveraging data analytics to personalize or customize care programs.

  • Patient-family advisor strategy

    • This strategy involves including family members in a patient’s health management. By including other parties, providers can increase their patient’s chance at understanding and implementing certain health changes or processes in order to maintain or better their health. With the help of health advocates that are close to them, patients are more likely to apply certain changes and take their health more seriously. This allows providers to not only engage with their patients, but their loved ones as well, which also expands the care cycle and forges stronger relationships.

Whether it be patient experience programs or more complex strategies, patient-provider relationships can improve through every new approach implemented. By focusing on providing great patient experiences, clinicians contribute to what everyone is ultimately trying to achieve, which are better health outcomes.