The relationship between health care providers and patients is evolving. It’s safe to say that patients are no longer passive recipients of medical treatment and care. In today’s modern health care systems, patients are now intimately involved in decisions about their treatment.
Advancing technologies have supported and accelerated this transition, meaning providers are able to engage with their patients at a growing number of touch points through the entire health care journey.
This personalized approach is paying off. Such positive patient engagement provides many benefits.
7 real benefits of positive patient engagement
1. Empowered patients
Empowering patients to make good health decisions in their everyday lives is at the heart of patient engagement. Research has shown time and time again that when patients are involved in health care decisions, they are more committed to the healing process.
If patients have a better understanding of their own health problems, they are more likely to comply with treatment protocols and generally take better care of themselves. They are also less likely to miss appointments.
As well as facilitating better treatment compliance, the passing of knowledge from health care professional to patient supports people to make better lifestyle choices. When fully informed, patients also become more adept at spotting signs and symptoms and don’t leave health problems to deteriorate to the point of it becoming an emergency.
Engaged patients are more likely to:
- Have a better understanding of their condition
- Feel able to self-manage their symptoms or problems
- Be involved in treatment decisions
- Feel confident that the treatment choice is right for them
- Understand the importance of treatment compliance and medication
- Be proactive in monitoring and prevention routines
- Collaborate with physicians and providers
- Feel confident navigating the health care system
The least engaged patients, by contrast, are more likely to have unmet medical needs and are more likely to delay coming forward for treatment.
2. Improved health outcomes
Increased commitment and improved self-care lead to better health outcomes. Patient engagement helps people to comply with treatment protocols and make healthier choices.
Patients who have better relationships with their physician are more likely to build the skills and aptitude to eat healthily, exercise regularly, and avoid risky behaviors, such as smoking. Highly engaged patients are also more likely to self-monitor, stick with treatment plans and take their medications.
Success relies on using data to identify the opportunities to maximize patient engagement.
3. Reinforces provider reputation
Competition in the healthcare sector is fierce, and just as in any other sector, physicians are now managing reputation online using dedicated platforms to drive positive reviews and feedback to their websites, as well as respond quickly to negative reviews on Google and WebMD.
Patient experience and reputation are intertwined – those who leave the healthcare facility having had a positive experience are more likely to leave a positive review.
So how is this a benefit for patients?
The healthcare market is flourishing – with so many providers how can prospective patients choose? Patient engagement and care experiences drive reputation and enable others to benefit from the best healthcare providers. Positive experiences lead to positive reviews. Many patients will venture out of their insurance network for a provider who is favorably recommended!
4. Better use of resources
A paper by WHO (World Health Organisation) on patient engagement states:
“Patient engagement is increasingly recognized as an integral part of health care and a critical component of safe people-centred services. Engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions about their care options. In addition, resources may be better used if they are aligned with patients’ priorities.”
Understanding patient flow is a prime example.
5. Recruitment advantages
The drive for better patient engagement doesn’t just have a positive impact on patients – it has a positive effect on health care workers too. People want to work in the best organizations. Improving the patient journey also enhances the culture and work environment, creating recruitment advantages.
Better systems and technology help to support engagement, but they are also vital in helping people in health care to do their jobs. Employer reviews matter too. Attracting talent in the field of healthcare is highly competitive.
6. Enhanced service delivery
A systematic review of 48 research papers in 2018 on engaging patients to improve quality of care found that patient engagement can inform patient and provider education and policies, as well as enhance service delivery and governance.
“The level of [patient] engagement appears to influence the outcomes of service redesign – discrete products largely derived from low-level engagement (consultative unidirectional feedback) – whereas care process or structural outcomes mainly derived from high-level engagement (co-design or partnership strategies).”
7. Reduced costs
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that patients who are more actively involved in their health care, experience better health outcomes and incur lower costs.
Health care facilities are under increasing pressure to deliver high value services, balanced with costs. Effective patient engagement tools, such as online consultations and remote patient monitoring can considerably reduce costs.
Engagement tools that automate time-consuming and tedious administrative tasks also help to reduce the total cost of care, both to the provider and the patient.
PatienTrak’s Patient Self-schedule, Web Check-in, Text Messaging, and Appointment Reminders improve patient flow, increase patient satisfaction, make the patient journey more efficient, and reduce costs. These communication tools help to facilitate positive behaviors.
Patients who are actively involved in their care are less likely to require hospital readmissions and more likely to be involved in preventative health care strategies.
Contact us now to get your patient engagement and reputation on track.