The fundamental goal for today’s healthcare organizations is providing the highest quality of care, and patient engagement is one of the key factors in enhancing better outcomes.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Effectively engaging patients…is essential to improve health outcomes, improve satisfaction with the care experience, reduce costs, and even benefit the clinician experience.”
Engaged patients who actively participate in healthcare decision-making experience significant benefits as they tend to express higher satisfaction levels with their care and increased knowledge about conditions, tests, and treatments.
These patients also develop more realistic expectations about the benefits and harms of medical procedures and are more likely to stay on track with screenings, diagnostics, or treatment plans.
In many cases, fully engaged patients gain greater self-confidence, reducing health-related anxiety and improving health outcomes. Additionally, they are less likely to receive tests or procedures that may be unnecessary, which equates to significant savings for the healthcare organization.
A seamless and efficient patient engagement experience demands the collaboration not only of the healthcare organization but also the active participation of the patient. With PatientTrak, our customized solutions empower your patients to take responsibility for their healthcare journey by configuring specific workflows, patient types and policies.
By implementing established patient engagement strategies, you can inspire your healthcare community to assume responsibility for their well-being and work towards achieving improved healthcare outcomes and greater savings.
What Is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is the active participation and involvement of patients in their healthcare. It encompasses a wide range of activities, including understanding health conditions, making informed decisions, and taking proactive steps to manage their well-being.
Not just a buzzword in healthcare, patient engagement is a fundamental shift in the way healthcare is delivered and received. It recognizes that patients are not passive recipients of care but integral partners in their healthcare journey.
This shift has far-reaching implications, as it empowers individuals to take control of their health, improves communication between patients and healthcare providers, and ultimately leads to better healthcare outcomes.
How Patient Engagement Impacts Healthcare Outcomes
An international study examining patients from 11 industrialized countries found a direct correlation between engagement and healthcare quality. The Commonwealth Fund survey found these patients, all with complex health needs, experienced a higher quality of care, lower medical error rates, and greater fulfillment in healthcare experience in countries with higher levels of engagement.
Effective patient engagement enhances the quality of the patient-provider relationship, as those who feel heard and respected are more likely to openly communicate their concerns and preferences.
This improved communication can lead to early detection of health issues and timely interventions, reducing the burden of chronic diseases, the risk of complications and hospital readmissions and promoting overall well-being.
Moreover, engaged patients are often proactive in preventive care and health maintenance, and they are more likely to adhere to prescribed medications and treatment regimens, reducing the risk of complications and hospital readmissions.
Studies conducted by Judith Hibbard at the University of Oregon revealed that patients with higher levels of “activation” in managing their health experienced improved health outcomes at reduced costs compared to less activated patients.
Hibbard’s “patient activation measure,” which quantifies patient engagement levels, analyzed over 30,000 patients and demonstrated that those with lower activation scores (indicating less confidence and skills in self-management) incurred 8 to 21 percent higher costs than highly activated patients, even after adjusting for health status and other variables. This survey highlights the strong influence of activation scores on healthcare costs.
As patient engagement becomes a central focus in healthcare, it transforms the healthcare system by promoting a patient-centered approach. PatientTrak understands this shift and the benefit to individuals and their providers.
Our customized technology can reduce healthcare costs, improve the efficiency of health offices, and enhance the overall quality of care, making it a vital component of modern healthcare practices by simplifying access to healthcare and information sharing.
Benefits of Improved Patient Engagement
Improved patient engagement yields a host of positive outcomes impacting individuals and the healthcare system as a whole. First and foremost, engaged patients take an active role in managing their health, leading to better health outcomes. They are more likely to adhere to prescribed treatment plans, medications, and lifestyle changes, reducing hospital admissions, complications, and overall healthcare costs.
By taking an interest in their well-being, engaged patients confidently manage chronic conditions effectively, preventing the progression of diseases and enhancing their quality of life.
According to a Health Affairs Health Policy Brief, “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.”
Additionally, enhanced patient engagement fosters a more collaborative and productive relationship between patients and healthcare providers. Patients who are actively engaged are more likely to communicate openly with their doctors, ask questions, and discuss their concerns, leading to more accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plans.
This improved communication also promotes shared decision-making, where patients and healthcare professionals work together to determine the most suitable treatments and interventions. This patient-centric approach ensures that care aligns with individual preferences and values, resulting in more patient satisfaction and better healthcare experiences.
Strategies for Enhancing Patient Engagement
Open, clear, and empathetic communication is at the core of patient engagement. Healthcare providers should actively listen to their patients, address their concerns, and ensure that they understand their medical conditions, treatment options, and care plans. Encouraging patients to ask questions and express their preferences is critical to fostering trust and engagement.
Provide patients with easy-to-understand educational materials that explain their health conditions, treatment options, and self-care strategies. These resources can empower patients to make informed decisions about their health and participate in their care.
Encourage decision-making by involving patients in the treatment planning process. By discussing treatment options, risks, benefits, and alternatives and working collaboratively to determine the most suitable approach, patients feel empowered to take ownership of their healthcare decisions.
Accessible Health Information
Make patient health records transparent and easily accessible through secure online portals. Patients who can view their medical history, test results, and treatment plans are more apt to monitor their health information.
Schedule regular follow-up appointments or telehealth visits to check on the patient’s progress and answer any questions or concerns they may have. Consistent communication helps patients feel supported and involved in their ongoing care.
Personalized Care Plans
Tailor treatment plans to each patient’s unique needs, preferences, and goals. Recognizing and respecting individual values and circumstances can motivate patients to actively engage in treatment.
Leverage PatientTrak’s customized technology to enhance patient engagement by facilitating online appointments, calendar reminders, and health information storage. Patients using these features to stay organized and informed about their healthcare creates a valuable tool for improving patient engagement.
Encourage patients to monitor their health at home when appropriate. For example, patients with chronic conditions can track their blood pressure, blood sugar levels, or medication adherence. Provide guidance and tools for self-monitoring and discuss the results during appointments.
Boost patient engagement by seeking feedback regarding their experiences with PatientTrak. Listen to their suggestions and concerns, demonstrate a commitment to continuous quality improvement and use this information to improve your HCAHPS rating.
Support and Resources
Connecting patients with support groups, community resources, and online communities where they can share experiences and receive emotional support can help patients feel more engaged and less isolated in their healthcare journey.
By implementing these practical tips, healthcare providers can create environments encouraging patient engagement, leading to better healthcare outcomes and improved patient satisfaction. PatientTrak plays a vital role in streamlining many of these practices, making it easier for both healthcare providers and patients to actively participate in their healthcare journey.
If you’re ready to see rapid patient engagement and better outcomes, reach out and speak to our expert team today.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information; February 2020 Engaging patients in decision-making and behavior change to promote prevention
- Health Affairs Health Policy Brief; February 2013, Patient Engagement
- Health Affairs; 2013, What the Evidence Shows about Patient Activation: Better Health Outcomes and Care Experiences; Fewer Data on Costs
- Health Affairs; 2013, Patients with Lower Activation Associated with Higher Costs; Delivery Systems Should Know Their Patient’s Scores