If you’re a healthcare provider, you’ve probably heard the same thing over and over: improving patient engagement reduces healthcare costs and results in more positive health outcomes.
But what does this actually mean?
Patient engagement relates to involving your patients in their healthcare journey through education, information, and shared decision-making.
Multiple national and international studies have shown that patients who are better engaged in their healthcare process are more likely to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and engage in preventive healthcare measures, thus reducing secondary healthcare costs.
These patients are also less likely to have unmet medical needs or delay medical care.
Patients who are more involved in their healthcare process report more positive healthcare experiences. They feel more educated and informed, and therefore more satisfied with their overall care experience.
Not only does improving patient engagement lead to better patient experiences and outcomes, it also reduces overall healthcare costs.
When patients aren’t properly taking their medications or following prescribed pre- and post-op instructions, readmission rates rise and adverse events occur, leading to an increase in cost.
Additionally, when patients do not understand what providers are telling them, this leads to a lack of trust and often sends patients searching for a second opinion.
But how is this problem solved?
Simply put, healthcare providers must provide better education and communication with their patients.
Implementing an interactive education protocol to help patients better understand their diagnoses and treatments in the office will ensure that patients feel more engaged and have a better overall healthcare experience.
Studies have shown that 84% of patients forget what their doctors told them by the time they reach their car.
Regardless of the level of care in the clinic, it is important to extend education and engagement to a patient's home. Best done with a digital care pathway sent to their phone or email, patients will retain information learned in the office and feel more engaged with their healthcare journey.
Having a mobile resource to reference from anywhere ensures that patients feel positive about their care experience and increases compliance levels.
Engaging patients through education and communication, both in the office and at home, builds provider-patient trust, increasing patient retention.
Opening the door for easy two-way communication is vital. Ensuring that patients have an easy way to report their health progress and outcomes is critical to providing a quality care experience.
Patients who do not feel they can report progress or problems to their healthcare providers are less likely to follow through with future checkups, leading to negative health outcomes and increased costs.
In today's healthcare system based on a value-based model of care, doctors must have a vested interest in their patients’ experiences and outcomes in order to stay competitive and relevant.