The word healthcare brings images of doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medication. When you get sick or injured, you visit doctors at hospitals, talk to nurses and take medication. But many seem to overlook one crucial aspect of healthcare – the patient. This is where patient engagement comes into the picture.
What is Patient Engagement?
In simple words, patient engagement is the interactions between doctors and patients to help them make informed decisions about their healthcare. A dedicated patient engagement strategy ensures lasting health and better clinical outcomes.
Why should you have a Patient Engagement System?
Research shows that patients who are proactively involved in their care lead healthier lives. An efficient patient engagement framework involves timely follow-ups, adjusting medication, avoiding certain foods or activities, and other healthy habits cultivated from interaction with doctors. It means a lot more than diets and exercise routines.
From a patient’s perspective, the rising cost of healthcare should be enough for people to have a patient engagement platform for interacting with doctors. People who undergo regular check-ups are far more likely to catch a disease early and begin treatment sooner. In other words, patient engagement systems help people avoid hospitalization, spend less on healthcare, and maintain better health.
Types of Patient Engagement Systems
The best way to enable effective doctor-patient interaction is to use digital patient engagement tools. The ongoing pandemic has accelerated the use of healthcare applications around the world. Here are some patient engagement system examples
Telehealth platforms enable live, one-on-one remote patient engagement from anywhere. This approach involving real-time video sessions brings the human element to patient engagement. The most popular and convenient means of doing so for patients are through patient engagement mobile apps. Mobile health or mHealth is composed of activities involved in medical care done remotely through smartphones, tablets, and wearables.
2. Patient Portals
A patient portal or patient engagement portal is a website linked with electronic health records to allow people to view their test results, doctor notes, health history, and so on. They’re platforms that empower patients to participate more in their healthcare journeys. However, with the growing penetration of smartphones and mobile patient engagement platforms, patient portals are beginning to take a back seat.
3. Health Data Analytics
Data analytics has helped optimize every industry, including healthcare. Medical patient engagement has become a buzzword for achieving superior clinical outcomes, and clinical data analytics has been shown to improve patient engagement. Healthcare generates large amounts of data, and analyzing reveals meaningful insights about chronic disease management. Advanced healthcare analytics solutions have helped physicians create customized disease management strategies to suit individual patient requirements. Doing so encourages people to stay in touch with their doctors and manage their disease better.
4. Automated Appointment Reminder Systems
A study published in Forbes Magazine stated that missed appointments cost the US healthcare system more than $150 billion every year. Additionally, no-shows worsen the condition of people with chronic conditions. In light of this, healthcare automation has emerged as an up-and-coming solution to encourage people to show up for consultations.
Mobile patient engagement platforms often include automatic reminders for appointments. Such a solution not only reminds people about their consultations but also allows for rescheduling in case of no-shows.
This would encourage people to take their health seriously and avoid missing appointments.
5. Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) allows clinicians to monitor patients outside hospitals. The popularity of smart wearable devices has piqued people’s interest in measuring their vitals, highlighting the importance of RPM solutions.
Over 40% of US adults suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes. Regular health checks and treatments have been known to help manage such diseases better. By monitoring patients remotely, physicians can engage with them in meaningful ways to derive better clinical outcomes. For example, when a doctor studies a patient’s vitals remotely, he can recommend changes in lifestyle or medication without seeing the patient physically.
6. Healthcare Payment Automation
A significant aspect of patient engagement within the healthcare system is payments. The question that every patient asks before getting a procedure done is, “How much will I be spending?” Automating payment workflows at the back-end goes in a long way in improving doctor-patient relations. People can get reliable estimates for out-of-pocket expenses, and hospitals can reduce lag times in claims processing.
Such measures give more options to patients and allow them greater flexibility in managing their treatments. In light of the complexity of healthcare, transparency and ease in pricing and payments build lasting trust among the patients.
How Do You Select a Suitable Patient Engagement System?
The impact of effective patient engagement on clinical outcomes has become apparent. However, selecting suitable patient engagement systems that fulfill HIPAA compliance can be challenging. Here are a few basic sets of features,
As healthcare incorporates virtual care solutions, a user-friendly interface is essential to superior digital patient engagement. Having an omnichannel medium of interacting with doctors improves the usability of patient engagement software. Adopting omnichannel communication makes it easier for patients from all walks of life to engage with providers, irrespective of technical aptitude. The results are better patient experience, improved medical outcomes, and lasting patient confidence.
Security and Compliance
The adoption of smart technology generates data. As it continues to be integrated into healthcare, ensuring data security and privacy has become paramount. Doctor-patient engagement generates data, which needs to be entered into patients’ medical history after interpretation. For this reason, platforms for medical records management must adhere to HIPAA regulations for ensuring data security. Violation of regulations results in steep penalties and even prison time.
The healthcare spending in the US topped $3 trillion. Appointment follow-ups could’ve avoided a large portion of it. As previously mentioned, no-shows for appointments often worsen chronic conditions, causing 7 out of 10 deaths every year. So, appointment follow-ups make a vital part of patient engagement systems. So if you’re a medical professional looking for patient engagement systems, make sure it includes a user-friendly interface for following up with appointments.
Scalability For Third Party Integrations
Patient engagement for hospitals and clinics must be able to couple external third-party applications with existing healthcare systems.
Healthcare interoperability of a platform with another is achieved through an application programming interface (API). APIs ensure that external third-party applications like telehealth, laboratory information, and clinical data analytics integrate with existing systems as the organization achieves scale.
Electronic health records have become indispensable in healthcare.
The compatibility of EHRs with custom healthcare solutions is the most important feature of patient engagement systems to look out for. As hospitals and healthcare organizations scale up, integration with third-party applications becomes a must.
The key to effective communication between doctors and patients begins with the doctors. Activated patients- patients who possess the ability and know-how to manage their care – often enjoy better medical outcomes.
So, educating patients about their disease, treatments, and medication through virtual sessions and patient-friendly learning sources is a proven patient engagement strategy.
Not only does it help doctors deliver better care, but it also helps patients make informed decisions about treatments. In other words, a good patient engagement system must enable doctors to share relevant educational resources seamlessly and activate patients.
Patient Data Analysis
Analyzing patients’ data reveals valuable clues about individual needs and helps physicians craft bespoke patient engagement strategies. Such an approach would be vastly beneficial over a standardized solution. Subsequently, it becomes a win-win for all stakeholders and results in remarkably superior patient engagement outcomes.
Benefits of Efficient Patient Engagement
There are numerous benefits of having an efficient system of patient engagement for hospitals and practices –
Better Care Outcomes
Patients educated in self-care can manage their disease better. Consequently, such activated patients enjoy significantly better clinical outcomes.
Higher Provider Productivity
Integrated care management solutions included within patient engagement technologies make it easier for doctors to take an individualized approach to care. Subsequently, efforts are better spent on quality care that caters to each patient’s needs.
Cost Reduction and Added Revenue
Patient engagement technology that includes clinical informatics solutions increases the quality of care. Moreover, it also helps streamline workflows and administrative tasks, reducing overhead and improving revenues for providers.
Improved Management of Private Health Data
Integrated healthcare provider solutions that facilitate seamless electronic data exchange enable physicians to manage patient data better. Such platforms enable providers to access data easily alongside external third-party applications, enter new information and store it back securely—the convenience of storing, accessing, and updating patient information results in better clinical outcomes.
Advances in cloud computing in healthcare have paved the way for improved patient engagement portals. People can better interact with their doctors even without visiting them. Furthermore, features like automated appointment scheduling and rescheduling, with 24/7 virtual consultations, have significantly improved access to quality care.
Personalized Care Solutions
Patient engagement in healthcare has enabled physicians to understand individual patient needs better. Patient engagement nursing solutions have helped hospitals improve care for patients in critical conditions and achieve better outcomes. Care solutions tailored to the needs of each patient offer reduced re-admittance managed chronic conditions better and improve the overall patient experience.
Patient portals and patient engagement have improved the quality of care and helped to develop better clinical workflows. The best part? They’ve resulted in people who’re aware of their health and make informed lifestyle choices. Seamless, informative doctor-patient communication has reduced healthcare spending and improved patient outcomes.
Patient engagement systems have a firm place in the future of healthcare. As technology becomes more pervasive, tools that facilitate doctor-patient engagement will only become more adaptive.
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Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.