Engaging patients has become a key strategy for healthcare organizations to drive outcomes and satisfaction improvements. Although previously seen as a buzzword, patient engagement is a cornerstone to successful programs that drive towards home health agency KPIs.
Patient engagement is a set of tools, processes, and actions that allow providers and patients to communicate effectively make informed decisions to improve the odds of success. A common misconception is that patient engagement only happens in the home during home health visits; however, there are many opportunities for agencies and their staff to remain engaged with patients during the entirety of the episode of care.
As other industries have worked towards perfecting customer engagement, home health agencies must follow their lead and capitalize on the benefits of engaging their consumers, or in this case, patients.
3 benefits of enhancing home health episode engagement are:
1. Bettered Patient Outcomes
- Engaging with patients between home health visits ensures patient concerns are addressed before an adverse event or readmission occurs. This can mean calls, texts, or other communication methods that proactively identify patients in need of additional assistance, determine patient concerns, and ensure patients are on a successful road to recovery.
2. Improved HHCAHPS Scores
- Adding meaningful and timely patient interactions between home health visits improves patient perceptions. All patients want to feel important and heard. By proactively connecting with patients through their preferred communication methods, you can address patient concerns or issues, therefore closing the loop prior to them filling out the satisfaction surveys.
3. Increase Your Bottom Line
- Whether you choose to invest in health IT that will meet all of your patient engagement
- needs or instruct staff members to manually engage with patients, implementing patient engagement programs will have a clear impact on your agency’s bottom line. With better patient outcomes, you are reducing hospitalizations. When your agency takes the time to connect with patients outside of their scheduled home health visit, you are improving patient satisfaction. There are even opportunities to reduce the number of in-home visits required per episode with comprehensive and proactive check-in calls. All of these results lead to operational savings and increased incentives from the CMS and can help address concerns around inclusion in narrowing referral networks
Patient engagement is at the forefront of healthcare policy and is a critical component of providing high-quality care. Effective patient engagement helps to improve health outcomes, drive better patient care, and achieve lower costs. Patients want to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process, and those who are engaged in their care tend to be healthier.
If you are interested in learning more about how your home health agency can implement patient engagement programs, check out these resources:
1. 5 Steps to Creating a Successful Home Health Outreach Program
2. 5 Keys to Becoming a Preferred Home Health Referral Partner
3. How To Prepare for CMS’ New Conditions of Participation for Home Health