Patient engagement is a buzzword throughout the healthcare industry. It is used to describe many forms of activities patients may take inside and outside of the provider setting. There are many studies that have been done to understand what some of the most effective patient engagement solutions; however, it is still highly debated as to what are the best methods to engage patients in their care to improve outcomes and experiences.
Patient engagement can be broken down into many different categories; however, there are three stages providers should consider when looking for the best patient engagement solution for their patient population; pre-arrival, during the visit, post-visit.
Before a patient arrives at their physician’s office, the hospital, or other providers, there are many opportunities to engage them in their care. While there are many applications that focus on patient engagement, finding the right solution means finding what works best for the patient.
Some patients may prefer text messages, phone calls, emails, or smartphone applications. Others may not want any engagement at all prior to their arrival. For those patients who are willing to engage in their care, pre-arrival education and surveys can offer a myriad of benefits to both the provider and patient. Ensuring patients understand where they need to go, what to expect, or asking about their care status can help reduce stress, improve communication, and give information to the provider to help anticipate patient needs.
During the Visit
When the patient is in your facility, this is one of the best places to engage them in their care. Understanding their preferences, closing the loop on issues, and providing personalized education are all great strategies for patient engagement.
When the patient is within the facility, the best types of patient engagement solutions will often vary. While some solutions utilize tablets or televisions to disseminate information, other patient engagement strategies include provider-focused education and surveys to keep up-to-date on patient needs and address any gaps in knowledge or care prior to their return home.
With resource constraints, high patient volumes, and changing patient preferences, it may seem challenging to find cost-effective patient engagement solutions that work for your patient community. Offering multiple modalities for engagement that meet patient preferences such as call, text, or email outreach, can help your team understand what patients’ needs are and ensure they follow care instructions.
When it comes to finding the best patient engagement solution, it is critical for your team to evaluate when you are looking to engage patients. Once that is established, understanding what your goals are, such as better outcomes, increased CAHPS scores, or meeting quality metrics, will help identify which type of solution is best for your workflows and patients.