One of the biggest challenges providers and facilities face is engaging patients in healthcare. As part of prioritizing measurable outcomes for a hospital and clinic, it’s essential that healthcare providers can define evidence-based patient journeys with treatment plans that make sense. Patient engagement is the central part of an effective healthcare delivery system. Without engaged patients, clinics and hospitals could lose their patient loads, which can then lead to the closure of facilities. So, the goal is to get patients to be more involved in their healthcare so that they can remain healthy, and their healthcare facility can have better outcomes.
Of course, engagement is not synonymous with compliance by any means. Although they work hand-in-hand, supporting patients throughout their care is just a part of the patient engagement process. If patients know that their healthcare provider cares about their aftercare, they’re going to remain engaged and ready to listen to what their healthcare provider has to say. The problem is the way that healthcare providers approach patient engagement.
Plenty of studies and research show that the efforts of those in healthcare to provide engagement for patients is rooted in incorrect assumptions. The current solutions for patient engagement show that healthcare providers still believe that there is a one-size-fits-all solution for their patients – which is not the case. It’s the reason that personalized care is becoming more popular, and more people are recognizing the importance of care being as personal as possible.
A Warm-Care Model
Patients want to be engaged in their healthcare on their own terms. This means that doctors and healthcare providers need to get into the shoes of their patients and see their care from the patient’s point of view. Successful healthcare facilities are those that adopt a warm-care model. This involves patients choosing their own ways of remaining engaged with the healthcare system. Essentially, to engage patients, facilities must put the responsibility in their hands while helping them at the same time – complicated? Yes! With that in mind, let’s take a look at six ways of engaging patients in healthcare.
Make Healthcare Accessible
It’s already been mentioned that patients need to be given the tools to engage with healthcare on their own terms, and they can do that with apps like AC Health. AC Health is a patient engagement platform that healthcare providers can use to assign personalized instructions for patients to take home via the mobile app. By making the experience a personal one that is accessible by the patient at a time that’s convenient for them, they’re going to remain engaged. Patients love technology, and when healthcare providers partner with technology apps and websites, they can make their healthcare instructions and resources more accessible for patients.
Make It Personal
Personalized healthcare is the only way to ensure that patients truly engage in their care. Most patients don’t believe that clinical averages reflect their experiences of getting well, which means that basing goals on the average patient will not be effective. Healthcare providers should continue to base their engagement plans on goals that will mean something to patients. Whatever the patients’ goals are in their healing, their care instructions from their healthcare provider should be tailored and personalized to suit their individual circumstances. Digital tools – particularly apps like AC Health, can be a big help with regard to reaching clinical goals.
Optimizing Quality Of Life
When patients are discharged from care, they often lose interest when it comes to engagement. Their doctor has sent them off with instructions to follow on their own, but patients need more support than that. If treatment plans are complicated for the patient to follow without real choices for their individual situation, engagement breaks down. Most patients are now equipped with smartphones and tablets that will help healthcare providers offer the best outcomes. When healthcare facilities realize the importance of apps and personal emails to patients, they can improve their quality of life and give them the right guidance that will fit into their lifestyle.
Peer Support Is Key
Patients will take advice from their doctor, but it’s more common that – following the advice of a physician – they turn to their peers for anecdotal experiences. Physicians and other healthcare providers should encourage this rather than discourage it. If healthcare providers made it easy for patients to access support from their peers, they will promote better engagement from patients and give patients confidence to seek further help and advice.
Patients need to feel heard. If they find it easy to engage with technology and be in constant contact with their smartphones, then healthcare providers need to embrace technology and all it has to offer. A personalized healing journey can be the best thing for patients who need that extra nudge to take their healthcare into their own hands. Responsibility is essential, and it’s the job of the healthcare provider to empower patients enough to take that responsibility.
Keep It Simple
Patients want the help of their healthcare providers and minimizing what is asked of patients is so important. Keeping requests as uncomplicated and straightforward as possible will mean that patient compliance improves and they remain engaged with healthcare services. Rigid programs that are designed to engage the patients and enable them to feel empowered are essential. Creating these follow-up programs with their best interests are going to work in the favor of the healthcare provider as well as the patient, as everyone remains in touch and working together.
Engaging Patients in Healthcare
Patient engagement is vital to the success of any health facility. When a healthcare provider puts effort into engaging patients in healthcare, there are better outcomes for both patient and facility. With so many innovative ways to improve engagement, it’s important to assess the needs of your facility and patient population. Remember, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, therefore you should utilize the tools and technologies that will work best for you. For more information on engaging patients in healthcare, reach out to us here.