One of the largest concerns in healthcare surrounds measuring patient engagement. There have been many blogs, research papers, and books dedicated to the topic of engaging patients as well as best practices on executing. The most significant development withing patient engagement involves healthcare technology. The future of healthcare is being led by technology, and the patient engagement evolution is also shaping it. There are healthcare initiatives in place to improve patient care, healthcare costs, and connectivity, but most people don’t fully understand what patient engagement is. 

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement involves both patients and providers working together to improve care. Without engaged and informed patients, a healthcare facility will struggle to survive. Patient engagement is important for any healthcare provider in order to maintain relationships with their patient load. The importance of patient engagement has been researched at length, and while it’s not a new concept in the business world, the healthcare world is only embracing it in recent years. Facilities are now recognizing that to be successful, their patients need to have more information, better quality and improved access to resources and their own personal data.

Making the Transition

Medical providers should understand the value of engaging patients because of the need for patients to feel included in the decision-making process. Technology is significantly impacting patient engagement for the better. With the use of healthcare apps, such as AC Health, healthcare providers can better acquaint themselves with patients. 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. This encourages better follow-up care for patients than any other patient engagement tool. 

Patients are turning to their smartphones to search for their symptoms when sick, their prognosis when diagnosed, and their post-care options when they’re unsure. With the right technology and healthcare apps, patients can learn to trust their healthcare providers on another level entirely. 

When healthcare providers learn how to support their patients from a distance, a trusting relationship is built, and patients will learn to take better responsibility for their health. This all comes down to the impact of technology in healthcare. Our society is more connected and digitally aware than ever before, and this has led to people living in a more engaged society. With the internet at our fingertips – literally – app developers are collaborating with healthcare leaders and creating personalized apps that get the attention of their patients. As the internet is giving patients what they want on-demand, patients are now expecting the same when it comes to their healthcare.

Technology & Tools

One of the most significant ways that healthcare providers are enabling patients to take better responsibility for their health is focusing on the right tools in technology. Most of these tools involve health data management, communications management, and self-care at home. The technology available also deals with education on patient care and financial management. Wearable technology is on the rise with the increase in consumers self-tracking things like step count, heart rate, etc.

With the creation of apps like AC Health and others, there is better access to patient portals, personal health records, and even reminders for medication and appointments for physiotherapy. Each one of these healthcare technology innovations is designed to improve the patient experience overall, and this leads to a natural engagement to the health of the patient. One crucial aspect of success is healthcare facilities embracing these new changes to service their patients in a better way. When large healthcare providers go along with this rapidly evolving landscape, they encourage patients to take a more significant role in their health.

With the engagement of the healthcare provider, patients will learn to use the resources and apps at their disposal to trust their doctor and improve their health results. Without engagement from both sides in using these new healthcare technologies, neither side will benefit from it. Engagement needs active involvement from both patients and healthcare providers. Each party needs to embrace the healthcare technology for it to work toward better outcomes and costs. 

Benefits of Engaged Patients

There has been plenty of research to show that those who are actively engaged in their health have better outcomes as time goes on. There are many benefits of improving patient engagement. These include:

  • Lower costs for healthcare providers. The technology available can help with workflow improvements. The right technology stops wasteful behavior, with a reduction in error and better-improved care delivery
  • Better communication is possible with the right healthcare apps and technology. Doctors and patients can gain better insight into the condition of the patient by utilizing engagement technology. 
  • Patients are happier when they have more access to resources, to their health information, and to their doctor, who is there to answer their questions. When there is more information regarding their health, patients are happier and more engaged with their doctor and their health. All of this leads to more confidence in patients regarding their diagnoses.
  • Better outcomes and identifying the trends in the industry are essential for healthcare providers. When health-related technology information systems are improved, public health data can be analyzed, and the results are used for better healthcare.

Measuring Patient Engagement

Of course, with all the benefits of patient healthcare technology, there are challenges that come with measuring patient engagement. Without the use of technology, it can seem impossible to measure patient engagement because patients need to be engaged outside of the clinic. With no way to track patients at home, measuring patient engagement is difficult. The solution involves utilizing technology to measure patient engagement at home. Apps like AC Health remind patients of their discharge instructions to keep them engaged between doctor visits.