Did you know that nearly 75% of healthcare executives rate patient engagement as one of the top three areas of impact on their organization? It’s easy to see why patient engagement has become such a big area of focus. Hospitals and clinics that have strong patient engagement strategies have happier, healthier patients and have better financial and operational efficiency. Athenahealth, a leading electronic medical record company, has identified 5 critical element to developing a successful patient engagement strategy.
- Define Your Vision
Define you organization's’ vision for patient engagement. An organization needs to have a vision of what they want for themselves and what they want for their patients. As a physical therapist I know that it is important to know what your organization’s vision is and for all healthcare providers to work as a collaborative team in order to achieve this vision. The vision could be as simple as putting patient’s needs first to remind providers that you are there for the patients and the patients’ needs should come before anything else.
- Creating A Culture
Fostering a culture of engagement means providing a variety of tools that reach different types of patients in different way. However, patient should feel supported and receive the organization’s message regardless of the mode of communication. Patients need to feel as though the providers care about their needs and outcomes for a strategy to be successful.
- Employ Technology
If a patient is able to access instructions at home it will improve their success of doing the right thing and following through on what they need to do at home. For example, if you provide physical therapy patients with a way to access videos of the exercises that they were instructed in during the session they will feel more confident that they are doing the exercises correctly and compliance may improve. If a patient is confused and unsure of what to do at home they may just do nothing for fear of making their pain or condition worse. If we can use technology to bridge the gap between what is being told to them in the clinic and at home this will improve patient compliance and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
- Empowering Patients
If a patient feels involved in the decision making process and feel like they are working as a team with their provider that will make them even more invested in their care and improve patient outcomes.
- Chart progress and adapt to change
It is important for a patient to know if they are progressing and if they aren’t it is important for the healthcare provider to be able to make change and work towards a successful outcome. If a patient knows that they are improving then they will be more motivated to work harder to continue to make progress. If progress is occurring and a patient knows that then they will want to work harder at home and be more engaged in their care.
Patients who are engaged in their care are more likely to have successful outcomes. Patients will be more compliant with home instructions, be more willing to share information with their providers and take more ownership of their own care. A patient who is engaged in their care will attend their appointments and then follow through at home. An engaged patient is a patient who cares about their progress and asks questions to understand their care in order to improve their condition.