When patients are more engaged in their healthcare, it can improve their health outcomes and reduce overall care costs. But as healthcare organizations continue to face downward pressure on reimbursement, competition for patients and market share, and a growing need for innovative solutions at the intersection of care delivery, technology, and data, many have found it challenging to develop a successful patient engagement strategy.
A robust patient engagement strategy is essential for generating new revenue streams and growing market share in the healthcare industry. Effective patient engagement strategies are centered around tailored and relevant experiences, messaging, and care decisions. They are developed with a deep understanding of a patient’s needs and preferences, blended with their healthcare history and overall profile. This is critical because it ensures timely, relevant, clear, and actionable communication. To help patients achieve this level of engagement, providers must have a comprehensive strategy that will help guide their arrangements.
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What Is a Patient Engagement Strategy?
A patient engagement strategy is a structured plan that healthcare organizations use to deeply understand their patients and engage them in relevant ways to make the right decisions about their health and maintain care over time. This can be accomplished by gathering and leveraging patient information, engaging with the patient personally, and delivering valuable services that improve the patient experience. Organizations can significantly improve their financial performance by developing a whole spectrum strategy that includes deep analytics, coordinated efforts across roles and processes, using patient engagement tools like a healthcare chatbot or a digital front door to help streamline processes and you can see a lot of great examples over at QliqSoft. It is also important to engage patients in an authentic and empathetic way.
They must also focus on improving the patient experience achieved through various strategies, including addressing issues before they arise or enhancing the availability or convenience of care. Successful patient engagement is a multi-faceted and complex strategy requiring a well-planned integrated effort encompassing much more than just the traditional patient-physician relationship. Successful designs require a sound understanding of patient needs, preferences, and expectations. The following benefits come from engaging patients in innovative and effective ways:
1. Patients Will See Improved Health Outcomes Once They Engage
When patients are more engaged in their healthcare, they are more apt to make healthy decisions and stick to them. Involved patients follow their care plan more closely and diligently. Patients with excellent knowledge about their disease state, treatment, and potential outcomes are more likely to take the steps necessary to manage their conditions. A patient’s participation in the treatment or care process can help facilitate healing and lower their risk of complications. This can improve treatment adherence, disease management, and overall health outcomes.
2. Your Practice Will Make More Money
With increased patient engagement, healthcare providers can help improve their financial performance by generating more revenue and reducing the overall cost of care. Engaged patients are very likely to follow their care plan more closely. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of medical complications or rehospitalization. Patients that have a better understanding of their disease and its treatment are more likely to stay within the parameters of their care plan directives and avoid costly emergency room visits or costly outpatient procedures that may be avoidable.
3. Higher Patient Satisfaction
When patients are engaged, they are more satisfied with their healthcare experience. They are more likely to engage with providers across channels and for extended periods. In this way, providers can build more profound and trusting relationships with their patients and improve communication, ultimately enhancing patient satisfaction. This also improves patients’ experiences throughout their care cycle and reduces unnecessary readmissions or emergency room visits.
4. Patients Provide Feedback
Patients’ engagement can be crucial to creating and improving a patient care experience that masks any potential problems before they occur. Providers can implement changes and policies before they can become significant issues. This ultimately enhances the quality of care, as providers can gain patient feedback and address areas of improvement promptly. This can significantly improve the patient experience and overall satisfaction with their healthcare provider. It will assist healthcare providers in improving their services and care delivery.
5. Patients Spend Less Money on Their Care When They’re Engaged and Educated
With increased patient engagement, patients are more likely to take the necessary steps to adhere to their care plan and avoid costly out-of-pocket medical expenses. This can save time and money, as they are more likely to focus on the parts of their care that will yield minimal results. This is particularly true if they better understand their disease and its treatment plan. These patients are also much more able to anticipate their needs and take the appropriate steps to prevent or reduce expensive complications. An educated patient is less likely to spend money on healthcare services that do not benefit them in the long run. They can also help prevent readmissions by staying within their care plan guidelines, saving money, and extending lives.
6. Boost Patient Retention Rates
Patient retention is vital to improving the financial performance of healthcare providers. When a patient is engaged, they are much more likely to be able to stick with their care plan and continue visits, which can help improve their overall health and reduce readmissions. This can save both time and money by preventing expensive readmissions. Patient retention is much more critical when staying within care plan guidelines. Patients are more likely to follow their care plan and stay within insurance guidelines when engaged. Engaged patients also strongly understand their disease and its treatment plans. It allows optimal communication between the patient and healthcare provider, providing better care coordination and promoting a positive patient experience.
How Can Involvement Save Money?
In an age of rising costs, patient engagement can help healthcare providers save money by addressing problems before they become significant expenses. By leveraging the power of data analytics and deep patient understanding, caregivers can address issues as soon as they arise rather than react once the condition worsens. This can include addressing common problems like unneeded testing or procedures that need to be fully covered by insurance and simply not delivering care when it’s unnecessary or not cost-effective.
Developing and implementing a patient engagement strategy is more than just an exercise in data mining. Providers must also be aware of their patient’s needs to engage them effectively in the marketplace, particularly during attempts to reach or retain patients who may have opted out or no longer wish to participate in their care. Patients are more likely to use preventive services when they are engaged and educated, which ultimately can save on medical expenses. Some studies have shown that having a patient-physician relationship that is engaging, respectful, open, and trusting can save up to 10 percent on overall medical costs.
Patient engagement provides numerous benefits to the healthcare industry. Engaged patients are likely to remain a patient, stick to their care plans, and prevent hospital readmissions. This can save providers money by decreasing the overall cost of care and improving the quality of patient care during their time in the provider’s office. Reading about the benefits of patient engagement will help you realize how much they can help to improve healthcare, resulting in increased patient satisfaction and improved service.