Patient engagement involves getting patients to interact with the medical management system and the healthcare system. It includes an individual’s additional efforts to benefit from healthcare services or a healthcare professional. Increasing patient engagement is vital to ensuring that patients receive quality healthcare. When actively engaged in medical care, patients can easily follow their treatment plans, make significant decisions, and achieve significant health outcomes. Engaging patients in medical care can be challenging, but several strategies have proven successful.
Here are steps that healthcare professionals can take to boost patient engagement:
1. Educate Patients
Most patients do not usually have a better understanding of the information they get from medical practitioners, especially when it pertains to improving and maintaining their health. Using easy-to-read fonts and plain language in the documentation would be best. Educate your patients about the treatment options for their health conditions. Give them relevant information so that they can make informed decisions. Also, encourage your patients to use the online patient portals to check their medical results or send them additional information regarding their medication in their secure inboxes. It can prompt them to engage more in their healthcare. Educating patients has resulted in a decrease in hospitalizations, an increase in satisfaction rates, and preventive measures.
2. Communicate Effectively
Use active listening and plain language to establish rapport and trust with patients. Please encourage them to ask questions and use visual aids such as videos, images, diagrams, and pictures to make complex attributes simple to understand. When you leverage visual aids when passing information to the patients, they can easily work with their doctors or family members to choose an excellent treatment option.
In the contemporary world, medical software is specially made to deliver patient information. These software programs use visual images to show patients trends in their well-being over time or their lab results.
3. Involve Patients in Care Planning
Most providers don’t usually have time to discuss further with their patients, and involving patients in care planning or shared decision-making puts them in charge of their care. Patients can become more active in their wellness goals and care management because they are concerned about their treatment, which can improve care outcomes. However, shared decision-making does not necessarily mean that there would be significant care outcomes. It results in self-management and patient activation, which can, in turn, lead to better health. Healthcare professionals can integrate shared decision-making into patient care encounters after assessing desires for shared decision-making and discussing health-related goals and patient values. Healthcare providers should re-establish some clinical systems before adopting a shared decision-making strategy.
4. Use Healthcare Chatbots
Medical practices can use healthcare chatbots in numerous ways to increase patient engagement and to streamline repetitive tasks. They can equip their chatbots to give patients instant information and answer basic queries. Chatbots are power-driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and have all the data and symptoms of different health conditions; patients can get alerts about serious medical disorders via chatbots.
Patients can also use healthcare chatbots to schedule appointments. Using a chatbot for appointment booking eases the entire booking process and removes the monotony of completing forms. Chatbots can provide important information, such as booking slots and doctor availability, and match patients with the right professionals. Healthcare chatbots can also send patients medical alert notifications and appointment reminders. Patients get several options and clear guidelines on preparing for tests and what to expect from the results. If you would like to see a comprehensive list of what types of healthcare chatbots you can check them out over at QliqSoft.
5. Provide Individualized Care Experiences
Most patients would prefer more customized care tailored to their needs. Healthcare providers should therefore segment their patient populations to understand and address the needs of specific patient groups based on social health determinants of health demographics.
The use of digital connectivity and technologies can assist in delivering customized care. What languages and messages do certain patients understand? The best way to respect individual preferences is to communicate with them in a language they understand. Customization also extends to how the patient wants to receive medical care. For instance, do they prefer in-person or virtual care? Flexibility encourages patients to engage in care and remain active in their care journeys.
6. Reduce Obstacles to Care
Patients may reduce their engagement in healthcare if they lack access to care. A study has shown that about 14% of chronically ill patients lack access to healthcare to manage their conditions. Barriers have consistently limited and prevented people from receiving adequate care. Therefore, if a healthcare practice establishes ways to make healthcare accessible, it will increase patient engagement.
Solutions like remote patient monitoring (RPM) and care management enable patients who previously needed more easy access to care to engage in healthcare practices effectively. Remote access can also come in handy where an in-person visit is not feasible or practical. The use of technology can reduce healthcare barriers and improve patient participation in care outcomes.
7. Practice Empathy
Healthcare practices need to do a lot to develop an environment of positive feelings and compassion toward their patients. Studies have shown that patients can easily adhere to care procedures and take their medication if they feel empathy. Positive changes in patients’ attitudes can increase their engagement in care. Care delivered with empathy also helps increase patient satisfaction and leads to fewer referrals, medical errors, and diagnostics.
Patients want control and autonomy; they want a say in their treatment. They also want actionable features like automated care management, requesting prescription refills, communicating with medical specialists, and appointment automation.
Patient engagement includes activation and other behavioral aspects like engaging in vigorous activities and obtaining preventive care. The ideal result of a patient engagement tool will show whether a patient will successfully manage their health or make a positive behavioral change. A patient can easily engage in healthcare if the provider equips the patient with special care. An engaged healthcare provider explains the patient’s condition and recommends what the patient should do. The provider should also seek out what the patient can do to assist in the care process. Responsible healthcare specialists should also allow patients to engage in activities that improve their condition.