Patient engagement is a process involving assessment, identification, management, feedback, improvement, and other things building toward a relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider. A lot of things have changed since the coronavirus outbreak, and patients are now looking for more than just the right diagnosis and treatment during this difficult time. They want effective, efficient, and personalized healthcare in 2021.
What Is Patient Engagement?
There have been many discussions regarding the role of patient engagement in the improvement of health care. Patient engagement has been recognized as one of the keys to better outcomes for patients and the healthcare providers caring for them.
Patients want to be involved in the decisions about their care, including what tests they’re given, when they’re given those examinations, and what they need to do afterward. Similarly, hospital administrators want their staff to be more involved with the day-to-day hospital activities like socializing with patients and using Relatient and other platforms so they can make the best use of their resources and increase the value of their service.
How Important Is Patient Engagement?
Hospitals are constantly looking for ways to improve patient care, and one way to enhance healthcare services is by increasing patient engagement. Low patient engagement rates are often attributed not only to a lack of communication from the staff but also to a lack of feedback from the patients.
To change this trend and increase patient involvement, the healthcare provider must understand what’s expected of them and hold them accountable for meeting these expectations. To do this, the benefits of patient engagement should be understood, including:
- Building Trust
Healthcare providers gain the confidence and trust of patients who believe they’ll be treated well and their concerns will be addressed promptly.
- Boosting Patient Retention Rate
When patients feel like they’re being listened to and respected, they’re more likely to talk and stay involved in their care.
- Improving Patient And Provider Communication
Good communication is vital for patients and their families. When the patient has a question or concern, a trained professional should address it promptly.
- Committing To Higher Patient Recovery
Patients who are engaged in the healthcare process will be attentive and committed to recovery compared to those who are disengaged.
How Healthcare Providers Improve Patient Engagement
Healthcare providers need to take a close look at their current processes to identify areas where patient engagement is lacking. For example, some hospitals may have a culture of placing too much emphasis on the bottom line and not enough emphasis on service, which may result in some patients feeling let down by the hospital.
Patient engagement is about making the patients feel like they’re a valuable part of the healthcare community. Thus, healthcare providers should ensure patients are engaged on every level by ensuring the following:
- Patients should know they’re allowed to participate in the process of the treatment.
- Patients should understand the reasons for making the decisions related to their care.
- Patients should understand how those decisions affect their health or recovery.
- Patients should have the opportunity to question those responsible for their care.
All of these elements are important components of patient engagement, and it’s crucial for medical professionals and healthcare practitioners to utilize strategies and tools to make patient engagement more effective and successful.
2021 Patient Engagement Trends
Healthcare providers should prioritize health and safety above all during this challenging time as patient engagement trends this year are highly influenced by the ongoing COVID-19 health scare. Thus, you’ll be seeing more virtual and technology-powered engagement strategies moving forward, including:
1. Electronic Patient Records
Healthcare organizations and facilities rely on patient engagement strategies to improve the health of their patients and to increase research output and profits. In recent years, many technologies have emerged to support these efforts through electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) which are programs storing and providing access to a patient’s health records in a medical facility.
The features of electronic patient records are extremely helpful in 2021 since these reduce the paperwork coming with paper-based patient files and allow doctors and other health care providers to get more done in less time with fewer errors. It also helps facilitate improved communication between doctors and patients while guaranteeing better information security.
2. Patient Portals
A patient portal is essential for keeping patients up-to-date on their healthcare provider’s history, track any new treatments being offered, notify patients about any immunizations, follow-up appointments, and more. A portal allows patients to keep track of their healthcare information anywhere they are, which provides convenience and safety during the pandemic. In addition to keeping patients up to date on their healthcare provider’s history, a patient portal can also provide a wealth of other information.
Implementing a patient portal to engage patients in continuing their healthcare is a wise decision for healthcare providers. By incorporating a patient portal into their overall healthcare strategy, medical facilities can be better positioned to capitalize on impending changes and stay ahead of the curve.
For many of today’s healthcare professionals, patient engagement is a key ingredient in providing excellent care. Patients want to be involved, but the threat of getting infected with the coronavirus is preventing them from physically visiting their healthcare provider. Healthcare professionals understand giving patients access to the tools to receive care is one way to keep them coming back.
Telemedicine refers to the use of technology allowing doctors and other medical professionals to reach patients who are miles away from their offices. The use of cellular phones and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are some of the ways doctors use telemedicine these days to connect with patients outside the state or even the other side of the world.
The main benefit of using telemedicine is doctors can reach any patient with no delays. For example, if a doctor were in the middle of treating a severe asthma case in Mexico, the patient could be seen the next day instead of the next week or even the next month. Telemedicine allows doctors to offer treatment for conditions of patients normally out of reach.
Another way a patient can take advantage of telemedicine is the possibility of obtaining a prescription medication without the need to physically go to the doctor’s office. Through the use of telemedicine, doctors can give their customers the ability to obtain medications online and have them delivered to their doorstep. This accessibility has helped to reduce the time patients spend waiting in line at the pharmacy and has helped to increase overall patient satisfaction.
4. On-call Wellness Support
Home healthcare organizations have seen tremendous growth in the number of patients who’ve come to them for assistance over the last few years. As the population continues to age, more people are growing old with a less than stellar medical history. To better serve elderly patients, home healthcare organizations have begun to offer in-home medical services.
Although many of these services have been traditionally offered in the past, websites and apps have allowed healthcare organizations to interact almost instantaneously with their patients, improving the level of service they provide.
5. Remote Patient Monitoring
Medical providers can now use electronic medical records to perform remote monitoring to ensure patients receive quality healthcare without sacrificing their health and safety. Remote monitoring allows healthcare providers to observe the comings and goings of their patients and see if anything is out of the ordinary.
Patients will also appreciate having their vital signs easily available to them. This is especially true for patients who find it hard to remember to take their medication on time. But with an easy-to-use, up-to-date diagnostic system, they’ll have no problem remembering and taking their medicine on time.
Although there may be some drawbacks in some aspects of this type of patient care, the advantages outweigh the risks. Remote patient monitoring gives healthcare providers easier access to vital data, which in turn, makes it easier for them to make better patient care decisions. This includes using diagnostic and prognostic tools, which help them better understand the health status of their patients and help them make preventive care choices as well.
6. Ongoing Patient Education
Ongoing patient education is an important factor in enhancing the safety and care of patients. There are many reasons why patient education is important, but the most crucial is to allow patients to gain better control of their health and their decisions.
Healthcare providers can take advantage of patient education by sharing groundbreaking and relevant information impacting their health. It’s a way for healthcare providers to create a better working relationship between themselves and their patients. Here are some examples of patient engagement through patient education:
- Patient education can be achieved by healthcare providers through online articles or uploading a weekly video message on their website.
- Healthcare professionals can engage with their patients and clients through their social media profiles through Q&A sessions and free online consultations.
- Mobile apps may help provide valuable information to patients and gather online feedback, giving healthcare providers the necessary insight to improve their products and services.
With the help of patient engagement tools, doctors and hospitals can be highly effective in educating and reaching out to patients. Patient engagement promotes regular interaction and trust with their healthcare providers—something everyone needs to stay healthy during the pandemic.
One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare providers is how to maintain engagement with patients and their loved ones. But as technology continue to advance, healthcare providers have more opportunities to create high-quality patient care programs providing a high level of patient engagement and satisfaction.
Utilizing strategies and innovative tools to encourage patients to take control of their healthcare can be the deciding factor in providing good and compassionate patient care. Healthcare providers should keep abreast of emerging trends, so they can create an environment of making patients feel at ease and confident of their health.