It’s understood that improved patient engagement leads to a number of positive outcomes for both patients and providers. In terms of quality of care, revenue cycle and overall satisfaction, engaging patients is a worthy goal. The question becomes: How do you improve engagement? For the best results, your organization needs to move beyond telephone calls and simple patient portals.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can improve patient engagement and how to target your goals for growth:
Continuity of care
Discussions about continuity of care tend to stop at integration. But EHR integration is only half the answer. When your organization receives a new patient who has previously been with another provider, engagement begins with the transfer of EMR data. As far as the patient is concerned, this should happen automatically. Any hiccups or inconveniences at this juncture could cause the patient to hesitate or even choose another provider. But what’s the next step?
“Continuity of care is about long-term relationships.”
The American Academy of Family Physicians explained that continuity of care is about long-term relationships. Each visit to the doctor should be part of a years long conversation about the individual’s health. From family history to their most recent visit, the physician should have clear, accurate data at his or her fingertips. That’s step one. The next step is to go beyond familiarity with the patient’s data and connect with them on a personal level. One way to do so is to reduce fragmentation of care. Lab work, immunization records and similar data can provide valuable insight into the patient’s health and help physicians and nurses provide the best care possible.
Not only should this high level of personal attention be achieved during the actual visit, but the connection should extend between visits to the clinic or hospital.
Engagement through communication
The internet has brought people closer together in almost every aspect of life. That’s also true of the health care industry. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 64 percent of office-based physician EHR portals allow secure messages to be sent between patients and their caregivers. Web-based messaging is a good option for increasing engagement, but patients expect more.
Increasingly, people don’t want to have to call up their doctor’s office to schedule an appointment. They’d rather use their computer or smartphone to connect to a patient portal and make the appointment online. Tangible Solutions’ patient engagement services allows patients do so easily. The system also simplifies bill payments, making this step of the care cycle easier for everyone.
Between visits, the system will also send out reminders via the patient’s preferred method of contact. Patients may be reminded of upcoming appointments and lab results via calls, emails or text messages. The benefits of automated communication are two-fold: Patients get their results faster and are less likely to miss their appointment, while on the staff side, administrators will have more time to spend with patients face to face.
As technology advances, there will be more opportunities to improve patient engagement. It’s a win-win for everyone. Quality and continuity of care will improve, and physicians will see a protected bottom line.