In healthcare marketing, understanding patient engagement metrics means understanding and addressing a patient's needs throughout their healthcare journey.

6 Types of Patient Engagement Metrics to Improve Your Communication

In healthcare marketing, patient engagement means understanding and addressing a patient’s needs throughout their healthcare journey.

It could include everything from providing educational materials, helping them better understand their condition,  making sure they feel comfortable with the staff at your practice, to following up after their appointment to see how they’re doing.

While you may believe your healthcare organization has a high level of patient engagement, you cannot be sure unless you track specific metrics. Here’s a roundup of some vital patient engagement activities and metrics you should track in healthcare contexts.

What Are the Most Important Patient Engagement Metrics and Activities to Measure?

Patient engagement metrics are a measure of how well a healthcare organization is engaging with patients throughout the care continuum. They help you understand whether patients are getting the care and support they need when they need it.

You can track numerous types of activities and metrics, but some are more important than others. Here are six categories of patient engagement metrics that medical practices should track.

1. Patient Experience and Patient Feedback

If you’re brainstorming over how to measure patient engagement, the patient experience and patient feedback are the best places to start. The patient experience will give you insight into how your patients feel about their interactions with your practice , while patient feedback will tell you what they think you can improve.

Here are some notable benefits of tracking them:

  • Improve care: Once you learn what your patients want and need, you can make changes to improve their experience. Patient involvement is the key to improving your practice and delivering better potential outcomes. For example, negative reviews help you see gaps in patient care.
  • Empower positive change: If your healthcare organization has been lacking in certain areas, feedback can help you make the changes necessary for improvement.
  • Boost morale: Positive patient feedback can be a much-needed boost if your team feels discouraged.

How to Measure

You can measure the patient experience in various ways, but the most common way is through surveys. You may give these out in person or electronically.

If you plan on emailing a survey, keep it short (five to seven questions) and use an online form builder like Google Forms or Typeform. Plus, follow these tips:

  • Choose the right time to send it. It’s illogical and insensitive to ask for feedback right after a patient has received overwhelmingly good or bad news about their health. Give them time to process the information first.
  • Offer an incentive. You could offer a discount on their next visit or a freebie like a coffee mug.
  • Make it easy to respond. If the survey is too long or difficult to understand, patients won’t bother filling it out.

You can also ask your patient communities to share their feedback on your website, on social media, or on your Google My Business page.

2. Email Marketing Campaign Statistics

Statista data shows that email marketing revenue will reach $17.9 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.3%. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many businesses, even in the healthcare industry, use email marketing to achieve meaningful engagement.

In fact, 37% of the companies have increased their email budgets, signifying the importance of email marketing. 

Assuming your practice also has a strategic email marketing campaign, you can track the statistics to determine whether you have positive patient engagement practices and how you can improve your patient communication.

Here are some important email marketing metrics to track:

  • Click-through rate: This refers to the number of recipients who clicked on the link in your email. The higher the click-through rate, the more effective your email campaign is.
  • Open rate: This measures how many people open the emails you send. The average open rate for the healthcare industry is 21%. If your open rate is low, your subject line isn’t effective enough to encourage recipients to open the email. 
  • List growth rate: How quickly is your email list growing? You can measure this rate by subtracting the number of people who unsubscribed from your list from the number of new subscribers you secured, and then dividing that by the total number of people who were on your list at the beginning of the period.
  • Unsubscribe rate: If you see a sudden spike in the unsubscribe rate, it could indicate that your email content isn’t relevant to your recipients.
  • Overall ROI: How much revenue did your email marketing campaign generate? Ideally, the ROI should be positive, meaning that your campaign has successfully generated a profit.

How to Measure 

Fortunately, you can use many evaluation tools and analytics dashboards to measure your email marketing campaign’s success.

3. Patient Recall Time

Patient recall means a hospital or medical practice contacts former patients, asking them to come in for another visit. 

For example, in a dermatology practice, a patient may have gotten a mole removed, and the dermatologist may want to see the patient again in six months or a year to check for any changes.

Patient recall time is among the most critical patient engagement metrics because it’s a good indicator of the quality of the care a patient is receiving. Patients who are happy with their care are more likely to come back.

Additionally, recall time can be used as a marker for disease progression. If a patient is coming in for more frequent appointments, it may indicate that their condition is worsening. Conversely, if a patient’s recall time increases, their condition may be improving.

Patient recall time is vital for the patient and the hospital or medical practice. By maintaining regular contact with patients, hospitals and medical practices can ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

How to Measure

You can measure patient recall time in several ways. One way is to track the number of appointments scheduled per month. Another way is to look at the number of patient visits per month. 

Finally, you can also compare the number of patients who come in for their appointments to the number of patients who are scheduled for re-examinations.

4. Patient Lifecycle

If you want to examine the long-term impact of your current patient engagement strategies, you must consider the patient lifecycle, which encompasses everything from a patient’s initial visit to their final discharge.

Each stage of the patient lifecycle represents an opportunity for you to improve your patient engagement. By understanding how your patients interact with the healthcare system, you can tailor your engagement strategies to fit their needs.

For instance, you can impress them with a streamlined appointment-booking process on their first visit. Then, following up with automated appointment reminders can convince them to come back.

Finally, making it easy for patients to give feedback — whether it’s through an online survey or a comment box in the waiting room — can help you identify areas where you can improve the patient experience.

How to Measure

The best way to measure patient engagement across the patient lifecycle is through surveys and patient feedback. 

You can use these tools to track patients’ satisfaction levels at each stage of their journey. This will give you valuable insights into what’s working well and where you need to make changes.

5. Appointment-Booking Performance

Appointment booking is an individual segment of patient engagement that gives you insight into the first point of contact patients have with your practice.

Kyruus research shows that 48% of patients prefer scheduling appointments by phone, while 43% prefer to book appointments online. Therefore, healthcare organizations need to streamline their appointment-booking process while offering multiple options.

When measuring the success of your patient engagement campaign, it’s imperative to track your appointment-booking performance. Here are some questions to consider:

  • How many steps does it take to book an appointment online at your practice?
  • How easy is it to find the number to call to make an appointment?
  • What is your average wait time for appointments?
  • Do you offer online appointment booking?
  • What is your no-show rate?

You can improve your patient engagement by making the appointment-booking process as simple as possible. For instance, you can offer online appointment booking and make it easy to find the number to call to make an appointment. Additionally, you can reduce your average wait time.

How to Measure

Involve your staff, which can track the parameters pertaining to the questions mentioned above to measure your appointment-booking performance.

6. Call Tracking 

Call tracking is another activity that can help you determine whether your medical practice is achieving successful patient engagement. It allows you to track how many patients are calling your office and whether or not they are getting the care they need. 

If you see a high volume of calls, it shows that patients are interested in your services. But if those calls aren’t being answered or are being transferred to voicemail, you need to improve your patient communication.

Your call-tracking system will tell you how long patients are on hold, how many times they’ve called, and what kind of interactions they have with your staff.

How to Measure

The best way to track calls is to set up a system to give reports on the call log. For example, you can see how often a patient calls before reaching a live person.

You can also see how long patients were on hold and how long it took them to book an appointment or get an answer to their query.

How Tracking Patient Engagement Activities Improves Communication

Every healthcare organization needs to improve its patient communication to keep its patients satisfied and generate more revenue. Tracking patient engagement can play a significant role in this.

Restructures Patient Engagement Process to Improve Patient Outcomes

If you don’t measure your campaign’s impact on engagement and participation, you will be unable to improve the quality of your care. You also wouldn’t know how much restructuring is necessary to improve your patient engagement.

Meanwhile, patient engagement metrics can help a medical practice improve its decision-making prowess. For example, suppose a care team is trying to improve patient engagement in a post-discharge follow-up program.

In that case, the team would need to track activities and metrics such as program enrollment numbers, the number of post-discharge phone calls made, and patient satisfaction scores. Doing so would give the team the insights it needs to make informed decisions about how to improve the program.

Moreover, tracking engagement metrics can help you identify the root cause of problems. For instance, you might notice that most of your patients don’t leave feedback after their visit.

You could use this information to identify the problem and take steps to improve the situation. For example, maybe your feedback form is too long and complicated. Likewise, your patients might prefer emails over paper forms.

Enhances Your Practice’s Quality of Care With Sustainable Patient Engagement

Sustainability is imperative, regardless of the type of engagement. If you want to make a lasting difference, you need to track your progress and ensure that the changes you make have a positive impact.

In healthcare, this involves ensuring that the improvements you make to your processes don’t unintentionally create new problems.

For example, a common issue arises when nurses get too comfortable with a particular electronic health record (EHR) system. As a result, they might find a way to work around its inefficiencies rather than reporting them.

All in all, tracking patient engagement metrics can help you improve the quality of the care you provide to patients. Besides their actual appointments, you can use the insights to improve every aspect of their interaction with your practice.

Gain Insights Into Your Patient Engagement Practices With a Performance Dashboard

Instead of using a plethora of evaluation tools to track your patient engagement metrics, you can use a performance dashboard to see all of your engagement data in one place. A performance dashboard will help you understand how well your engagement strategies are working and where you can improve.

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