What is Patient Engagement?Posted: May 17, 2021 - By Melody Gandy-Bohr
Every medical professional knows that patients who take ownership of their health can achieve greater wellbeing and better outcomes. That’s why facilitating patient engagement in healthcare is critical.
But what is patient engagement? According to the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), patient engagement centers “on providers and patients working together to improve health.” Engaged patients want to understand their treatments and stay involved in the decision-making process about their care. Instead of being passive recipients of care, patients can partner with medical practices.
You can foster stronger patient engagement by building relationships with patients that extend beyond medical office visits. Through regular communications and education, you can stay connected to patients, build trust, and help them make smart lifestyle choices.
Benefits of Patient Engagement for Medical Practices
Achieving better health outcomes is a big benefit for your practice. But having a focus on patient engagement helps medical practices as well.
Long-Term Patient Relationships: Patients appreciate practices that are empathetic and that empower patients with information and choices. By fostering patient engagement, you will attract and keep patients who value your efforts to promote health literacy and shared decision-making.
Increased Revenue: When patients take charge of their health, they will be more likely to seek the routine checkups and preventive care they need to stay healthy. You can achieve more predictable revenues from a loyal client base, which can drive business growth.
Better External Reputation: When patients are happy with the care they receive, they are more likely to spread positive sentiment about their experience. As a result, you can receive referrals and reviews that help draw new patients to your practice.
Strategies for Improving Patient Engagement
Now that you understand the benefits of engaging patients, you can focus on improving patient communication. Make patients feel heard and valued with the following patient engagement strategies.
Stay in Touch
Although you may deliver the best care and detailed information during office visits, your patients’ everyday actions and choices have the biggest influence on their health. Even patients with the best intentions may forget or ignore health advice if they don’t have consistent reinforcement.
Overcome this challenge by staying in touch with your patients. Digital tools like email and text messaging make it easy to share educational information regularly. These materials can give patients the skills, ability, and willingness to take responsibility for their health.
Simplify the Appointment Process
Patients would rather schedule an appointment online rather than calling your medical practice and being placed on hold. Additionally, some health conditions can feel very personal or embarrassing. Patients may feel hesitant to schedule care if they are uncomfortable speaking about their condition over the phone.
Offer secure appointment self-scheduling options to your patients. That way, patients can schedule medical visits at any time without needing to contact an office or a call center. By offering an efficient, low-stress way for patients to request, change, or cancel appointments, patients will be more likely to get the care they need. Plus, your medical practice can keep an accurate schedule while reducing costly no-shows.
Tools for Patient Engagement
With the many competing priorities you face every day, you may feel like engaging patients adds complexity to an already tough job. The good news is that you can choose patient relationship management (PRM) solutions with built-in tools that make patient engagement much easier to achieve. When selecting PRM software, look for four key features to support your engagement strategy.
Offer your patients Patient Portal access for effortless appointment management, and secure, patient communication. Since a Patient Portal is available to patients 24/7, patients can log in at any time to stay connected and manage their health. From filling out intake forms to viewing their prescriptions, a Patient Portal is an excellent way to engage your existing patients.
Targeted Email Campaigns
Email remains one of the best ways to stay connected to patients beyond office visits. With Campaign Studio, you can create targeted email campaigns to reach your patients. These campaigns can include monthly newsletters that share seasonal health reminders, practice updates, and more.
You can also segment patients by groups–such as those managing a specific condition or in a certain age group–to communicate information that is directly relevant to them. By following email best practices, you can reconnect with dormant patients by creating recall campaigns with personalized greetings, such as birthday cards, to stay top-of-mind with patients.
Many people use text messaging as a primary means of communication. Reach patients in the method of communication that they’re already communicating in to make sure they receive your message. From one off-text messages to automated review requests, texting is one of the best methods to engage patients.
One of the best applications for text messaging is appointment reminders. A day or two before a scheduled appointment, send a text and ask patients to confirm the appointment. You can also provide a booking link to let patients change or cancel appointments with minimal effort.
Automated Review Requests
When patients have good relationships with care providers, they are more likely to let others know about these positive experiences. You can make the most of these supportive patients by encouraging them to submit reviews to relevant sites online.
With Demandforce, you can send automated review requests via text or email and let patients endorse you with just a few clicks. Then you push the reviews out to sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and WebMD.
Make Patient Engagement a Priority for Your Healthcare Organization
By educating patients and helping them stay connected to your practice, you can improve their ability to engage in healthy choices. After all, the in-office care you provide is only effective if patients comply with care recommendations and pursue the follow-up care they need.
Demandforce makes it easy to foster patient engagement within your medical practice. Our all-in-one solution helps streamline patient communication and simplify critical tasks. Improve patient engagement and support each patient and their care journey with Demandforce.