In today’s healthcare system, patient engagement is more than just a theoretical concept. It has been observed that active patient engagement has a big role in consistent recovery of patients. The major part of the recovery occurs beyond the doctor’s office. However, engaging patients actively to take care of their health is not easy.We need a patient centric approach to encourage patients to take active part in their health care and wellbeing. In this blog we will explore exactly the problems faced by the doctors and patients in active patient engagement and the strategies to tackle these problems.
The impact of patient engagement on healthcare outcomes
Patients that are highly engaged in their healthcare are usually reported to have quick recoveries with great patient satisfaction. Thus the impact of patient engagement cannot be stated enough for better healthcare outcomes. Here are some impacts of patient engagement on healthcare outcomes.
- Proactive disease management:
Patients who are actively involved in their healthcare are more likely to get regular checkups and screenings, which makes disease prevention and management a successful possibility. Early diagnosis of disease can make it easier to manage and in some cases cure it fully only due to active patient engagement.
- Improved Communication:
High patient engagement results in open , unfiltered communication with the healthcare providers. As a result , it is easier to make accurate diagnoses and personalized treatment plan which improves the overall healthcare experience for the patients.
- Patient satisfaction
Patient engagement boosts patient satisfaction. How? Well by actively participating in their own health and well being , they experience an improvement in their health which then turns into patient satisfaction.
- Quality of Life:
Patients are partially responsible for improving their quality of life. By regular and consistent involvement towards gaining a healthy life, they automatically improve their quality of life.
Strategies for improving patient engagement
- Using technology
Health care providers can now leverage technology to improve patient engagement. Telehealth practices in this case are very effective. Sending appointment reminders, remote monitoring and omni channel technology can be used for effective patient engagement.
- Personalized health care plans:
Patients are more likely to engage in their healthcare and well being with personalized health care plans. Personalized health care plans ensure patients that their personal circumstances and situations are taken into account in their health management.
- Educational initiatives:
The more patients know about their condition, the easier it is for them to manage it. They need to be educated about their health condition, the treatments they can receive and preventive measures they can take for better outcomes.
- Cultural competency training:
Health care professionals must be trained to treat patients with diverse cultural backgrounds. Two most important things that can hinder patient engagement and health care are the language barriers and cultural health beliefs. The health care providers must be well versed in communicating with culturally diverse patients. It will help both the patients and the providers to break the language barriers and will definitely enhance patient engagement.
Similarly different cultures have diverse beliefs about health and its treatments. The healthcare providers can promote patient engagement when they take these diverse cultural health beliefs into account.
- Effective communication:
Patients may get overwhelmed with their health conditions or diagnoses. The healthcare providers can try to explain the medical jargon they use for different conditions so that the patient clearly understands the severity and nature of the sickness, illness or disease. By doing so the patient can see the dedication of their health care providers. It can be a great motivation for the patient to engage in their health care and well being.
Implementing technology for patient engagement:
WIth the advancements in technology, the patient entertainment facilities are now being used for patient education. Hand held devices, interactive TVs and many other such things are now improving patient engagement. THey now provide information in the language patients can understand. However technology for the purpose of patient engagement is not limited to these things only. Here are a few examples on how technology can be used/implemented for the purpose of patient engagement:
- Digital Communication Platform:
Healthcare service providers can create secure digital communication platforms where patients can communicate with the relevant care provider. Real time channels for appointment scheduling, emergency situations and general inquiries can also ensure high patient engagement.
- Mobile apps:
Educate the patients about the multiple apps that help in managing patient health, track their medication schedules and can remind them about their upcoming appointments. Health mobile apps can also enable remote health monitoring of the patients.
- Patient portals:
The health care service providers can provide a secure individual patient portal where patients can look into their EHRs (Electronic Health Records), get their test results and be kept in the loop about their health. A well informed patient is more likely to take an active part in their health care.
- Wearable tech/ remote monitoring:
Wearable tech like smart watches, are ideal for remote monitoring. These devices can also help patients stay informed about their health and can help them take swift action in case of any disruptions in the numbers.
The role of healthcare professionals in promoting patient engagement:
- Facilitate shared decision making:
Empower the patients to participate in the decision making process about their treatment plans. Communicate clearly with the patients about their health so that they can make an informed decision for the treatment and care.
- Patient feedback:
There should be a system in place to gather patient feedback, which will eventually help health care providers improve patient engagement.
- Encourage preventive measures:
Enable patients to take preventive measures when it comes to their health. Inform them about the vaccinations , and preventive medicine to reduce the risk of any health issues.
Conclusion: The future of patient engagement in healthcare:
Patient engagement is crucial to patient wellbeing and recovery. The actual recovery happens beyond the doctor’s office when the patient actively participates in improving their health and managing their symptoms. However patients may not be as aware of this fact and health service providers can encourage and inform them about how they can actively engage in their recovery. The telehealth services can also help in active participation from patients. If you wanna learn more about health care in the UK read our blog (insert published blog link) or visit our website at Medics-UK for further information.