Patient focus is not the new term nowadays, but it is the mission for all the pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers, and all other stakeholders in this industry. Almost all companies who want to have sustainable growth must focus on their patients. Patients in digital life 4.0 have different demands in comparison with patients in the past decade. People are looking for better diagnostic, better treatment, better healthcare and above all, healthcare experience should be easier than before.
What is Patient Engagement in Healthcare?
Patient engagement encourages patients in their own care to help improve health outcomes, drive better patient care. It combines a patient’s knowledge, skills, ability, and willingness to manage their own care with communications designed to promote positive behaviors. Patients want to be engaged in their healthcare decision-making process, and those who are engaged in their care tend to be healthier.
Benefits of Patient Engagement
Increased patient knowledge and understanding encourages them to become actively engaged in their own health, well-being, and healthcare choices, leading to improved care and fewer ER visits.
In addition to improving care, patient engagement also has financial benefits as it reduces no-shows, aids in increasing revenue, and maintains your patient base.
By collaborating and engaging with patients in the decision-making process, healthcare providers can make better decisions regarding a patient’s health, improving the patient-provider relationship, and overall patient retention.
Physicians are better able to treat patients in the most effective way possible, ultimately becoming more time and cost efficient.
How can healthcare systems engage their patients digitally?
Engaging patients in a fruitful way is essential for healthcare systems, it helps improve their approach and services. Proactive follow-up conversations before and after an appointment or treatment with a patient can help improve their experience, reduce cost and reduce care gaps. Engaging patients digitally is even more convenient as it saves time for every party involved. Many healthcare systems have digitized almost everything from booking appointments, paying doctor's fees, follow up check-ups, incentive, and prescriptions, etc so that patients don't have to wait in long lines. Adopting mentioned practices have helped improve time management, service quality and patient experience for a lot of healthcare systems.
Applying the patient engagement process is not easy as said, but also not too difficult. Healthcare provider centers could consider using digital materials such as video education, healthcare insurance documentation, etc. In addition to that, sharing information about an appointment before time can help patients understand what to expect. Meaning they would know about the extra costs, potential test or procedure conduction, breakdown of healthcare coverage and other information about the doctor's experience, etc. That being said, post-appointment engagement is also important. In addition, completing patient surveys, confirming follow-up appointments, notification reminders about when prescription duration gets over, etc are a few ways to approach post-appointment digital patient interaction. E-mail notifications regarding other healthcare-related activities such as annual flu shots, wellness campaigns, mammograms, occasional offers and discounts on tests/procedures are other ways. Moreover, creating public websites, accounts on social media, phone applications, location-based marketing, etc helps them engage the digital patient more effectively. Data shows that for a lot of healthcare center websites, the most visited section are their provider pages. Providing doctor information, open slots in schedule timings help patients to book appointments around their own free time with just a few clicks. According to reports, the mobile health industry will reach a total market size of over USD 60 billion by 2020. (Source: Imaginovation)
With all facts mentioned above, , engaging the patients digitally is easier said than done. That is because patients who need these services are mostly of the bygone generation with less practice in the digital area. Although the young generation is proactive about healthcare, digital engagement should focus on all patients regardless of age. The central idea suggests that these services be simpler like easy to use applications, websites and even mobile services, for example booking appointments over phone calls. Healthcare systems need to develop these services by keeping in mind the ability of their patients about the digital approach.
The core success of patient engagement is how you understand your patients, how you receive patient feedback and take it as an opportunity for you to improve the patient experience. With the advantage of technology, in the market, there are available digital solutions to help healthcare providers build good patient engagement strategies. However, not all tools are suitable to the current business operation. In order to have a better understanding of your patients, their profiles and expectations, ASHAVI is suggesting you to conduct the patient research to gather patient information. Healthcare service providers should also take the comment or record the patient feedback after experience with the service. After doing the patient research,you will have a better understanding of your patients and it will be the starting point for building the effective patient engagement strategy to uplift patient experience and increase patient commitment toward your healthcare operation.
Step by Step Engaging Patient at your hospital / clinic:
- Step 1: Measure your patient experience at your hospital / clinic and analyse the patients' expectation and concern.
We - ASHAVI create the template of Patient Experience Questionnaire which helps to measure the patient experience toward the hospital / clinic. It covers the patient journey towards your hospital/ clinic from the moment they book for appointment, visit hospital/ clinic, till check up, conduct the health exam, follow up visit check up, payment.
You can do the example CX survey here
Download and make a copy - use it by sign up here.
- Step 2: Understand patients requirement, concern, expectation and plan the road map to improve
From the CX survey, you can identify those area of information:
1 - The patient pain points
2 - The patient expectation
3 - The "WOW" factors which make the patients more happier.
Example of Cancer Patient needs and pain points which have been identified through the research.
From the research insight, you can create the road map where you need to identify the most impacful factors and the least impactful factors.
- Step 3: Write down SOP and inform to all relevant department to start following.
You should understand that the improvement of patient experience in the hospital / clinic is not a job of any one, but it is a job of ALL, including the bottom level up to the top level in the organization. The patient should have the good experience when they interact with any one in the hospital/ clinic.
This job is not just only the attitude of employees, but also including the process, procedure, the facility, the enviroment, the service, the product, and the employees.
To implement this, you need to write down the clear SOP, where should mention details the step by step task, in specific for everyone in the organization to follow.
The implementation should be measured at least quarterly and yearly, even better if you measure by monthly. Measuring the implementation is by measure the patient experience through the survey.
ASHAVI with more than 13 yrs of experience in healthcare research, wish you have the good start to measure your patient experience. Contact us if you need any further advise.
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