5 Ways to Improve Patient Engagement
Patient engagement refers to the tools and actions taken by patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers to promote informed decision-making and behaviors to facilitate improved health outcomes. Research shows that patient engagement leads to reduced hospital visits, decreased morbidity and mortality, and increased quality of life.
There are many different strategies and ways to increase patient engagement below are a few suggestions:
- Build an online presence-Today, almost every business should have a website or online presence. With nearly 80% of Internet users searching for medical information online, if you do not currently have a functioning website, you probably should. Having a website that is attractive, organized, educational and easy to navigate can provide many benefits. Not only does a website help make your patients aware of your practice and services; it helps to increase your marketability to new patients. A website can also increase a practice’s efficiency by reducing the time staff spends on the phone answering commonly asked questions. It also allows practices to provide resources to patients such as healthcare information, directions, forms, and appointment scheduling which are all effective ways to increase patient engagement.
- Online Scheduling-Make it easy for patients to schedule appointments through online scheduling. This is a wonderful convenience for patients enabling them to book an appointment anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also helps to drive patients to your website where you can provide additional resources and health information.
- Give your patients access to their medical records online- Offer patients access to their personal medical records online through the use of a patient portal. Patients can view information such as doctor visits, lab results, schedule appointments, request prescription re-fills, pay bills and communicate with the physician. Patient portals help keep patients involved and informed in their healthcare which is critical to improved outcomes and patient engagement.
- Patient education- A key factor for ensuring patient engagement is helping them understand their healthcare. By providing patients with educational materials, including information on chronic conditions, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, and other continuing care information.
- Email and SMS Texting- According to research, communication through email or SMS texting is appreciated by most patients. Utilizing email or texting to send appointment reminders or practice updates is an excellent way to reduce cancellations, minimize the influx of phone calls for staff, and increase communications with your patients.
Increased patient engagement has been shown to improve outcomes and lower healthcare costs. By implementing just a few of these strategies, patients and practices alike will reap the many benefits.