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What is Patient Engagement?

What is patient engagement?

Healthcare patient engagement is empowering patients with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to make the best decisions about their health. Patient engagement requires a unified team approach between the health care provider, the patient, and professional staff. According to HIMSS, patients who feel empowered by being provided with the knowledge needed to actively participate in their health care decision-making process often experience improved outcomes and are healthier as a result.

Why does patient engagement matter to your practice?

Patient engagement builds trust between patients and their care team, ultimately driving improved continuity of care. Increased patient engagement helps to put patients at ease, so they feel comfortable asking questions, allowing them to pay more attention to their health and to follow their care plans. High-quality patient engagement can set your practice apart, helping you to acquire new patients and possibly to benefit from increased referrals.

A 2013 study (Health Affairs) provides a great example of how effective patient engagement may be realized. The study included patients who were given a “usual” level of support and patients who were provided “enhanced” support in the form of multimodal outreach to guide them in making decisions about their medical care. Patients receiving enhanced support had 20.9% fewer preference-sensitive cardiac surgeries, 12.5% fewer hospital admissions, and 5.4% lower medical care costs than patients receiving usual support.

In another study (Center for Studying Health System Change), patients with the lowest levels of engagement were almost three times as likely to have unmet medical needs and nearly two times as likely to delay care as patients with the highest levels of engagement.

What can your practice do to engage patients?

To fully engage with patients in all aspects of their care, it is important to partner with an electronic health record that offers a suite of patient engagement solutions. One very effective solution is customizing interactions with patients through text, voice, and email appointment reminders. This feature is a great way to reach a busy patient via their preferred communication method, while decreasing your staff’s administrative burden. Another great feature is the option to send broadcast messages to your entire patient list with minimal effort. You can let your patients know about upcoming flu clinics or send messages to specific groups of patients about the importance of medication adherence with a few simple clicks. For more details and information about patient engagement solutions, please visit the Practice Fusion Patient Engagement page.