Engagement is Empowerment when it comes to patients
Both patients and healthcare professionals are interested in patient engagement. You may be asking why? Because empowered patients are the ultimate goal for healthcare professionals. Increasing patient engagement is a great way of improving health outcomes.
Every patient wants to feel empowered and in control. In fact, 92% of patients surveyed said they want to have a say in healthcare decisions. 24% stated that they want to be fully in charge of their health.
But what is patient engagement?
The Center for Advancing Health defines patient engagement as “actions people take for the health of their healthcare to benefit.” However, it’s becoming more clear that two things are certain:
Improved health outcomes are directly related to increased patient engagement. Information technologies can help increase patient engagement
How can technology and engagement improve health outcomes?
Judith Hibbard is a researcher at the University of Oregon’s Health Policy Research Group. She says that people who are engaged in their healthcare are more likely stay healthy, manage their conditions, eat right and exercise, and to receive health screenings, immunizations, and to be healthier.
The rise in consumer-driven healthcare plans today is not only improving patients’ health but also helping them save money on their healthcare costs. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, high-deductible plans force patients to be more in tune with their providers, almost like a partnership. This makes them more aware of things like whether their plan covers care, asking for generic alternatives to brand-name prescription drugs, and discussing cost with their doctors more often.
Summer Allen, a family physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, says that technology can improve patient engagement as well as health outcomes. “Technology can automate many tasks and when we use it to assist with these tasks, it could potentially open the doors for us in healthcare, it can possibly open the doors for us to engage with patients in meaningful discussions about what health means to you.”
Most health professionals agree that patient technology has the greatest benefits for patients. This is because communication barriers can be broken down by patients. Clinicians across the country are using more patient portals, secure messaging app, and social media to break down these barriers. Patients want to know the status of their health. They want to be able view their doctor’s notes, track their health and schedule appointments online. Effective patient technology is more than just what patients should do for their own health. It’s about how to make it easier to do the right things for their health.
Accenture found that 90% of patients would welcome web-based “self service” options such as online scheduling, prescription refills, or access to their health information. Health professionals can help patients self-manage their health by giving them the resources they need and allowing them to track and monitor their condition. This helps to make them more informed, engaged, and healthier.
Engagement is the key to empowering patients. Engagement is key to improving patient health outcomes. Patients want to be involved in healthcare decision-making. Everyone benefits when there is trust between the patient and the clinician. Patients are more satisfied, have higher satisfaction scores and are more aware of what they need to be healthy. Clinicians get more reimbursements from insurance companies. A healthy, engaged patient is an empowered one!