Life is a journey that is so personalized. Some people, through luck, genes, good habits or a combination, go from cradle to grave barely needing the services of the medical establishment. Others need a hospital hand to hold the entire journey, with the vast majority falling somewhere in the middle to varying degrees. Healthcare solutions that are scalable, individualized and sincere can be tailored to fit each person’s journey across a population.
According to healthcare consultancy The Studer Group: “Chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, account for the majority of deaths and more than 75 percent of the nation's medical care costs. Since the average patient sees a clinician just 20 minutes a few times a year, it's critical to activate patients to advocate for their own wellness.”
A patient engagement platform like PatientBond helps a patient do just that. Developing digital relationships with patients beyond the walls of a practice — whether that be through voice, text or email, depending on their psychographic segment’s unique motivations and preferences — will promote better patient health outcomes with easy-to-follow aftercare instructions, health and wellness goals and engagement based on a patient’s communication preferences.
So, with this in mind, here are five key reasons patient engagement is crucial to improving health outcomes:
1. Chronic Conditions Mean Constant Care
“Patient engagement is one of the best tools in a provider’s arsenal in handling chronic disease management,” according to PatientEngagmentHIT.com. And we agree. A patient with diabetes or congestive heart failure doesn’t leave their condition at the hospital; it goes with them. Their good care should, too. And that can happen through an engagement platform and happen in a fiscally responsible, patient-centric way.
2. Early Warning Signs
That “tiny cyst” a patient notices could be a benign nothing or the beginning of an aggressive malignancy. By engaging with the patient on their own terms and turf early on, a hospital can identify treatable problems before they become more serious conditions. Opening as many communication channels as possible and having the patient choose the method of interaction based on his or her own preferences can go a long way toward flagging and addressing potential problems.
3. Building a Brand
Being involved with your patient isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s good business. Building a sincere, relevant communication channel with one patient is like a compounded investment. One happy patient becomes dozens of happy patients through word of mouth and peer influence. You’re turning people into ambassadors for your brand, who will go out into the community and evangelize their friends and family about how great you are and that’s great for business.
There’s no better marketing than simply doing a great job, and engagement, when it comes to hospitals, is part of that great job. Patients want predictability and open communication. They don’t want to feel forgotten, that they’re just cast off after they’ve had their gallbladder removed. They want a relationship, and a patient-centric, digital platform can help build that.
4. Reducing Hospital Readmissions
Again, engagement is good business. Ongoing interactions with patients post-discharge not only builds the hospital’s brand, but intercepts issues before they develop into otherwise unnecessary medical utilization. For example, engagement can stop a potential hospital readmission in its tracks by identifying problems early that can be solved without a trip to the ER.
For example, if a patient feels shortness of breath after a discharge for Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), it could be something urgent, or it could be the patient is overestimating his or her capacity for activity and tiring easily. A two-way digital communication pathway, like that offered by PatientBond, can enable a patient to alert a hospital’s call center and trigger an immediate response to diagnose and appropriately address the problem.
5. Streamlined Care
Remember the days when a new mom would spend five days in the hospital for a routine delivery? Of course, we know now that that’s not medically necessary most of the time. Ditto for that knee surgery or even heart stent. That doesn’t mean that care doesn’t need to continue, but it can continue in the comfort of a patient’s own home using technologically sound, personalized platforms.
The basics of good healthcare and improving health outcomes begin and end with good communication. Engagement throughout the process can ensure one’s healthcare journey is a meaningful and productive one.