According to the World Health Organization, patient empowerment is “a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health.” Providers can increase their patients’ involvement in many ways, such as sharing patient education materials and making sure they have a say in their treatment plans. Regardless of methods, patient empowerment has the same result: increasing health outcomes for consumers across the board.
Improving Health Outcomes with Patient Empowerment
It could be easy to brush off patient empowerment in the name of “provider-knows-best”, but empowered patients can have better health outcomes than those in non-empowered situations. That’s because these patients have agency and, as a result, are more likely to be involved with and follow through with their care plan.
Empowered patients are also proactive and ready to ask questions about their care. They likely already know information about themselves, whether they track it using a Fitbit or other wearables. They may also use the internet to learn more about health and wellness topics.
How You Can Empower Patients
Empowered patients want and need consistent, high-quality communication with their providers. Notice that we said “with” — these interactions need to include a two-way dialogue, not a lecture from an all-knowing physician. When patients feel heard and understood by their provider, they want to play an active role in their healthcare.
Not all patients are the same, and they don’t all communicate the same way. We established that empowered patients tend to be proactive, and that’s the case for naturally empowered patients, but others may be more reactive. Fortunately, though, providers can encourage consumers to be more proactive when they learn how to speak their language.
Psychographic segmentation, or the means of categorizing healthcare consumers based on their traits, motivations and behaviors, can help you communicate with patients in the best way possible to amplify their engagement. Through PatientBond’s psychographic segmentation model, patients take a short quiz that will place them in one of five categories. Each of these categories has a profile with key information about their preferences and lifestyle.
Self Achievers, for example, are the most likely to be naturally empowered patients. They are proactive, schedule regular checkups and research any health issues that are currently affecting them or are in their family history.
Willful Endurers are the opposite, as they live for the present and aren’t overly interested in taking care of their health for the future. They are generally self-reliant and most likely will not want to change their habits, even if they already know they could improve their health by doing so.
If you have some patients who are Self Achievers and some who are Willful Endurers (not to mention the other three segments), it can be hard to tailor messaging to appeal to their unique perspective. With such different personalities, the same information that fires up the Self Achievers could easily be ignored by the Willful Endurers.
PatientBond’s digital engagement platform uses psychographic segmentation to create and deliver messages that resonate with healthcare consumers across all five segments. As a result, these communications can better motivate patients to become actively involved in their care, increasing their feelings of empowerment. With a more accurate strategy for delivering the right information at the right time and via the right channel, you can amplify patient engagement, creating a way for them to have an informed say in their care.
When patients are engaged and active in their care, they are more likely to have positive health outcomes. Engaged patients feel empowered and motivated to take action, so they will stick to the treatment plan, take their medications and follow their provider’s recommendations. With the help of a digital engagement tool like the PatientBond platform, you can motivate patients to incorporate healthy behaviors into their lives, like prevention screenings, and improve their overall quality of life. For more on the psychographic segmentation model and how you can harness its insights to improve health outcomes, download our case study.