Just last year, Artificial Intelligence topped the list of priorities for hospital CIOs according to a survey conducted by CHIME and Stoltenberg Consulting. In an interesting shift this year, patient engagement has become the leading priority among more than half of CIOs surveyed. Of course, the pandemic has been significant in redirecting the focus of many initiatives for IT and clinical leaders. But what is the increasing value that healthcare executives are seeking in a patient engagement platform?
Texting, emails, and other technologies that deliver patient communications aren’t necessarily the priority. But using them most effectively to really solve problems and improve outcomes is the primary focus. What are the underlying benefits that patient engagement technology provides? Studies such as CHIMES’s and others illustrate how healthcare leaders recognize patient engagement platforms will help them improve, navigate and automate the new patient journey in several ways. These include advances in patient care, satisfaction ratings, reducing preventable readmissions, as well as the following benefits to be discussed in more detail.
Reducing the Burden on Providers and Staff
Provider and staff burnout has increased significantly during the pandemic, and solutions to relieve the burden are sorely needed. We recall the expectations of EHR systems as they began implementation in the early 2000s. EHR systems had well-intended promises of reducing the provider’s burden through efficiency, time savings and overall improvement of care. But these never materialized for some and fell short for many. While digitizing records is the necessary solution, providers tended to resent the new process.
So, what makes patient engagement technology different than EHR in alleviating provider burden and allowing them to focus more on improving outcomes? An EHR system is a “displacement” technology designed to end the paper process. Plus, EHRs required significant workflow changes for both providers and staff. On the other hand, patient engagement platforms are an “expansion” technology that requires little to no change in workflow. Providers and other staff are trying to do what they can to communicate with patients pre- and post-visit. Patient engagement technology simply expands their efforts and alleviates burden while automating the process. PatientBond also adds personalization to engagement outreach. This is shown to go further in activating healthier behavior through messages that motivate patients according to their “healthcare personality” based on psychographic profiles.
Patient Acquisition and Retention Strategies
The responsibility to acquire, retain and improve patient satisfaction continues to expand to all healthcare departments. IT leaders are understanding how systems can be used to positively impact these patient initiatives. But while patient engagement platforms are clear paths toward improving communications, what is needed to effectively engage and truly improve the patient journey? In addition to improving everything pertaining to population health, healthcare organizations need enthusiastically loyal patients that post positive reviews and refer their friends. To improve patient acquisition efforts, healthcare organizations now have access to consumer science data. For example, organizations can market service lines based on key motivations known about healthcare consumer segments. Or personalize advertising messages in areas of cities where higher density of certain “healthcare personality” types, or psychographic segments, live.
Shift from Clinician-Only Education to Include Patients
The studies also point out that healthcare organizations need IT departments to increase patient education, in addition to the current clinician education initiatives. Asking clinicians to do more during the visits may help. But as we’ve mentioned previously, providers are already experiencing a high amount of burnout. Automated patient engagement can be operationalized to not only deliver needed educational content to patients but can be aligned with the patients’ motivations and communication preferences to increase the probability that the communications actually drive behavior change.
To learn more about applying consumer science to patient communications for personalized engagement, contact PatientBond today.
For more on technology designed to meet the help patients where they are in their healthcare journey, download our recent white paper, The Current State of Healthcare Consumer Technology.