Why is Patient Engagement Important to Healthcare Providers?
At a time when austerity is in full effect, healthcare practices across the UK are increasingly focused on getting patients engaged with their treatment and care. But why is boosting patient engagement vital during a period when practices are struggling just to balance the budget?
The idea of patient engagement originated in the 1974 paper Health Education as Social Policy, which introduced the term “health literacy”. This was defined as “the ability to read and comprehend written medical information and instructions” but has since grown into something far more expansive.
At the heart of patient engagement is the same idea of empowering patients to make good health decisions in their everyday lives. But where health literacy merely aimed to increase public understanding of medical literature, patient engagement identifies ways to increase the likelihood of patients putting that knowledge into practice.
The Benefits of Increased Patient Engagement
Simply, empowering and encouraging patients to actively participate in their care and treatment can make all the difference to patients and health practitioners alike.
There is a proven association between many positive health outcomes and patients being more engaged in their health. In fact, numerous reports, studies and reviews have successfully shown more engaged patients are more likely to:
- Feel confident about managing their conditions
- Recall necessary information and knowledge
- Report that the chosen treatment was right for them
- Feel satisfied with their care and treatment
- Adhere to their chosen treatment according to protocols
- Participate in monitoring and prevention activities
Better informed patients who feel more capable of making good decisions about their health also provide a range of benefits for practices. As a general rule, healthier patients mean less work per patient forhealth practitioners.
Not only do more engaged patients visit practices less often, reducing the burden on overstretched healthcare professionals, they are also less likely to require repeated treatment because they follow preventative advice, particularly in cases of avoidable conditions such as blood pressures issues or type 2 diabetes.
Ensuring patients are highly engaged with any online resources can also reduce unnecessary appointments for tasks that can be handled digitally, like collecting test results or finding answers to commonly asked medical questions.
Increasing Patient Engagement
Patient engagement has become a prominent feature of healthcare standards, with doctors and nurses now encouraged to work in partnership with their patients to ensure the right treatment and care is delivered to every individual.
Increasing engagement goes far beyond the time that patients spend with healthcare professionals though. Everything from the ease of booking appointments to the availability of health information in different languages can improve the patient experience - thereby encouraging increased engagement.
The right technology, properly implemented, can have a huge affect on patient engagement. For example, many practices offer an online portal to empower patients to contact doctors, book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and access basic health advice digitally.
Measuring Patient Engagement
With so many different aspects contributing to patient engagement, attempting to measure it can be tricky.
That’s why patient surveys have become so popular. They allow practices to capture a range of both quantitative and qualitative data to help measure patient engagement and then develop a strategy to increase it.
Digital check-in kiosks are becoming ubiquitous in healthcare practices, and these are the perfect method for delivering patient engagement surveys. Not only are they convenient and easy to use, but they can be easily integrated with our Enlighten survey module, which has
Click here for more information on our patient engagement solutions or click the banner below to talk to a Jayex expert to find out how our patient engagement software could help your practice boost patient health and costs.