Patient engagement is an important measure of success for healthcare providers. Patients are now more involved in their healthcare experience and doctors are expected to engage patients in their health, care, and treatment.
Engaged patients have better healthcare outcomes – there’s a direct link between patient engagement and knowledge of their condition, satisfaction of care, and the likelihood of continuing with treatment. Engaged patients are also less likely to cancel appointments or book unnecessary ones. This saves practices time and resources.
Follow our top tips to engage patients in their healthcare journey.
4 Ways to Engage Patients in Their Healthcare
1. Make Appointment Admin Easy
When patients have multiple methods of interacting with you, it improves their engagement.
Booking, rescheduling, or cancelling appointments is difficult with a busy schedule. Some practices can only be contacted over the phone during opening hours, which isn’t always convenient. These parameters aren’t inclusive of patients:
- with unconventional work patterns such as night shifts
- who are hard of hearing
- who are speech-impaired
In addition, many patients would prefer to contact their practice via alternative methods to a phone call. 63% of patients in Australia said they prefer to book an appointment digitally. Patients are looking for choice and flexibility, so being able to arrange appointments online or using a mobile app is convenient. As 80.1% of the Australian population are estimated to have a smartphone by 2025, it’s important to digitise bookings in your practice.
It's also useful for patients to be able to request repeat prescriptions, talk to doctors online/over the phone, and even choose which practitioner to see. This benefits patient engagement as it puts them in control of their healthcare needs. For practices, it frees up time because staff aren’t tied up registering patients and booking appointment slots.
2. Educate Patients by Sharing Information, Advice, and Insights
Health literacy – a person’s ability to understand healthcare information and make sound health-related decisions – plays a big part in positive health outcomes for patients.
Patients with lower health literacy levels are more likely to be hospitalised and have higher health care costs. This makes up 3% to 5% of healthcare costs in Australia. It's not only in your best interest to educate patients, but also to regularly communicate with them. Communication is a factor in how patients rate their experience with a healthcare provider, with 63.4% saying communication is a top driver for giving a 5-star review of their healthcare experience.
Practices can support the long-term health of patients by sharing vital public health messages such as the World Health Organisation’s (WHO)
"WHO saves lives: clean your hands” and the Australian government’s National Tobacco campaign. Jayex's technology allows the sharing of these messages in practice waiting rooms.
You can share tailored health information via SMS or email with your patients, too. By using customised surveys to detect patient health trends, you can increase the relevance and engagement of the content you share.
3. Get to Know Your Patients Better
Use your patient data wisely. Insight gives you power, and with that comes the ability to delight patients. For example, if you have information on their communication preferences, use their preferred method to send them appointment reminders and preventative healthcare advice. If you know they get the flu jab every year, send them a message when bookings are open.
You can then track the outcome of your communications. You can identify who opens and engages with certain types of content and use these insights to further segment your patient audience when you next contact them. This approach to communication gives patients a more tailored experience that will keep them engaged.
You can also run patient surveys to collect data about their preferences and get feedback on the service they receive. This will fill any gaps you have in your data, extend the reach of your healthcare campaigns, and let patients know that you’re listening to their views.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Getting patients to engage with their healthcare can be overwhelming – whether that’s something simple like online bookings and SMS appointment reminders or something more complex like running surveys.
Fortunately, there are digital healthcare solutions that provide multiple engagement tools in one easy-to-use and easy-to-implement system. This helps you and your practice to stay ahead of the curve.
How to engage patients in their healthcare at your practice is entirely up to you. But it’s important that you prioritise patient engagement to improve patient outcomes and save your practice time and money. The best way to make these kinds of changes is by taking advantage of technology. If you’re not already adopting tech at your practice, the time to start is now.Back to blog