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5 Essential Patient Engagement Strategies to Drive Better Clinical Outcomes

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Introduction

To drive the best outcomes, patients must be actively engaged in their healthcare. This means it's important to keep them updated with different treatment options, share knowledge, and communicate in a timely manner throughout the healthcare journey.

Patient engagement is one of the pillars of consistent, reliable, and effective healthcare. Without it, patients are left dissatisfied and become less likely to adhere to treatments. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential that your practice continually looks to improve patient engagement.

In this guide, we’ll explore what patient engagement is, how it’s evolved, and the strategies you can use to boost engagement to drive better clinical outcomes at your healthcare practice.

 

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement involves encouraging patients to play a more active role in their care.

It combines a patient’s knowledge and willingness to manage their healthcare experience with tailored communications, technology, and anything that advocates more interaction between healthcare providers and patients.

This can be as simple as providing patients with the option to reorder prescriptions via a patient portal instead of requiring them to attend in-person appointments.

Another example would be making important health information easier for patients to access or providing digital tools to help clinicians communicate with patients while they’re away from the practice.

Smart Healthcare Apps

There are over 325,000 mobile health apps available on smartphones, tablets, and computers today.

The Benefits of Ongoing Patient Engagement

Patients who take an active role in their own healthcare are more empowered and responsible for their health and wellbeing. Well-informed and engaged patients are more likely to take a hands-on approach in managing their health, which can improve clinical outcomes.

Continued patient engagement can help your practice achieve:

  • Fewer no-shows and cancellations
  • Higher patient satisfaction
  • Lower likelihood of unnecessary appointments
  • Reduced healthcare costs

Making patient engagement a priority is the first step in achieving these outcomes. By engaging patients, your practice will build trusted, long-term relationships. This will help your patients stay invested in their care, so they’re more likely to be receptive to treatments.

The Rise of Digital Patient Engagement Technologies

Patients now have a more holistic view of their health. Advancements in patient engagement technology have supported this shift, empowering patients to use digital devices, online booking platforms, and health trackers to monitor their conditions remotely.

Healthcare technologies like mobile engagement tools, digital displays, telehealth solutions, and remote monitoring are no longer unaffordable luxuries. The ROI coupled with the advantages of consistent patient engagement has led many practices to prioritise this once-neglected area of healthcare.

The COVID-19 Effect

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare delivery changed dramatically. Healthcare providers adopted digital technology to address new engagement challenges.

In just a few short months, telehealth went from a futuristic buzzword to the most common form of consultation. The pandemic dispelled the stigma surrounding virtual appointments, illuminating benefits like convenience and safer, socially distanced appointments for contagious patients.

The move to virtual visits has had a positive effect on the uptake in usage for patient portals too. While about 90% of practices offered some form of a patient portal before the pandemic, fewer than 10% reported using one regularly. This all changed once the pandemic hit. Spikes in traffic have remained consistent, even today as vaccine rollouts and lockdown easing are helping life return to normal.

The pandemic demonstrated how important patient engagement technology can be in promoting better patient outcomes and access to care. To continue benefiting from these tools post-pandemic, it’s important to plan and strategise.

73%

of healthcare consumers want to access their healthcare information online. 

5 Key Patient Engagement Strategies

Now you know what patient engagement is, here are five of the strategies you can employ to improve it.

1. Provide Accessibility for All Patient Groups

An important facet of patient engagement is making your healthcare practice as accessible as possible.

To make healthcare easier to access for patients at home, you can give them the option to access their health information online. 73% of healthcare consumers indicated they would like all of their medical data to be accessible via a standard website or mobile device. This is significant, as giving patients the freedom to independently obtain and engage with their personal healthcare information improves patient education and can prevent unnecessary presentations.

You can also use digital technology to make your services more accessible inside the practice. Digital displays, for instance, improve patient calling for those that are hard of hearing. You can also use multi-language variations and edit the size and style of your content to overcome accessibility barriers.

2. Use Mobile Apps to Your Advantage

There are over 325,000 mobile health apps available on smartphones, tablets, and computers today. And more than one-third of consumers are interested in using these apps to engage with their healthcare providers.

Mobile apps have a range of uses. For example, you can use dedicated check-in apps to provide a more streamlined arrival process. Patients can check-in from their personal devices using the screen or scan a QR code when they arrive at the practice. Once they’re done, they just need to wait for an on-screen notification that lets them know their doctor is ready, and they can head directly to the treatment room. This gives patients greater flexibility when they arrive and eliminates unnecessary queuing.

But convenience isn’t the only benefit of mobile apps. You can also use them to track and share health data or communicate directly with doctors outside of traditional treatment hours. An example of this is telehealth consultations. Through a supported app, patients can engage with clinicians, discuss treatments, and more.

When used correctly, these mobile apps can deliver a huge boost in patient engagement and provide self-management possibilities to help drive better clinical outcomes.

3. Empower Patients with Key Healthcare Information

It will come as no surprise that Google searches beginning with “why” were higher in 2020 than ever before. The unprecedented year was defined by an insatiable appetite for information, particularly about health. But while 2020 saw the biggest uptake in people craving healthcare guidance in the wake of the pandemic, it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Without a basic of knowledge of possible conditions, treatments, and other issues, it’s harder for patients to successfully manage their own health. To get the best results, you need to arm patients with key information about their conditions, treatment plans, healthcare trends, and more.

You can do this by promoting educational content on digital displays in your waiting room and premises.

4. Create Demographically Targeted Campaigns

Delivering a truly personalised patient experience matters now more than ever. Regular, targeted healthcare campaigns help patients feel connected to their practice and ensure they’re always kept up-to-date about any new developments. Demographic data is essential to achieving this tailored experience.

You can collect demographic data when patients check in for an appointment, download a healthcare app, or fill out a survey. When they consent to sharing and input data, it becomes part of their medical records, which you can use to personalise your campaigns.

Regularly communicating with patients about important clinic news, personalised risk profiles, or new treatment options will keep them engaged and informed.

To visualise the effectiveness of these campaigns and establish the results, we recommend using an email and SMS management tool. Jayex Campaign for example, lets you access your campaign results from anywhere with an internet connection. It also lets you dive into the data with in-built analytics options. This lets you better refine your future campaigns and target your chosen demographics.

5. Gather Feedback with Digital Surveys

Regularly checking in with patients and listening to their issues increases patient engagement. You can find out how they're feeling by encouraging and collecting their input and tailoring your treatment and advice accordingly.

Patient satisfaction surveys are a quick and easy method to get feedback. You can deliver digital surveys to patients via email or SMS through a dedicated survey platform. Patients can then access and finish them from anywhere using their phone, tablet, or digital device.

Digital surveys let you stay one step ahead of emerging patient trends and concerns, so you can act on them before they become an issue. So your finger stays on the pulse at all times.

Case Study: Delivering Patient Self-Check-In Kiosks to an NHS Foundation Trust

NHS Foundation Trust hospitals Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General approached Jayex for help with augmenting their legacy digital signage system.

The old system was outdated and failed to engage patients as they were waiting for appointments. They also wanted ways to deliver efficiency and time savings for staff, along with an improved check-in process for patients. We set to work installing our flagship patient self-check-in solution, Enlighten, which would operate in tandem with our digital signage across the hospitals.

The Results

Since implementing our patient-self-check-in kiosks, the Trust has seen a dramatic increase in patient satisfaction and engagement. 93% of 16,171 patients surveyed agreed that the new system is easy to use, intuitive to operate, and engaging.

The Jayex solution also gave receptionists and admin staff more time for patient follow-ups and additional care, as they no longer need to handle check-ins. Staff also noted that the new kiosks help collect valuable patient data, which helps them create tailored campaigns for the future.

A Boost to Patient Engagement

“The kiosk has so much potential for boosting patient engagement and giving us a better handle on patient trends and concerns, we really feel this is just the beginning.”

Nicola Turner, Divisional Director.

Make Digital Patient Engagement a Priority

If you want to improve patient engagement at your healthcare organisation, then you need the right digital technology to assist you.

Jayex can provide the tools you need to execute your patient-centric campaigns, obtain valuable survey data, improve communication, and more. Get in touch and find out how we can help you drive better clinical outcomes today.

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