Google “patient engagement” and you’ll get over 239 million results. Everyone in the healthcare industry seems to use the term but few can agree on its definition. The one thing they can agree on, however, is that achieving a high level of patient engagement is critical in today’s competitive market.
“Patient engagement is defined as the desire and capability to actively choose to participate in care in a way uniquely appropriate to the individual, in cooperation with a healthcare provider or institution, to maximize outcomes or improve experiences of care.”
– Columbia University
In an age of instant gratification, consumers expect more convenience, access, and ease from the companies they do business with. Patients are now no different, demanding the same kind of service from their healthcare providers that they receive from Amazon or other retailers – tailored, available, and responsive. Though many definitions indicate otherwise, this puts the responsibility of patient engagement firmly onto the health system; your organization must put in the effort to make healthcare more accessible and create a personalized patient experience.
“Patient engagement is used to describe everything from patient portals to social media strategies, from tracking vitals with wearables to patients actively participating in their own health and wellness.”
– Healthcare IT News
Some hear the word “engagement” and think “technology.” While technology is important to the modern patient experience, in healthcare especially it’s important to maintain a human touch. For example, you can utilize technology to enhance your patient engagement program by supplementing traditional patient access efforts with multi-channel digital strategies. Additionally, you can ensure better patient outcomes by supporting outreach efforts with leading patient engagement software technology and tailored workflows. A comprehensive engagement strategy includes a unified front door that extends from first contact to post-appointment surveys so you can continuously improve upon the digital patient experience.
"Patient engagement” is a broader concept that combines patient activation with interventions designed to increase activation and promote positive patient behavior, such as obtaining preventive care or exercising regularly.”
– Health Affairs
It’s one thing to understand the impact of the access experience; how long hold times, limited office hours, and no appointment availability, can cause patients to disengage— it’s another to recognize how activation and marketing campaigns contribute to its success. To promote the continued loyalty of your patients you have to do more than remove the friction from their healthcare experience, you must engage yourself. Regular outreach beyond scheduling and reminders keeps their health (and your health system) at the forefront of patient's minds.
Implementing a comprehensive patient engagement program can be simpler than you think. Envera Health offers a comprehensive engagement partnership to support all your efforts from patient access and care coordination to marketing with the right people to extend care culture to the access experience on behalf of your organization.