Patient Outreach: The Missing Piece to Comprehensive Care

2 min read

Integrating a patient outreach strategy alongside inbound access is not just a strategic move but a crucial necessity for ensuring comprehensive care. While inbound access efficiently handles immediate patient needs, the proactive stance of patient outreach provides patients with the education and motivation necessary to champion their own care. By implementing a patient outreach strategy providers can elevate patient engagement, improve health outcomes, and nurture enduring relationships.

Many organizations only utilize outreach strategies as an accessory to inbound access. While it is a mistake to limit outbound engagement to tasks like these, it can be a great place to start. Supporting access functions with patient outreach in the form of appointment and medication refill reminders is a small effort that yields significant results. Outreach of this nature has been shown to improve treatment adherence and minimize appointment no-shows. Furthermore patients want it; 57% expect notifications from their providers to remind them to schedule appointments or take medications.

In addition to improving engagement for your general patient population, outreach can be a game changer when It comes to disease management and chronic care support. For adults managing chronic illnesses, approximately 30% to 50% of prescribed medications are not properly taken. The impact of nonadherence correlates with an estimated 125,000 deaths and contributes to 10% of hospitalizations. Beyond medication and appointment reminders, outreach can also be employed to check-in on chronic conditions, monitoring the patient’s health status and offering resources for better self-management.

Utilizing patient outreach as an educational tool helps advance preventive care directives and empower patients to not only proactively manage their health but make better informed health decisions. Simple efforts to provide patients with targeted educational materials or reminders for screenings and vaccinations have proven wildly successful. During the peak of the pandemic, many health systems adopted this strategy to improve testing among high-risk demographics.

Education-based outreach strategies can be an essential component of promoting proactive preventative care. Reinforcing the importance of preventative care through tailored messaging, such as notifying patients of the approaching flu season or reminding them when they are due for preventive care services, encourages them to prioritize their health. Moreover, education focused outreach strategies can be used to encourage participation in community programs, such as smoking cessation or nutrition workshops. Programs like these nationwide have been wildly successful at improving population health.

Communication plays a huge roll in your ability to meet population health management initiatives. Studies indicate that half of patients leave their appointment not understanding what they’ve been told. A well-rounded outreach strategy can be the missing piece that ensures adherence and promotes a greater patient-provider connection. Identifying high-risk patients or specific population segments enables targeted interventions, and delivering a level of personalization that promotes improved health outcomes. Regular communication and proactive outreach demonstrate a commitment to patient care, fostering trust and loyalty— benefiting providers and patients alike.

Patient outreach proves to be a vital component of comprehensive care. Beyond simple reminders, an effective outreach strategy addresses issues of adherence, promotes preventive measures, and fosters informed health decisions for a more engagement patient community.

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