In part two of our series on patient engagement solution myths, we’ll look at solutions that are available as “off-the-shelf” tools, how patients value online scheduling options, and promoting patient activation by giving individuals the right tools, information, and confidence to adhere to their healthcare journey.
Myth #4 Patient engagement solutions are not available as “off-the-shelf” tools
Standardized off-the-shelf tools that can, among other things, access electronic health records, are relatively straightforward to plug into the ecosystem of a healthcare provider’s existing technology. In cases where standardized tools don’t suit a system’s needs, providers can customize and configure a solution, which allows for personalization.
Through multilanguage and multichannel communication options such as email, mobile apps, live voice calls, text messages, web chats, and online scheduling, health systems can effectively engage and activate patients on their care journey. Natural language processing and cognitive search, among other artificial intelligence and machine learning integrations, can enhance the versatility of these solutions.
Myth #5 Patients don’t care about online scheduling
A KPMG report finds that 58 percent of millennials and 64 percent of Gen Xers value online booking and would switch providers to meet this need. Patients will also “shop” to find providers who offer online scheduling. A survey by Stericycle also found that patient friendly scheduling (that integrates both online and live human call options) drives overall patient satisfaction and access. By utilizing customization that addresses language barriers, long wait times, and more, online scheduling options—and the patient engagement solutions that leverage them—improve patient satisfaction.
Myth #6 Patient engagement is one-size-fits-all
One critical subset of patient engagement is patient activation, which requires patients to have the right tools, information, and confidence to adhere to their healthcare journey. Patients with greater activation have better health outcomes. Given the varying levels of personal health management that exists, a one-size-fits all approach to patient engagement will leave some patients behind. Additionally, the pandemic had a dramatic impact on delayed care, with as many as 1 in 3 Americans skipping treatment due to fear of COVID-19 exposure. The effect of delayed care on early detection and intervention has had dire consequences for many patients.
Once a patient engagement solution is implemented, patient activation can be fostered by providers, focusing on tailored outreach designed to meet patients where they are and improve their ability to actively manage their health. A solution that allows providers to personalize content, context, cadence, and channel will form the foundation on which a prescriptive outreach plan can be made that encourages activation and adherence.
Healthcare systems should also offer educational resources to improve health literacy, provide easily accessible support in multiple channels, communicate health and practice information frequently, and make engagement convenient and easy.
In terms of patient retention, health organizations that don’t prioritize patient engagement will fall behind tech-friendly healthcare competitors and big technology companies that are making forays into the healthcare sector. Big box retailers and tech giants have an edge in engagement, personalization, and convenience, making them formidable opponents when it comes to giving patients what they want.
Patients are ready to engage meaningfully in their healthcare journey—they just need the invitation and clear access point to do so. Modern patient engagement solutions make it easy for health systems and providers to extend that invitation before someone else does.