• Patient engagement in healthcare encourages collaboration and shared decision-making
  • Patients become proactive in disease management when caregivers interact meaningfully
  • Patient engagement strategies for clinics, hospitals and home care vary
  • The use of digital healthcare tools greatly enhance patient engagement

How can patient engagement help you improve healthcare outcome

Patient engagement in healthcare is the art of getting patients to get actively involved in their medical care pathways. It goes beyond the traditional patient-provider relationship, and is focused more on encouraging collaboration and shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and patients. All patient engagement strategies are based on the belief that engaged patients understand their illness better and are therefore more inclined to follow their treatment plans. Improving patient engagement helps patients make informed choices about their health.

Strong patient engagement leads to better health outcomes and reduces hospital re-admissions, surgeries, medical costs and emergency visits. As patients are empowered to manage their health conditions effectively, there are fewer complications and better disease control, and an overall improvement in the quality of life. This in turn provides higher levels of patient satisfaction.

A healthcare environment which promotes health literacy has a positive impact on both patients and healthcare providers:

Patients enjoy a sense of autonomy and proactively engage in preventative behaviors: regular health checks, nutritious diet, regular exercise, adequate rest and avoidance of risks like smoking, drinking, taking drugs. Consequently, improvements in health issues, deepens the bond with the caregiver.

Healthcare providers are enthused to deliver more effective care, communicate better and win the patient’s trust, all of which result in optimized clinical outcomes. In return, physicians benefit from a reduction in no-shows and cancelled appointments, while winning patients’ loyalty.

This blog will explore different strategies and methods to enhance patient engagement in healthcare. The use of custom healthcare software products, educational programs, shared decision-making frameworks, and open communication channels contribute to improving patient engagement.  The stronger the provider partnership with patients, the more patient-centered and effective is the healthcare system.


Patient engagement means personalized care

It is easy to misunderstand what is patient engagement. Many think that shooting a dozen questions to the doctor and having them respond is patient engagement. A doctor may spend 20 minutes, explaining the prescription and all the dos and don’ts patiently, but that alone does not constitute patient engagement either.

Patient engagement in healthcare is a dynamic collaborative partnership between patients and their families with healthcare providers. Both the patient and physician are committed to pursue a holistic, end-to-end care that is unique to every individual who is ill and to every illness that afflicts a person. Both parties are active participants and the arrangement is based on healthy interactions and trust with the objective of achieving the best possible healthcare outcome.

Patient engagement broadly comprises effective communication, joint decision-making, responsible self-care, patient-friendly compliance and truly compassionate practice.

Effective communication

When a physician explains the condition and the treatment protocols to be adopted, free and frank discussions on concerns, doubts and questions that arise in a patient’s mind pave way for effective communications. Stilted conversations where the doctor is tight-lipped and the patient is tongue-tied means a failure of communication. This does not bode well for patient satisfaction.

Shared decision-making

When a patient is actively involved in the choice of treatment and is able to speak up about preferences, values, pricing and so on, the caregivers are better positioned to chart out plans. Joint efforts at tackling the medical problem yield better results, rather than prescriptions handed down and accepted with no discussions.

Responsible self-care

When a patient is knowledgeable about the ailment, a sense of responsibility will force adherence to medications, changes to lifestyle, timely medical tests and reports, all of which also have a positive impact on healthcare outcome. Self-help imparts a sense of dignity, while pity and dependence on others can have a detrimental effect.

Patient-friendly compliance

When caregivers go the extra mile to make follow-up calls, send text reminders, emails and alerts for refills through healthcare apps, they encourage patients to adhere to the medication regimen prescribed. Compliance is difficult to dictate when senior or chronically-ill patients turn non-cooperative, “forget” to take the daily dose, or deliberately skip it.

Compassionate practice

When physicians really address the patient in front of them, rather than the illness, there is true compassion. A humane approach to treatment and cure of serious illnesses, putting both experience and expertise to use is what one expects from doctors. Treating the patient as a passive subordinate is a hindrance to personalized care where every patient’s needs are recognized as unique.

Higher patient engagement leads to improved outcomes                                                                           Source:  Spok.com

Patient engagement strategies to improve healthcare

Improving patient engagement in healthcare involves planning and implementing several strategies that span across primary, secondary and tertiary care environments. Modern patient engagement strategies in fact broaden the scope to include other players like families, society and government to play a decisive role.  Technology-intensive patient engagement strategies are also gaining ground. Let us take a look at them one by one.

Patient engagement strategies across healthcare systems

Educate patients: No matter whether it is primary, secondary, tertiary or quaternary care, providing educational material in simple to understand language is a good strategy. Clinicians who use technical jargon, medical terms and expert language are creating barriers to communication.

Unless providers make sure that patients have understood the full import of the diagnoses, medications and treatment plans, it is not possible to improve health literacy levels. Different formats –leaflets, seminars, webinars, newsletters, emails, phone calls, text messages, videos, and public service advertising may be employed to reduce adverse drug events, increase compliance rates and promote behavioral changes.

Do you know: Patients prefer to receive educational materials directly from a trusted, expert source – their own healthcare providers. However, a survey commissioned by a Wolters Kluwer Health survey found that two-thirds (66%) of patients have questions after a provider encounter and one in five patients (19%) has new questions following the appointment.

Take action:

  • At primary healthcare centers, typically neighborhood clinics, do not allow demographics, and communication skills of the patient hamper interaction.
  • If you are a provider at a secondary healthcare facility, where patients seek specialist opinions, provide peer support groups and coaching for self-help.
  • At the tertiary care level involving large hospitals, give access to patient’s electronic health records, and include family in patient engagement.
  • If you are a provider in quaternary care, do not neglect to brief patients on regulatory norms applicable to experimental or uncommon medications.

Patient engagement strategies for societal reach

Extend engagement: What was once seen as a relationship between a provider and patient is gradually spreading across a continuum –direct care, organizational design, healthcare education, and policy making. If direct care involves patients in proactive management of a health condition, organizational design provides patients an opportunity to rate their patient experience and guide healthcare providers on improving quality and safety.

Patient stories are used as training manuals for practitioners who get to understand patients’ perspectives and notch up their motivation levels in improving patient engagement. Opinions of patients are also sought by policy-makers to draft regulations, shape research projects and guide funding.

Do you know: A meta-analysis of findings from 54 studies (involving more than 31,000 individuals) by Regenstrief Institute, confirms that caregiver engagement across healthcare transitions (for example from hospital to home) of chronically ill adults is instrumental in preventing re-hospitalizations, and holds potential for enhancing other patient outcomes.

Take action:

  • Collect retrospective feedback in an informal manner such as online forms, informal surveys, focus group discussions and anonymous interviews.
  • Induct patients, their family members or relatives in advisory committees and involve them in the design of patient-centered processes and systems.
  • Co-opt patients to participate in research, either as data sources or in the design, planning and execution of research projects.
  • Provide representation to patients as a community in government panels that discuss and draft regulatory policies.

Patient engagement strategies to promote tech-tools

Employ digital tools: Patient engagement in healthcare is increasingly employing digital health tools such as telehealth solutions, patient portals and mobile apps. Remote patient monitoring, sensor-enabled wearables, appointment scheduling customer relationship management and telemedicine are products of healthcare software development that redefines what is patient engagement.

Technologies that improve workflows, automate processes, increase transparency and encourage collaboration and communication are improving patient engagement. The use of patient engagement technologies has transformed the healthcare model to anywhere, anytime and made it preventive, personalized and participatory.

Do you know: Remote patient monitoring can improve patient engagement and empowerment in healthcare. A 2021 study in JAMA Network Open showed that patients with access to an at-home blood pressure monitoring tool, plus some health coaching, were able to lower blood pressure from between 53 and 85 percent.

Take action:

  • Invest in telehealth (video visits) technologies to ensure there is health equity by expanding patient access to care.
  • Factor in patient health literacy levels, language preferences, notification fatigue, and privacy concerns when you customize healthcare apps.
  • Leverage patient generated health data to track patient outcomes and personalize treatment.
  • Use smart analytics and data trends to identity best practices that align with superior clinical outcomes.

Success stories in patient engagement

Here are some real-world examples of patient engagement

  • The Cleveland Clinic's MyChart Portal provides patients secure access to their medical records, lab results, and appointment scheduling.
    Following this,improved medication adherence, better disease management, and a notable reduction in hospital re-admissions have been reported.
  • Geisinger Health System's ProvenCare patients who undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery, participate in decision-making and access a 24/7 nurse hotline post-surgery.
    Consequently, a 44% reduction in complications, shorter hospital stays, and a 10% cost savings have been reported.
  • Partners Healthcare's Connected Cardiac Care Program gives remote monitoring devices to patients who suffer heart failure.

These success stories demonstrate that patient engagement in healthcare not only lead to improved patient satisfaction but also have tangible effects on healthcare outcomes.


Asahi Technologies specializes in patient engagement software development

Asahi Technologies is a proven healthcare technology solutions provider. Combining our full-stack development expertise with domain knowledge, we deliver industry-specific applications that solve complex health technology challenges.

We develop custom software solutions that can greatly enhance patient engagement, hospital management, pharmacy management and practice management. From designing to implementation, we will be with you every step of the way as we turn your technological vision into reality. We believe in delivering game-changing results to fuel competitive advantage.

Arun Balakrishnan

Arun Balakrishnan

Technical Project Manager

Arun has a wealth of experience in product design and project management. His adeptness at harmonizing technology with aesthetics is a testament to his skillset honed through years of professional engagement. Having engaged with a diverse clientele spanning the globe, Arun has consistently exemplified his commitment to delivering superlative design and technological prowess. His collaborative approach, coupled with an unwavering dedication to meeting client expectations, underscores his role as a reliable conduit between innovative design and seamless functionality.

Arun Balakrishnan

Arun Balakrishnan

Technical Project Manager

Arun has a wealth of experience in product design and project management. His adeptness at harmonizing technology with aesthetics is a testament to his skillset honed through years of professional engagement. Having engaged with a diverse clientele spanning the globe, Arun has consistently exemplified his commitment to delivering superlative design and technological prowess. His collaborative approach, coupled with an unwavering dedication to meeting client expectations, underscores his role as a reliable conduit between innovative design and seamless functionality.

Liked the article? Sign up to get notified for similar stories

Please enter a valid email address