“Can you hear me now?” It’s a recognizable catch phrase of our times, an indicator that technology has developed to reach even the furthest corners of rural communities. What we don’t have is a catchphrase response.
The advantage of a healthcare tech platform is connecting practitioners, providers, and resources directly to patients as easily as possible. Though telehealth systems are patient-centric, patients are also a key element in the system; on par with case managers in taking responsibility for their own wellness. Effective healthcare is about reciprocity.
Telehealth is calling, patient engagement lies in getting an answer.
What is Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is about achieving the ideal balance in patients between being well informed, and active in their own preventive care, with knowledge of:
- General wellness practices
The first step is establishing effective patient education and this means providing information to them directly from practitioners through a platform; otherwise patients will go rogue and source their own information which may not always be credible.
Education also applies to knowledge of treatments and medications which with telehealth can be done via convenient consultations. In telehealth, education equals ease of accessibility – where all the information needed is at the touch of your fingertips – only it’s coming from experts that have access to a patient’s full medical history.
Building a Patient Engagement Strategy
Patient engagement is expected to experience major growth and many would say not a moment too soon.
Patient engagement is staged to play a key role in the future development of healthcare, and this should come as no surprise. Consider the recent boom in remote resources like mental health, wellness apps, and remote nutrition and physical therapy services. The pieces are all in play but there are challenges in bringing these resources to patients effectively.
Change in routine
Telehealth faces the uphill battle of breaking the habits that patients and practitioners have had for generations, from practicing all functions only from a specific physical location, to the in-person sharing of results and information. Elements like video conferencing, and easy access to patient data help make this transition smoother.
The idea of patient engagement is great but we’ve never before had to implement it. Some trial and error is expected along the way but we do know the basic ingredients; easy access to information, prioritizing and providing care to patients, and a platform to facilitate follow-ups and communication.
Healthcare providers tend to be logical, solution-oriented thinkers. While patient engagement is not a new concept, it is a new product and limited data exists on best practices and effective implementation. Ideally, look for a platform with a heavy backend supporting both data collection and analytics from multiple sources to help determine the flow and direction of your practice and patient outreach.
Seniors make up the largest demographic currently receiving extensive healthcare, and will make up more than 20% of the population by 2030. Ask any millennial how easy it was to teach their grandparents to use video calling and the need for an extremely simple user interface becomes obvious. To promote growth in patient engagement, communicating has to be as easy as the touch of a button.
The Healthcare Network
The willingness for providers, practitioners, and healthcare workers to participate in using health tech platforms is a big part of growing and strengthening the healthcare network for the future. The more resources that are available, the more you can offer your patients, and the more structure you can provide.
An Example of Patient Engagement with Telehealth
A patient is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease with a lot of online information as well as a lot of common misconception. This particular patient has family members who are also diabetic, so has a very basic foundation of what having diabetes means.
The patient’s practitioner has provided insulin and inhibitors for the patient as well as an at home system for monitoring blood sugar. This patient also suffers from limited mobility, and lives in a remote area.
To replace in-person checkups, through a health tech platform the practitioner is able to schedule virtual check-ins, and has made resources available for the patient. The patient has also been assigned a caseworker through the system to help manage necessary transportation, and provide additional check-ins to keep the patient active in their own care.
Additionally, the telehealth system continuously evaluates and prioritizes the patient based on their data – evaluating for increased risk and other factors that trigger system alerts and prompt further care when needed.
A big part of patient engagement of the future will be determined by how well healthcare platforms can manage, evaluate, and prioritize patient data. Connection with patients encourages their engagement, and effective data analysis and alerting ensures that no needed outreach is missed.
Navigating the future of healthcare is easier together. Reach out to us today for a demo!