Why is patient engagement critical to the growth of private practice?

The Quality of Patient Engagement and Involvement

Today's healthcare landscape is steadily moving to a patient-centric value-based industry. With the growth of high deductible insurance plans, patients' out of pocket costs are rising. Patients today no longer want only excellent care. They want care delivered with ease, convenience, and choice. Other consumer-facing industries have zeroed in on ways to redefine the customer experience. Think of online banking, Amazon, or Netflix and how they all cater to consumers— through proactive customer service, personalized and convenient interactions, and connected experiences across various channels.

Patients are demanding the same service and experience in the healthcare sector. A healthcare consumer trends report from the National Research Corporation (NRC) found that 80 percent of patients would switch providers for "convenience factors" alone. This powerful influence on consumer and patient behavior leads to the growth of non-traditional delivery of care, including retail clinics and telehealth. As the "consumerization" of healthcare continues, there is a growing demand to adopt digital modalities to deliver the ease and convenience that patients seek. Physician practices will be expected to provide a frictionless and personalized customer experience.

To meet our patients' needs and grow the practices, technologies providing patient engagement solutions is critical. New healthcare market entrants are meeting consumer demands and may pose a threat to hospitals and physician practices. What is patient engagement? Health Affairs best defined patient engagement as a concept that combines a patient's knowledge, skills, ability, and willingness to manage his health and care with interventions designed to increase patient activation and promote positive patient behavior. This includes interventions designed to help patients become proactive. Why is patient engagement important? In a value-based healthcare system, patient engagement plays a key role in achieving the Triple Aim goals identified by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to:

Improve the patient experience of care (quality and satisfaction)

Improve the health of populations

Reduce the cost of care

Meeting the Triple Aim of healthcare must be a strategic objective for all physician practices. There are valid reasons why you need a solid strategy for patient engagement. The shift to bundled payments and value-based care means your practice must find ways to increase efficiency while simultaneously improving outcomes. When you motivate patients to participate in their own care, you set the stage for success under value-based care. For example:

Engaged patients express higher satisfaction with the overall care experience, which drives loyalty to your practice.

Engaged patients can better manage chronic conditions, which contains costs by reducing complications and ER visits.

When a high number of your patients are engaged, you can successfully manage and improve the populations' health.

Also, physician practices must realize the strength patients have as consumers in a competitive marketplace. Information is readily available to patients in deciding where they will receive their services and with whom. Over 60% of patients utilize online tools to choose their doctor and the services they desire. Your patients are paying increasingly higher amounts of out-of-pocket for care. That drives up their expectations and makes them more demanding about the type of experience they get in exchange for their money.

As healthcare is moving towards a model where engaging with patients as consumers are the first step towards improving patient education, activism, and empowerment, physician practices must choose the right technology and partner. That technology or partner should strategically meet their needs to provide patient engagement and activation solutions while improving the patient experience with an efficiently run practice. Some key insights and strategies for effective patient engagement and outreach programs include:

Well designed and functional mobile responsive web site.

Providing patients simple and convenient means of scheduling and accessing care.

Two-way communication between patients and their doctor. Communications must be concise, timely, targeted, and personalized. Types of communication can include:

Warm welcome calls

Health risk assessments surveys

Obtain information/feedback

Provide information/education

Promote preventive care

Identify/close care gaps

Disease or case management

Medication adherence/compliance

Providing patients the ability to access and share information with your practice. Also, patients are seeking to have their care coordinated with other providers involved with their care. Connecting your practice with other specialty practices can be a very powerful tool to engage patients with your practice. This feature is essential in a competitive market with large health systems.

With patient out of pocket costs increasing, patients are beginning to shop for healthcare services. Private practices, generally, are lower-cost providers than large health systems. Providing patients a list of your prices for various services can be a very powerful tool to engage patients with your practice, especially when compared to higher costs from large health systems.

Incorporating a complete suite of patient engagement solutions for your practice can be a daunting task for most practices who lack the knowledge in integrating multiple services to create a frictionless and personalized experience for their patients. At PatientMD, a physician-led organization, we are committed to supporting the growth of the private practice. PatientMD is your one-stop-shop, providing a fully integrated patient engagement platform to grow your practice.

To implement patient engagement solutions for growth, practices will need an effective strategy to attract new patients. In addition to meeting your needs for a patient engagement solution, PatientMD provides a data-driven digital marketing platform, which is critical to growing your online presence. The combination of a full suite of patient engagement solutions and a data-driven digital marketing strategy will well position your practice to compete and grow their practices. In summary, at PatientMD, our platform provides your practice 3 key benefits:

We attract new patients to your practice

We engage your new and existing patients with our white-labeled platform services while improving the patient experience with your practice.

We improve your front office efficiency to improve the patient experience further and save you time and money for your practice.

To learn more, you can reach us at contact@patientmd.com.