The challenge of patient engagement in healthcare has been prioritized at the top of some healthcare systems’ agendas, while seemingly going unnoticed in others.
The problem lies in communication. Healthcare in the US has not escaped this dilemma. Regardless of the lack of focus on patient engagement historically, research shows that patient satisfaction and quality outcomes are improved when patients become actively engaged in their own healthcare.
Sadly, the healthcare industry as a whole has been a bit slow to adapt as patients have grown more frustrated. More than three-quarters of consumers have a negative view of their healthcare experience. Only recently have organizations within this sector realized patients want (and expect) the same level of personalization in healthcare that they have come to expect (and receive) in their everyday lives.
Despite acknowledging this desire, most medical centers still struggle to overcome many challenges that they face in engaging their patients, preventing them from improving the patient experience and achieving brand loyalty. This leads to most private practices failing to retain their patients, losing out in the long run.
Potential Challenges of Engaging Patients
Not getting a 360 View of the Customer
Improving the patient experience is a hot topic within the healthcare industry as patients demand to be seen as customers, not just the next appointment. Unfortunately, most healthcare providers and payers haven’t always looked at their work through a “customer service” lens; instead, they’ve focused on the transactional aspect of the encounter, not a relational one. It’s no wonder that healthcare has consistently ranked near the bottom of industry-wide NPS Scores (a scoring-based measurement that gauges customer satisfaction) year-after-year.
One major obstacle that inhibits collaboration and communication between payers, providers, specialists, caregivers, and most importantly, patients, is the lack of a consumer-grade technology platform. It can provide a comprehensive view of the patient by collecting ALL data in one source. Today, most patient data is siloed, which makes it difficult for doctors to get the full picture of a patient’s history to properly diagnose, treat, or provide the best medical care.
Other Potential Barriers
Not only do physicians need to communicate effectively to empower their patients, but they must ensure that the patient understands the information being provided to them, without feeling overwhelmed. Many patients prefer to simply know ‘the basics’ while others request every detail relating to their diagnosis, treatment, and likely prognosis.
Regardless, the goal of physician and patient interaction should be shared decision-making which is affected by a number of factors, including:
- Cultural background: Patients may come from a culture that doesn’t question medical advice.
- Education level: A poor level of education may prevent patients from understanding disease processes or treatment options.
- Cost consideration: Cost can become a huge barrier to seeking appropriate treatment.
- Personal motivation: Some patients may simply not have the motivation or discipline to take the essential steps to recover their health. Physicians may wish to involve family and friends and to address any psychosocial needs in this instance.
If physicians wish to promote shared decision-making, they must be aware of these potential barriers and develop strategies to help patients overcome them.
Lack of incentives
Measuring and quantifying patient engagement also creates a challenge when trying to identify ways to incentivize physicians to promote patient engagement. One solution is to work with insurance companies that value patient participation.
Healthcare providers often lack sufficient time to allocate more than 10 or 15 minutes with each patient. Solutions to this dilemma could include training office staff and using technology to promote patient interaction and engagement without needing to carve more time out of their day.
How PatientMD helps private practices to overcome these challenges & potential barriers?
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 your 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 your patient engagement solutions to grow your practice, practices will need an effective strategy to attract new patients to your practice. In addition to providing your full 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 further improve the patient experience and save you time and money for your practice.
In the shift towards value-based healthcare, improved patient engagement means greater patient satisfaction, better patient outcomes, and a reduction in healthcare costs. With PatientMD’s comprehensive engagement solutions, your medical practice will achieve all of these and more.