How To Improve Patient Engagement

Wondering how you can improve patient engagement? We've got you covered! Read on to learn about three strategies for improving patient engagement.

In the old days, patient engagement meant traveling door-to-door to check up on your patients. Now, patient engagement includes a whole lot more—and few things are as important as improving it. Without ongoing engagement with and from your patients, they could be afloat in a sea of questions without realizing who or how to ask for help and take an active role in their care.

Fortunately, engaging your patients is a relatively easy investment that can pay major dividends.

In this blog, we’ll cover the do’s and don’ts of patient engagement to make sure your patients are receiving the healthcare they deserve.

Improving Patient Engagement: Do’s

Improving patient engagement involves implementing three easy patient retention strategies, each of which we’ve broken down below.

#1 Communicate with the Patient in Mind

As a healthcare provider, you know medical terminology like a second language. What’s more, you’re up-to-date on all the latest medical news.

Your patients, however, may not be. Communicating with your patients in mind is one of the best ways to improve patient engagement. 

Here’s how to better communicate with your patients:

  • Present information in a variety of formats – Some people are visual learners. Others are auditory. Furthermore, some patients may have disabilities that preclude (or enable) a certain learning style. Presenting information in a variety of formats—such as illustrated brochures, verbal explanations, models or diagrams, and videos or podcasts—is a good way to increase accessibility.
  • Simplify without patronizing – Medical diagnoses are usually packed full of complicated jargon. Effective patient engagement involves breaking down important information so patients can understand what’s going on. However, this doesn’t mean you need to oversimplify. Help patients understand by meeting them where they are.
  • Never assume – Patients may be hesitant to accept health care advice for several reasons. Unless you know a patient’s background, beliefs, previous patient experience, and more, it’s best not to assume anything about what a patient knows or doesn’t know. Approach every conversation openly and honestly.

#2 Give More Power to the Patient

The second patient engagement strategy involves empowering your patients to play an active and important role in their treatment, recovery, and so on. In short, your patients need to be connected to their healthcare process.

Do the following to empower your patients:

  • Have patients help construct their treatment plan – As the patient’s doctor, you have a ton of input—you’re the expert, after all. However, this doesn’t mean you should have all the input. Encourage patients to set goals and construct their treatment plan by thoroughly explaining all the available options, the pros and cons of each, and how they might affect recovery going forward. Doing this will also help the patient’s health literacy.
  • Give patients many resources – Equip your patients with one of the most important tools: knowledge. Patients who are knowledgeable about their health care feel more empowered. However, try not to overburden your patients with lengthy, complex medical journals that won’t speak to their needs or concerns.

#3 Increase Availability and Accessibility

Increasing availability and accessibility helps build trust and confidence. After all, what’s more comforting to a patient than knowing their health care provider is only a phone call, text, or email away?

One of the easiest ways to increase availability is to outsource your customer service and engagement needs. Outsourcing to an expert patient intake specialist team allows you to increase availability without sacrificing time and money.

Here are a few other strategies to increase availability and accessibility:

  • Maintain a user-friendly webpage
  • Offer bilingual support
  • Increase social media presence
  • Offer online scheduling
  • Send automated reminders to book follow-up appointments

Now that you know what to do to improve patient engagement, let’s dive into a few “don'ts.”

Improving Patient Engagement: Don’ts

Improving patient engagement will naturally depend on your medical practice’s beliefs, best practices, approaches to care, and usual patient demographics. However, there are a few things you shouldn’t do, no matter what.

In general, you should never:

  • Neglect latest engagement technologies – Like the wheel, light bulb, and airplane, the latest customer service technologies help make our lives easier. Neglecting the latest engagement technologies, such as virtual assistants, call centers, and online scheduling, can seriously hamper your patient engagement.
  • Ignore your patient’s concerns or thoughts – If listening to patients is one of the best things you can do to improve patient engagement and patient outcomes, not listening is one of the worst. If they come to you with a serious concern, don’t dismiss it, even if your professional opinion tells you it’s nothing to worry about. 
  • Overcomplicate the healthcare process – For many people, the healthcare process is stressful. The last thing many patients need is an overcomplicated healthcare system. Make patients’ lives easier by incorporating online scheduling in the patient portal, after-hours care, and simple appointment reminders. Also, take time to fully explain a patient’s health care plan during the initial meeting.

Improve Patient Engagement With Nexa

Improving patient engagement is essential in the modern healthcare world. At its core, good patient engagement starts with availability. To increase availability, you could work around the clock, burning the candle at both ends to meet the needs of your patients 24/7.

Or, you could leave it up to professional medical answering services, like Nexa.

Nexa allows you to engage your patients all day, year-round with:

With Nexa, engage patients like never before.

Sources:

Regis College. 5 Strategies for Streamlining Patient Engagement in Health Care. https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/patient-engagement/

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