“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often,” said Winston Churchill
Change is considered a constant in healthcare. Gone are the times when physicians used to make healthcare decisions with sole authority. Over time, patients are getting more and more involved when it comes to their health decisions.
Technology, just like all other sectors, has changed the scenario of healthcare and one of the most powerful impacts takes in the changing pattern of doctor-patient interaction. The interaction is the key player of healthcare services in
What is Patients Engagement?
The Healthcare sector is becoming patient-oriented and patient management relies on patient care now. Patient engagement refers to the communication between patient and health care providers for improved patient care.
Unlike the previous times, patients are participating more in self-care and becoming receptive towards the changing behaviour patterns to improve the outcomes of healthcare.
Benefits of Patient Engagement
Patient engagement contributes to improved patient care in many ways. Some of the benefits of patient care include;
- Increased knowledge and a better understanding of healthcare among patients.
- Improved patient care and patient’s capability to make informed decisions about their wellness and well-being.
- Improved patient retention and reduced the no-show’s rate of the patient.
- Better patient treatment from the physician’s end and a time and cost-efficient treatment approach and holistic services.
- Increase in patient’s revenues and maintenance of a vast and reliable patient base.
Components of Patient Engagement
Important components of patient engagement include;
- An honest physician assessment and treatment approach when it comes to the patient’s medical condition.
- Empathetic and informative staff interaction with patients.
- Considering the patient’s emotional, physical, cultural and social needs when delivering healthcare.
- Aftercare information after the patient has discharged from a medical facility after completing the treatment.
- Ensuring the connection between patients and physicians so they can catch up with their physician anytime.
Myths on Patient Engagement
Though patient engagement is not a new concept. But the involvement of technology is revolutionizing the concept of patient engagement. With all these changes, the misconceptions on patient engagement are increasing among the masses that could significantly affect the outcomes of patient engagement. Here are the common misconceptions on patient’s engagement, including;
1- It’s unaffordable
Considering the involvement of technology, patient engagement is considered unaffordable. To get the idea of the exact cost of patient engagement you are not supposed to consider the cost of the patient engagement system alone. The true comparison will compare the cost of the patient engagement system with the overall cost that is spent in the manual process of making appointments and recalling them from the resource time. Other than that, the time investment in old methods is also an important consideration of cost.
2- Technology will replace the element of human empathy
One of the key factors on which patient and physician interaction is based is empathy. Most people believe that technology involvement will deprive the patient of empathy. However, that is not exactly the case. The equation of healthcare holds patient and physician at two opposite ends while making empathy an immediate connection. Patient engagement will only increase the physician empathy making them more reachable.
3- Patient engagement is not scalable
One of the biggest misconceptions about patient engagement is considering it in-scalable that compromises its vast application. However, patient engagement is a scalable measure with certain considerations. You cannot rely on a single metric to measure patient engagement. A multifactorial system can be used to monitor patient engagement with an actionable approach and well connected to the mutual patient and healthcare professional goals.
4- My patients and staff are used to the conventional methods
Well, the claim is true and false at the same moment. Let me explain how!
Whenever we talk about introducing innovation, the consumers are always used to old methods and procedures and that’s exactly the case with the patient engagement system. Though your patients are used to the old methods and are more convenient with them, you can’t always do today’s job with yesterday practices. Change is the ultimate necessity of time and timely investment in such technologies will keep you ahead of time ensuring future success.
Outcomes of Patient Engagement
Required outcomes of patient-physician interaction depend upon an efficient patient engagement system. The performance of patient-physician engagement depends upon multiple factors, including;
1- Language barriers
When it comes to the communication between patients and physicians, language plays an important role. Physicians when communicating with their patient multiple languages that are locally practised for the language barriers. Other than that, how patients talk to the physician is also important.
2- Mobile application
The role of technology can’t be overlooked when we talk about patient engagement. Living in the times when mobile applications play a major role and going through a global pandemic that made virtual living possible, we are accustomed to the wide usage of mobile applications. The access and usability of patient engagement tools via mobile applications play an important role.
3- Wearable technology
Another important factor in patient engagement is the role of wearable technology in patient engagement. Wearable devices including tech watches, fitness gadgets, monitoring tools are the key record of patient health care record that is the base of patient-physician engagement.
4- Involvement of patients
Patient-oriented healthcare is becoming the new trend in digital healthcare and is majorly contributing to improving patient engagement. Considering its importance, the level of involvement of patients in their own healthcare decisions plays an important role in patient-physician interaction.
5- Role of digital media
Researches support the role of digital media to improve patient-physician interaction resulting in better patient engagement. With the advent of technology, patients feel convenient when things are digitally communicated rather than old healthcare campaigns based on conventional methods.
Patient engagement is meant to change the scenario of patient care while it comes to the decision making process. The benefits of patient engagement are countless, ranging from improved patient care to the optimized post-treatment approach. If ensured, improved patient engagement will open new gateways in patient’s healthcare.