IT healthcare innovation has transformed the way personalized care is administered to patients in need. Digital technology has allowed telehealth services to boom where medical professionals can virtually connect with patients through video, data collecting software, and online collaboration tools, among others.
The key to optimizing this online health trend is through active engagement between doctors and patients. When medical consumers are enabled to participate and interact with clinicians, it can drastically improve their health outcomes and access to important information and be more involved in their healthcare.
For clinicians, this is a solution to overcome unnecessary in-office appointments that are time-consuming and reduce the quality of care. Therefore, in order to achieve this, there are several procedures that medical clinics can adopt and implement into their telehealth service.
Here are five effective practices for virtual patient engagement:
Utilize Health Channels And Platforms
Digital health platforms are the means of contacting and communicating with patients, the healthcare industry, and clinicians. They’re one of the most important components to get right for proper virtual patient engagement. Doing this will make healthcare more accessible to patients and encourage consultations and save time for health systems stretched thin and patients living far from medical centers.
Utilizing the most useful platform has an all-in-one and ease-of-use interface that allows for teleconferencing, which is essential for ongoing virtual patient engagement. It should also be optimized to allow users with differing screen sizes and bandwidth capacities. Additionally, there should be a self-service tool or portal for patients to use for check-ins, process payments, and record medical information while clinicians dig digitally monitor changes in patient health. This then streamlines most of the administrative healthcare processes that don’t require in-office visits.
Analyze Patient Engagement Data
Any engagement strategy needs a routine analysis to find out whether its implementation is effective or needs improvement. This should include an analysis of which practices yielded higher response rates and what issues patients dealt with that lowered engagement and presence during consultations.
For instance, patients could have trouble accessing portals because the website or application functions have long click paths to reach their goal. Other cases could be language use and medical terms used aren’t easy to comprehend. Virtual patients may also choose not to engage due to no scheduled time for questions during video appointments.
In some situations, healthcare portals report low engagements due to clinicians not making enough eye contact or being seemingly impersonal during the consultation. Small meaningful gestures such as this can have a major emotional impact on the human-to-human contact that patients need to open up and interact with.
As such, a necessary practice of useful digital health is using collected data and post-meeting surveys to determine what content and even personal behaviors influence the best results to enhance the patient’s experience.
Simplify Communication And Understanding
Just as much as health channels are vital to a robust practice of virtual patient engagement, so is how information is dispensed. In many cases, effective engagement depends on how comfortable and approachable participants feel towards the providers and clinicians alike. Efficient communication should be inclusive, sensitized, and make virtual patients confident that they’re getting an interactive service they understand and receive information that enhances their healthcare prospects.
Thus, patient engagement practices should include unpacked and simplified information with subject lines giving comprehensive details on the matters being discussed. The text should be readable and minimize jargon while teleconferencing; it should be inclusive by providing scheduled meeting topics, summarized reviews, and briefs about medical services as well as what they entail. Moreover, in the same way, all online media is organized for easy use, portals should reduce decision fatigue by limiting options on the portals to assist patients to follow instructions.
Adopt Healthcare Message Reminders
With virtual patient programs incurring large volumes of data, an essential practice on how to effectively use it is essential to providing good quality care and encourage ongoing engagements. Doing this eliminates big data challenges and prevents information overload or alert fatigue from overwhelming and desensitizing patients. It also allows doctors to streamline the virtual meeting process when there’s a major increase in the number of patients in need of virtual care interactions. This could leave them reluctant to stay in touch, thus reducing engagements.
As such, a best practice would be for digital health portals to make use of packing information into sizeable chunks for patients to keep track of. For instance, it could be automating message snippets and medication reminders that prompt users to reply with answers where applicable.
The software can be set up to send customized texts to each patient to better inform them about the status of a diagnosis in cases where they’d benefit from personalized messaging. This is particularly useful to keep patients who’ve been undergoing long-term treatment engaged and active and reduce jadedness after years of receiving health messaging.
Practice Telehealth Etiquette
This is a primary component of creating a safe and supported virtual environment for better patient engagement. It’s necessary to build a relationship of trust with patients so as to stimulate conversation and motivate them to ask questions and complaints to feel more involved. This could be choosing the time during the day and when to host telehealth appointments and should be matched with the patient’s time and availability, for instance.
Furthermore, each appointment should begin with a checklist of expectations and set out common courtesy rules for each party. When it comes to virtual meeting setup, clinicians should follow previously outlined etiquette such as checking the webcam and making sure other technical tools are working through testing, being punctual, hosting the meeting in quiet and non-distracting surroundings, and showing up in professional medical uniform. Keeping virtual patients engaged is also about making gestures that make patients aware that they’re being listened to.
Virtual medical appointments are the new trend embraced in the healthcare sector to create convenient and tailored personal care for patients. This works best when medical professionals are able to effectively keep patients engaged not just for virtual meetings but through every step of their treatment process that requires participation.
Most of these strategies are focused on communication, making technology easy to use, and creating an environment of trust and meaningful interactions that make patients comfortable enough to impart valuable information about their health as well as understand what the doctor’s saying. All of these best practices can be applied to any online telemedicine service for better quality and improved engagement care.