HealthFebruary 04, 2019

Seven outcomes of successful patient engagement strategies

This is the last article of a three-part series centered on the steps required to make a patient engagement initiative successful. The first article, Three Steps to Jump-start Effective Patient Engagement Initiatives, focused on getting started. The second article, Three Keys to Implementing Successful Patient Engagement Strategies, focused on implementation.

By Pam Holt, RN, BSN, MOL
Pam Holt, RN, BSN, MOL, is operational consultant for patient engagement with Clinical Effectiveness at Wolters Kluwer, Health.

Patient engagement affects every patient interaction across the care continuum. Accordingly, the outcomes that you can expect will come from every area of the organization.

When refining targeted outcomes, let metrics be your guide. Measurement shows us what’s working and what’s not. Patient engagement requires constant monitoring to enable continuous fine-tuning. An effective system can provide data on the clinicians, clinics, and hospitals that are getting the best results.

Here are some of the outcomes that you can realize:

  1. Boosting engagement: An effective patient engagement solution delivers information that is developed with an understanding of human behavior, including what motivates action, how people process information, and what builds trust. Without trust, patients will not engage.
    • Offering faster test results
    • Streamlining prescription renewals
    • Access to 24/7 appointment scheduling
  2. Portal use is key. Patient engagement programs can track which techniques result in higher adoption rates, for example:
  3. Managing care transitions and reducing readmissions: Engaging patients beyond a health crisis and throughout their recovery is critical to reducing complications, avoiding readmissions, and monitoring the recovery process. A patient engagement system can support an array of transitions, including hospital-to-home transitions after a procedure or chronic condition episode, or rehabilitation-to-home transitions after a period of therapy.
  4. Improving patient safety: A patient engagement system provides consistent and easy-to-understand content that patients can consume on their own time, via the devices that work best for them. Step-by-step tips for maintaining wellness, easy-to-understand instructions for taking medications, and programs for effectively managing chronic conditions are central to self-care.
  5. Increasing HCAHPS scores: When patients understand what is happening around them, they feel more in control and have less fear and anxiety. They feel more satisfied with their care.
  6. Enhancing clinicians’ workflows and satisfaction: Prepared patients save clinicians time, and patients who know what to expect are less likely to cancel an office visit or procedure. For example, nurses can alert a patient with a scheduled surgical procedure to watch an educational video via the portal. Nurses can then respond to individual questions, helping optimize clinicians’ time and potentially improving job satisfaction.
  7. Empowering patients: Wellness is highly dependent on attitude. When patients receive clear and timely communication in a way that makes them feel heard and appreciated, they understand and participate in their own care as a true partner.
  8. Promoting positive results: Highlighting good results helps motivate clinicians when they see that their efforts are making a difference. Be sure to report on positive results, even when you achieve outcomes that you weren’t expecting.
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