Effective Patient Engagement Strategy
Despite having top-tier EMR software like athenahealth, AdvancedMD, eClinicalWorks, some practices find patient engagement increasingly difficult. With the current pandemic and digitalization of healthcare, it has become increasingly difficult for practices to engage with patients. So the question arises, “What can you do now?!”
In this article, we’ll talk about 5 essential elements of an effective patient engagement strategy and how you can use them. Here are the five essential elements we’ll talk about:
In 2012, Leonard Kish said, “If patient engagement were a drug, it would be the blockbuster drug of the century and malpractice not to use it.” Although the saying is almost a decade old, it’s still true even today. Studies have shown that practices that engage with their patients show 40-50% improved patient outcomes and up to 35% better revenue.
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Here are some interesting facts that showcase the importance of patient engagement:
- More than 87% of your patients want an engaging experience both online and in-person.
- Only a little over 40% of users have access to their healthcare records online.
- 85% of patients that have access to their healthcare records use it, indicating its importance.
- More than 70% of patients use multiple channels to assess credibility before making an appointment with a physician. This includes social media, online reviews, and your website.
- Up to 45% of patients that feel engaged begin to trust your practice over others.
Essentials of a Patient Engagement Strategy
A patient engagement strategy isn’t a software that you can install once and get it over with. It’s a continuous cycle of trying to establish a connection with your patients. Now you might say that “It’s impossible to build a connection with every patient.” and we agree. That’s why we’re not aiming for everyone, rather a maximum number of patients.
1. Define Your Practice’s Vision For the Future
The first step in improving patient engagement is to understand where you stand now and where you want to be in the future. Talk to your fellow physicians, medical staff, and other shareholders and discuss where your practice stands on patient engagement. Even though this might seem like a hectic process, but it’ll give you a clear image of what definition to follow in your practice.
After you’ve done that, create an end-game plan. Where do you want to see your practice a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? Ideally, your end-game plan should showcase exactly what type of patient engagement strategy you want to follow and how you want to grow with it.
In addition to focusing on multiple timelines, you can also focus on building a vision at various levels.
What does patient engagement mean for:
- Individuals in your practice?
- Your teams?
- Your practice as a whole?
At the end of the day, it’s all a team effort. Your patient engagement strategy will only be effective if it’s help together by your individual and teams. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
2. Start by Developing a Culture of Engagement
In order to provide a truly engaging experience to your patients, your entire practice needs to push in the same direction. With the right support from your team, you can make sure your patients enjoy maximum engagement. Here are some tips you can follow to create a culture of engagement in your practice:
- Communicate with your staff that they are valued, and their voice is heard.
- Talk to them about the benefits of an effective patient engagement strategy like improve patient outcomes, better revenue, and enhanced care.
- Ensure your staff is comfortable with new responsibilities and not being over-burdened.
- Write a clear policy for patient engagement. In order to maximize implementation, you can make your policies fun rather than strict.
Once your whole team is on-board and ready to face the world, now you’re ready to invest in the right technologies to aid your journey.
3. Invest in the Right Technologies
Oftentimes we hear that finding the right technologies for your practice is difficult. We believe trying to do so manually is true. That’s why we recommend talking to an online software directory like Software Finder to help you find the right EMR software.
However, before moving on to the EMR software, let’s talk about what technologies we are looking for specifically.
The first and foremost is a patient portal. A patient portal is a platform where your patients can message and interact with you. Similarly, they can also access their health records, set appointments, request refills, and much more. Here’s a checklist for finding the right patient engagement portal.
In addition to being user-friendly and easy-to-use, your patient portal should:
- Offer online payment options
- Provide messaging and registration services
- Be compliant with ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage 2
- Provide Integration with your EMR/EHR software, PM software, and medical billing module.
- Offer customer support
Here we’ll talk about three of the most popular EMR software and the services they provide.
You might’ve already heard the name athenahealth EMR before, even if you haven’t used it. There’s an excellent reason athenahealth EMR software has such a good reputation. Athenahealth provides all the services you need in an integrated form that maximizes productivity and engagement and minimizes cost. Currently, they offer these major modules:
- athenaClinicals (EMR module that also provides simplified charting and documentation)
- athenaCollector (Practice management solution)
- athenaCommunicator (Web-based patient portal)
- athenaCoordinator (Collaboration tool for physicians)
- athenaTelehealth (Telehealth platform)
With their revolutionary healthcare information technology, AdvancedMD serves as a cloud-based healthcare service provider that considers practitioners’ needs. The company provides product and service offerings that include a complete EMR/EHR module, PM, RCM, patient experience, and telehealth services.
Instead of simply existing as a service provider, AdvancedMD EMR software identifies with your practice, where the success of your practice determines its success. That’s why they offer services tailored to meet your long-term growth needs. Their ideology stems from their desire to grow with you.
eClinicalWorks EMR software is a fully-integrated and cloud-based platform that provides healthcare IT solutions for practices of all sizes. In addition to reducing costs, maximizing quality, and minimizing errors, eClinicalWorks EMR also promotes efficiency.
Their range of services includes an EMR/EHR software, practice management, RCM, patient experience, managed billing, and a telehealth platform.
4. Educate and Empower Patients
Your patients are the center of your practice. The more engaged and empowered they feel, the better would be the chances of them getting better. Here are some tips you can introduce in your practice when dealing with patients:
- Take the first step yourself. Try to use your patient portal as much as you can.
- Ask them how they feel about their experience with your patient portal and registration.
- Encourage new and older patients to use your patient portal to minimize manual effort and save time.
- If you feel that your patient isn’t tech-savvy or is hesitant to try new things, walk them through the patient portal step-by-step.
- Understand that not every patient you get is comfortable with technology. Some people might still prefer to do things the old fashion way.
5. Chart, Review, Adapt & Repeat
Setting targets and assessing progress should be part of your patient engagement vision. If you want to track metrics, you may want to start by talking to patients about how a particular intervention will help them reach their health objectives. How your patients can use technology to come one step closer to their ultimate health goals.
If you don’t want to use the direct approach, you can monitor how many patients have signed up using your patient portal and what problems they faced in doing so.
Conclusion – Revitalize Patient Engagement in Your Practice
Most practices think that having top-tier EMR software like athenahealth, AdvancedMD, or eClinicalWorks is enough to engage their patients. Of course, having a good EMR software helps streamline your workflows and simplify charting; patient engagement is more about how you choose to engage with your patients.
Here we’ve talked about the five essentials of an effective patient engagement strategy and how you can implement them in your practice. The bottom line is that an effective patient engagement strategy is simply how well you can collaborate and communicate with your patients to improve overall care.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article and want to discuss how you can build an engagement strategy for your practice, feel free to contact us for a Free consultation session.