One of the top priorities for healthcare providers should be to ensure that patients are active participants in their treatment, care plans, and overall well being. While consumers are becoming more curious about the treatment options available to them, they often don’t have time to discuss options or outcomes with their providers. In 2018, 33% of healthcare providers spend about 17-24 minutes per visit, which may not be enough for patients to feel like their concerns are addressed. So what can be done to increase patient engagement and make healthcare consumers feel like they are being provided for?
According to the organization Massachusetts Health Quality Partners, one of the common problems practices run into when it comes to patient engagement and followup care is the lack of understanding on behalf of the patient. In a study, only 64% of practices said that they had a process in place to ensure that patients understood what they needed for the implementation of those plans.
The healthcare industry often uses complex jargon and acronyms that the average user wouldn’t understand. Only 12% of adults in the U.S. have high health literacy – the degree to which they understand the basic health information provided to them. By breaking the complex concepts down, patients may be better able to understand what’s expected of them – and how to proceed with their treatment care plan.
While treatment plans are not one-size-fits-all, the more vague recommendations can lead to confusion and non-compliance on behalf of the patient. The more specific you can get in your care recommendations, the better. And if the patient knows they are working toward a concrete goal, they may be more willing to stick with the plan.
The use of patient portals and appointment reminders can go a long way in increasing patient engagement. But if there is any concern about medication or follow up care, a digital healthcare platform will make it easier for access to the care team when patients – or caregivers – need it.
Improving patient engagement remains a critical issue in the healthcare industry. By keeping communication open, having concrete treatment care measures and goals, and using technology to increase patient understanding and follow-through, providers will be able to work toward a better provider-client relationship.