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Everything You Need to Know About Patient Engagement

Everything You Need to Know About Patient Engagement

After the pandemic, the tides of healthcare services have shifted drastically. Marked by digitalization and ease of access, the focus of healthcare services today is on making the patient’s life easier through collaboration and shared decision-making, enabling patients to be active participants in their healthcare journey.

The ingression of digital technologies has accelerated the shift towards smart health aided by telehealth applications. As per a report by EY, penetration of video consults nearly quadrupled from 5% to 19% while telephone consults more than doubled from 11% to 24%. For most patients (70%), a telephone consultation worked just as well as communicating their symptoms to the physician in person.

These shifts have made patient engagement an important factor for healthcare providers.

How did this shift happen and how is patient engagement bound to change the face of the healthcare sector? How can healthcare contact centers progress towards more inclusive and patient-centric care? Let’s find out.

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient Engagement means giving patients a more proactive role in their healthcare journey. It allows patients to research symptoms, diagnose themselves, and reach out to healthcare providers on their own.

At the core of this, lies the essential role of technology.

Healthcare providers need to align themselves with the changing trends in the healthcare industry. To achieve this, they need to get rid of the traditional approach. The first step towards this goal is to tailor healthcare services to cater to patient needs.

The Importance of Patient Engagement

There are many who undervalue patient experiences or fail to distinguish them from healthcare services. Doesn’t getting competent care amount to good patient experiences, you might wonder!

Some of us might even quibble with the idea of patient experiences being a subjective parameter.

However, the continued reliance on technology for self-service and better access to healthcare data suggests otherwise. The conventional approach of limited patient engagement is often associated with delays and unmet medical needs. This happens because patients are disconnected from their care due to a lack of knowledge and limited access to medical data.

Whereas, the prioritization of patient engagement changes the scenario altogether. With a healthcare approach tailored for each patient, the use of technology to send reminders, simplify appointment scheduling, ensure adherence, and enable convenient access to patient information, care gets a new and more accountable meaning.

How Important is Patient Engagement
Benefits of Effective Patient Engagement

Effective patient engagement yields a number of benefits not only for the patients but also for the healthcare providers, ranging from improved clinical outcomes to enhanced operational efficiency.

⦿ Streamlined Clinical Workflows

One of the most immediate benefits of effective patient engagement is the automation of clinical workflows. When patients participate proactively in their healthcare journeys, the administrative burden on healthcare providers comes down, minimizing inefficiencies, and optimizing resource allocation. From appointment scheduling to follow-up communications, streamlined workflows enable providers to deliver care more efficiently, freeing up valuable time and resources to focus on what matters most: patient outcomes.

⦿ Personalized Patient Journeys

A good patient engagement-driven healthcare service is about tailoring care to the individual needs and preferences of patients. With access to patient data, providers can create personalized care plans that take into account factors such as medical history, lifestyle, and treatment preferences. This patient-centric approach ensures that patients receive the right service at the right time, adding to better health outcomes.

⦿ Data-driven Insights

As patients’ communications moved online, so did their data. With a wealth of valuable insights, healthcare providers can drive continuous improvements in their healthcare service delivery. Through an analysis of patient data, healthcare providers can identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement, enabling them to make more informed decisions about care delivery, resource allocation, and quality improvement initiatives. This can be the stepping stone to deliver more proactive, targeted, and effective care.

💡Read More: 7 Ways EPIC CTI Connector Can Transform Patient Experience

⦿ Reduced Cost of Care

Effective patient engagement has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of care by promoting preventive care, reducing hospital readmissions, and minimizing unnecessary healthcare utilization. As patients take a more active role in their healthcare management, patient engagement can help prevent costly complications, improve medication adherence, and reduce the need for expensive interventions. Further, with streamlined workflows, there is optimal resource utilization that helps reduce overhead costs.

⦿ Boost to Virtual Care

With the dawn of digital patient engagement, there has been widespread adoption of virtual care modalities like telemedicine and remote monitoring. By leveraging technology to deliver care remotely, healthcare providers can overcome geographical barriers, expand access to care, and improve patient convenience. Virtual care options allow patients to access care from the comfort of their homes and reduce the need for in-person visits saving clinic space and time for both parties.

💡Discover: 8 Patient Engagement Strategies to Boost Healthcare Outcomes

Challenges to Patient Engagement

Despite the significant benefits of patient engagement, many healthcare organizations have failed to step up and embrace patient engagement strategies. What hinders healthcare providers from giving effective patient engagement strategies a chance?

Here are a few of them:

Challenges to Patient Engagement
Key Patient Engagement Strategies

To overcome these challenges of patient engagement and maximize its benefits, healthcare organizations must adopt strategic approaches that prioritize automation, personalization, and accessibility.

⦿ Automate Patient Engagement

The automation of patient engagement processes can streamline communication, reduce administrative burdens, and enhance efficiency. Automated appointment reminders, prescription refill notifications, and follow-up messages can ensure timely communication with patients while minimizing manual intervention. Additionally, automated workflows can help healthcare providers identify and prioritize patient needs, ensuring that no patient falls through the cracks.

⦿ Personalize Patient Experiences

Personalization lies at the heart of effective patient engagement. By tailoring care plans, communications, and interactions to each patient’s unique needs, preferences, and circumstances, healthcare providers can foster deeper connections and improve outcomes. Leveraging patient data, including medical history, demographic information, and behavioral insights, allows providers to deliver targeted interventions and support that resonate with patients on a personal level.

⦿ Track Agent’s Performance Metrics

Monitoring and analyzing the performance of healthcare agents involved in patient engagement efforts is crucial for identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement. By tracking metrics such as response times, resolution rates, patient satisfaction scores, and adherence to protocols, organizations can assess the effectiveness of their engagement strategies and provide targeted training and support to agents as needed.

💡Read More: Real-World Contact Center Lessons to Improve Patient Experience

⦿ Meet Patients Where They Are

Recognizing that patients have diverse preferences and communication preferences, healthcare organizations must cater to patients’ channel preferences. This means offering multiple channels for engagement, including in-person consultations, telehealth services, mobile apps, patient portals, and social media platforms. This convenient access to healthcare resources and support can help accommodate the needs and preferences of all patients, regardless of their location or technological proficiency.

⦿ Invest in the Right Tools and Technologies

Effective patient engagement relies on the use of advanced tools and technologies that facilitate communication, collaboration, and data management. Investing in robust patient engagement platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, telehealth solutions, and data analytics tools enables healthcare organizations to deliver seamless, personalized experiences across the care continuum. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI, ML, and NLP, organizations can streamline workflows, improve efficiency, and enhance the overall patient experience.

Technologies to Transform Patient Engagement

To give patient engagement a literal shape, leveraging the right tools and technologies is an essential element. Here are a few innovative solutions that can aid healthcare givers in upgrading the patient-engagement landscape.

⦿ CTI Connectors

CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) connectors enable seamless integration between healthcare applications, communication channels, etc. facilitating efficient patient engagement and interaction. With CTI Connectors, healthcare organizations can cut down on the manual tasks that eat away at agents’ productivity like filing prescriptions or logging calls from patients. Integration of CTI with core healthcare EMR/EHR applications like EPIC, Cerner, Aetna, etc can automate clinical workflows and enhance operational efficiency.

Benefits of NovelVox CTI Connectors

 

💡Also Read: Streamlining Your Healthcare Contact Center Operations with EPIC CTI Connector

⦿ Unified Agent Desktops

Unified Agent Desktops

Unified agent desktops provide healthcare providers with a centralized platform for managing patient interactions across multiple channels, improving efficiency and coordination. With agent desktop, healthcare providers can access real-time patient data, allowing caregivers to know their patients and their interaction journey before they utter a hello, thus adding a personalized touch to their service.

Agent Desktop for Healthcare

⦿ Omnichannel Platforms

Patient engagement strategies need to account for differences in individual preferences for communication channels. Patients expect caregivers to be available on their preferred channels – email, text, digital messaging, social channels, and more. Seamlessly integrating your healthcare contact center with an omnichannel platform can save the situation. With an integrated omnichannel strategy, caregivers can have an integrated view of interactions received from all interaction channels and electronic health records (EHRs), making it easier to deliver consistent and connected experiences to patients.

Omnichannel Platforms
⦿ Conversational AI Chatbots

Conversational ai chatbots significantly boost patient experience and increase retention by answering their questions on time, assisting in booking appointments, and eliminating the stress of waiting in long queues to hear from a caregiver. They can generate personalized responses that are tailored to the patient’s exact interests and preferences, or detect and respond appropriately to sarcasm and humor. Further, pre-integrated with EMR/ EHR applications, conversational AI chatbots can invoke functions to manage appointments, prescriptions, referrals, and more.

💡Read More: Why Does Your Healthcare Organization Need Conversational Chatbots?

Trends in Patient Engagement

The landscape of patient engagement is continually evolving, driven by emerging trends and technological innovations that shape the future of healthcare delivery. Here are a few trends that will define the healthcare landscape in the near future.

⦿ Self-service Patient Portals

With self-service patient-centric portals, it’s easier to assist patients with secure and convenient access to personal healthcare information, 24/7. These portals serve as centralized platforms where patients can view their medical records, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, access lab results, and even communicate with their healthcare providers electronically. By providing patients with greater control over their healthcare journey, self-service portals enhance convenience, transparency, and patient satisfaction.

⦿ The Rapid Adoption of AI, ML, and NLP

By leveraging AI, ML, and NLP, healthcare providers can deliver more personalized, efficient, and accessible care experiences, ultimately improving patient outcomes and satisfaction. AI-driven solutions analyze vast amounts of healthcare data to uncover insights, predict outcomes, and personalize patient care pathways. ML algorithms learn from historical patient data to identify patterns and trends. NLP technologies enable computers to understand and interpret human language, facilitating natural and intuitive interactions between patients and virtual assistants, chatbots, or virtual health coaches.

The Evolution of Patient Engagement

Just like any other sector, the healthcare space has undergone a massive shift as well in recent years. Conventional patient care was all about disease diagnosis and limited participation of patients in their healthcare journey. The crucial component of partnership between patients and providers was missing in this approach.

As healthcare paradigms began to shift owing to innovations in technologies and a dynamic shift in patient preferences, the importance of patient engagement became increasingly apparent. This ushered healthcare providers to embrace a more collaborative approach prioritizing communication and patient empowerment.

💡Also Read: Top Healthcare Software Integrations to Personalize the Patient Experience

And as the pandemic hit, the healthcare scenario got a big jolt.

Technical interventions that were once considered “good-to-have” became necessities overnight. Patients preferred telehealth services and with the continued use of technology diversified their channels of communication. This was the dawn of the digital healthcare era.

Components of Effective Patient Engagement
Digital Patient Engagement

This patient engagement approach is centered around digital technology. The rise of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs), patient portals, mobile health applications, and telehealth has brought a lasting transformation in how patients interact with providers and become active participants in their healthcare journey.

Elements of Digital Patient Engagement
Conclusion

As healthcare continues to evolve in response to technological advancements and shifting patient expectations, the importance of patient engagement has never been clearer. The integration of digital tools and personalized approaches is transforming patient care, making it more efficient, accessible, and responsive.

By leveraging innovations like healthcare-specific contact center products, telehealth, AI-driven analytics, and omnichannel communication platforms, healthcare providers can empower patients, streamline workflows, and ultimately improve health outcomes. However, the journey towards effective patient engagement is ongoing and requires continuous adaptation and commitment to meeting patients where they are.

As we move forward, the focus must remain on fostering meaningful connections, enhancing patient experiences, and ensuring that technology serves as a bridge rather than a barrier. By embracing these strategies, healthcare providers can build a future where patients are truly at the center of their care, leading to a more inclusive, proactive, and patient-centric healthcare system.

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