The past several years have seen the proliferation of several new macro drivers in healthcare, including the shift to high deductible health plans and the growth of informed consumerism. These trends together comprise what is often termed consumer-driven healthcare. This is a movement that all independent practice and provides should be aware of and willing to embrace in order to be competitive in the next five years. In simple terms, patient are demanding the level of service, convenience and value they receive from other consumer-focused vendors in other industries. Patients have the ability to move within or outside of traditional provider networks to seek the best value and greatest level of satisfaction from their providers.
Patients are demanding the same level of service, convenience and value they receive from other consumer-focused vendors in other industries.
Forward thinking independent practices can respond by offering care solutions that are coordinated, convenient, customized and accessible. As part of this new movement, patients are willing to take on more responsibility for their care and are interested in a higher level of provider engagement and shared decision making. (For more, join my webinar, The Age of Engagement: How Today’s Patient Engagement Technology Can Help Improve Patient Outcomes.)
The current state of patient engagement has early signs of this trend, but a large percentage of providers are slow to respond. Recent survey data shows 50% of doctors do not communicate between encounters, and believe they have no responsibility to do so, this is despite the fact that 83% patients do not follow treatment plans and have a difficult time recalling physician instructions following their visits.
The good news, however, is that practices that engage their patients in between encounters have seen significant benefits in outcomes and other metrics. One study showed 60% increase in preventative screening, 50% reduction in clinical care gaps, and over a 2X increase in compliance and adherence to care instructions. Furthermore, patient satisfaction scores increased, and other studies show a correlation between increased patient satisfaction and practice profitability. So it pays to engage.
While patient engagement can take many forms we offer a simple breakdown of successful and proven engagement models:
- Web Presence
- Physician Profile and Search
- Social media reputation
- Enrollment and consent
- Pre-visit assessments
- Telehealth visits
- Office check-in and history capture
- Care management
- Patient adherence programs and reminders
- Patient portals
- Assistance with appointments and scheduling
- Mobile health monitoring
- Provider chat and messaging
- Health and satisfaction surveys
Most practices start out using one or two from each category and grow their level of engagement and sophistication over time. With helpful technology like that provided by an integrated EHR platform, these tasks can be almost fully automated and run in the background, requiring only a small investment in setup and configuration.
A good example is the use of reputation management features, the provider can setup their list of preferred sites to publish their automated patient surveys and reviews. Office staff can also setup automate reports of their online reputation over time to track their progress and address any issues that arise.
Other simple features like automated patient reminders and wellness screening reminders can be set up and put into motion with a few minutes of staff time, and pay big dividends towards patient satisfaction and practice revenue.
I encourage independent practices to learn more about patient engagement and how they can generate their own return on engagement.
To learn more, please join me in my upcoming webinar: