Patient Engagement and Connected Health

By Whende M. Carroll  |  July 11, 2018

The use of technology is in full swing in every aspect of our lives, including healthcare.  In a competitive healthcare marketplace, having an integrated technological platform that enables superior care delivery and coordination, financial management as well as patient engagement workflows is becoming essential in order for independent medical practices to thrive.

Patients want to participate in their health and engage fully with clinic staff and providers throughout their healthcare journey for better outcomes. In fact, one study found that 48% of the patients they spoke to wanted to be more involved in their treatment plans. An excellent way to make this a reality is making healthcare technology available where and when patients are most comfortable and available: at home, work or on the go.

What Is Connected Health and What Does Patient Engagement Have to Do With It?

The key to patient engagement in our digital world is providing high-functioning technology that enhances the patient experience throughout their healthcare journey — before their visit (e.g., with online appointments and online intake) during their visit (e.g., with heads-up mobile charting that offers a more engaging exam room experience and easy time of service payment options) and after they leave the office (e.g., with e-lab results, remote message systems and e-prescriptions).

When you combine all of these factors, you have what is known as connected health. Connected health can best be described as seamless medical technology that is well-integrated and patient-focused to aid in delivering a high quality of care. This includes better communication, greater convenience and lower cost, which enhances engagement and improves the patient experience.

One of the most successful ways to attain the connected health model is by incorporating easy to use technology and tools to help patients take ownership of their care and partner with their provider for the most superior encounter possible.

Qualities to Look for in Connected Health Technology

Patient engagement technology is particularly useful for supporting connected health  in the independent practice setting, which is generally known for fostering closer patient-provider relationships than larger hospital care networks. Independent practices can start engaging patients even before the start of a healthcare visit by offering tools for time savings and a stress-free visit, such as appointment reminders and online intake. When looking for connected health technology for your practice, look for features and functionality that simplify workflows and encourage a more satisfactory impression of the practice. These tools will enhance the office environment for office staff and clinicians by increasing productivity and reducing workload. These solutions should decrease waste and redundancy in processes, which equates to cost containment that stimulates practice growth. For instance, using online patient intake for the collection of demographics and financial information aids in streamlining office workflows and standardizing them to allow for better patient communication, assessment and care. 

In the modern connected health landscape, patient engagement technology should:  

  • Meet today’s patient demand and expectations for  modern, enhanced technology to interact with front office and clinical staff during medical visits
  • Allow self-reported information collection for convenience and accuracy, and expedites the patient’s visit without waiting or redundancies
  • Give practice staff more opportunities for high-value connections with patients. More one on one time and extended communication even after the visit enriches discussion about the most critical aspects of care
  • Reduce menial tasks to increase productivity and decrease potential errors and near misses in paper-collection processes  
  • Provide less handoff for front office and clinical staff and allows a streamlined, consistent clinic visit experience for everyone involved in patient care.

In the industry today, connected health is paramount for superior communication between patients and independent medical practices. The technology’s goal is to improve patient connectedness through optimizing how the front office and clinic staff provide care and interact with patients on their healthcare journey. Precision patient engagement is the goal.  Improved ways to connect with patients is essential as it allows them to take an active part in their care from before, during and after a medical visit with front office and clinical practice staff.

Connected health technology stimulates patient engagement and improves the patient’s and the practice staff’s experience.

Streamlined processes that support communication, convenience and cost-containment for all leads to effective and high-quality care that equates to improved health promotion and dynamically engaging the patient, family and the community. Connected care not only improves care quality, patient satisfaction and reduces costs, but also fosters the well-being of medical staff and enhances the practice environment throughout the patient’s continuum of care.

To learn more about Kareo’s patient engagement solutions for connected health:

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