Patient engagement is at the core of the health care system transformation because of its potential impact on health outcomes and on reducing health care costs. According to a 2013 Accenture study, communication, especially in digital format, is the cornerstone of patient engagement. The study found that 82% of consumers want access to their medical records, 77% would prefer to book appointments online, 76% prefer electronic prescription renewals, and 74% would like to receive appointment reminders via email or text.
Here are five tips for improving patient communication and engagement and strengthening your patient relationships.
- Enhance electronic communications
Meaningful Use – Stage 2 mandates that healthcare providers communicate with at least 5% of patients via secure electronic messaging. Increased electronic messaging saves on phone costs and engages patients with convenient, applicable, and immediate messaging.
- Offer telemedicine and telehealth tools and services
According to a recent survey, (“Survey: Consumers Keen on Telemedicine“) nearly 75% of U.S. consumers say they would use telemedicine to track their condition and vital signs if telemedicine or telehealth tools were offered to them.
- Foster online communities
Creating online forums where patients and families can connect with peers during difficult times can build a sense of community and provide much-needed support. These can also help hospitals with operation expenses and save time for both providers and patients.
- Provide online prescription renewal and electronic med reminders
Medication non-adherence is the leading cause of preventable morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs, according to the World Health Organization. Automating reminders to take medication and renew prescriptions, as well as making renewal simple through an online patient portal can increase adherence and save costs.
- Cater to bilingual patients
Healthcare providers with patient populations who speak English as a second language face the challenge of effectively engaging with this group. Healthcare providers can and should provide communications in several languages, including any information available on their patient portals. Medicom Health Risk Assessments, test results, and scheduling tools can be offered in alternate language formats for the non-English speaking patient.
As the healthcare industry adjusts to accommodate new reimbursement models, providers must focus on population health management and increased patient engagement. What types of online tools does your healthcare system offer to new, current, and underserved patients?