The following guest post on patient engagement was submitted by Emma Sturgis.
In today’s healthcare environment, it’s easier than ever for a patient to switch providers. By contacting their insurance carrier, they can easily switch their preferred provider in the blink of an eye to finding an office that’s closer or that charges less for treatment.
Medical offices aren’t one-size-fits-all. Quality services are important, but there are hundreds of talented doctors looking for new patients daily. One way to truly improve patient retention is to give patients an experience they can’t get elsewhere. By investing your efforts into engaging your patients in their care, you can stand out among other offices and show your patients that you care as well.
Engage Your Patients While They Wait For You
Part of seeing the doctor is waiting. If you’re really focused on improving customer satisfaction in your practice, one goal should always be to spend more time with your patient so they are spending less time in the examination room alone. When your patient is waiting, they should be engaging.
By investing in patient engagement technology, you can encourage all of your patients to engage in the experience right at their bedside. With an interactive tablet or TV system, the patient can read up on health tips, schedule appointments, order a meal, or look up good questions to ask doctors and nurses. Engagement platforms like these have proven to keep patients educated and entertained.
Hire an Advocate Dedicated to Patient Engagement
There is more than one type of patient engagement solution. Tablets and TVs can quickly become engagement platforms in the examination room or the hospital room. Once the patient leaves, these solutions won’t keep the patient involved in their care and focused on staying educated about their healthcare and treatment.
One way that you can keep your patients accountable after their appointment ends or they are handed their discharge paperwork is to hire a patient engagement specialist. When you’re outside of a medical environment, you’re not quite as focused on healthcare because you have so much to distract you.
Advocates who specialize in patient engagement know that patients must be reminded of their health on a regular basis. The advocate will touch base with the patient, look for improvement opportunities, and monitor how the patient is progressing in their program. It’s important that your advocate is personable but also good at stressing the importance of what the doctor has prescribed.
Encourage Your Patients to Use Technology to Manage Their Meds
Medications are necessary to treat some conditions. They can also help patients live more fulfilling lives if they are managed properly. Some clients who need to take prescribed drugs are less-than-dedicated to taking the right dosages at the right times. In fact, a huge reason there are bad outcomes in patients who take medications is because they aren’t managed right.
You can help your patients stay engaged in their healthcare when they are prescribed medications by recommending that they use special healthcare apps. These will remind the patient when to take their medications and gives information on side affects you should expect. It is a great way for a patient to get answers about their prescriptions without having to wait until their next appointment.
A patient is just as responsible for the outcome when they are being treated for an illness or a chronic disease. Unfortunately, some patients prefer not to be engaged and leave their health entirely in the hands of the doctor. If you want to show patients that they need to be involved in their care while improving satisfaction, here are 3 engagement solutions to consider implementing.
Emma is a freelance writer currently living in Boston, MA. She writes most often on education and business. To see more from Emma, say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2