Throughout Twistle by Health Catalyst’s ten-year history, we have generated meaningful activation data from which we can confidently recommend optimal patient engagement pathways. We partner with life sciences companies, health systems and payers to improve health outcomes and quality of life for patients.
We have discovered that the optimal patient experience incorporates a wide array of factors that range from the use of empathy to the technical features of the delivery method. When evaluating engagement software and strategies to optimize patient activation, consider the following elements.
According to Pew Research, 81% of Americans have a smartphone and 96% own a cell phone of some kind. Many patients, however, do not want to download an app or remember access instructions and passwords for patient portals. Keeping patient communication simple via SMS text messages increases engagement. Make sure patients have options and are able to engage on their own terms so that your outreach is accessible for all patients.
Are you communicating at times and intervals when patients are more likely to engage? We have found that messages delivered at certain times of the day have consistently higher engagement rates. Conversely, we’ve found there are definitely times to avoid when designing your communication cadence.
Not every patient understands medical terminology or has the same health literacy level. Keeping patient outreach messages short, using easy to understand wording and descriptive subject lines ensure that patients can follow instructions and respond to check ins. We strive to provide guidance in small, digestible messages delivered right when the information is needed and can be acted upon.
The number and timing of messages you send must match the patient’s needs across their treatment journey. Just-in-time messages eliminate the risk of alert fatigue, whether a patient is preparing to start a new treatment or has been on treatment for a longer period of time.
We have found that patient activation is optimal when we provide more than just treatment information. Sometimes patients need a gentle nudge or a friendly reminder that they’re not alone and that someone’s looking out for them. Alleviate patient anxiety by keeping messages encouraging to further nurture the patient relationship and build loyalty and trust.
In order to iterate and improve the digital patient care journey, analysis of outreach and engagement behaviors should also be conducted. What content worked and what fell flat? Which pathways had the perfect number of touch points and which missed the mark? These data-driven decisions will lead to true optimization and improved patient activation.
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