The Beryl Institute recently hosted its ELEVATE PX global patient experience virtual event. The program featured the voices of patients, volunteers, advocates, caregivers and healthcare providers – many sharing their perspectives on ways to improve the patient experience.

A Nudge for Health

One session presented by a team from Sutter Health was titled, “A Nudge for Health: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Online Scheduling and Health Maintenance Completion.” It offered compelling research findings that incorporated ideas from the book “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunsein.

The premise of the book is that the choices people make can be influenced by the way they are presented – what the authors refer to as “choice architecture.”

What Impact Can The Framing of a Message Have?

The team at Sutter Health wanted to investigate whether the theories of behavioral economics could be employed to encourage certain actions. Could a slight shift in how messages are framed have a significant impact on patient engagement?

They looked at wording modifications in patient communications to try to impact patient use of its online scheduling tool. They employed an A/B testing framework and maintained a control group who would not receive a message at all. The theme for message A was curiosity (“try our new feature”) and the theme for message B was exclusivity (“you qualify for online scheduling”).

Message B was the winner and was sent to the wider patient population and it was very effective. The pilot group has used the online scheduling tool five times more than the control group. The Sutter Health team next looked to improve the response rate for health maintenance reminders and they found a similar outcome – when they used “secure my appointment” instead of “make an appointment” the response rate was higher.

Sutter Health was able to significantly increase the number of patients coming in for a pap smear:

Control Group Nudge Group
Health Maintenance Reminder 120,054 287,155
Appointment scheduled 18,313 61,372
Among scheduled, % scheduled online 4.2% 6.4%
% of Appointment completed 15.3% 21.4%

Creating a Success Patient Engagement Strategy

This session was another confirmation that engaging patients isn’t as simple as letting patients know they’re due for a visit. How you word messages, when you send them, and where patients are expected to access the messages are all factors in a good engagement strategy. At Twistle, we understand that patient engagement, not a volley of static, one way messages, but rather a care pathway that is evolved over time to stay aligned with patient goals and optimized outcomes.

Interested in learning more about Patient Engagement Best Practices? Download an infographic to learn about eight key considerations for an effective engagement strategy.

Optimizing Patient Journeys

Interested in activating patients in their care by ensuring that they have an understanding, competence, and willingness to participate? Twistle’s Director of Clinical Solutions shares some insights.