Investing in digital health to engage patients across the continuum of care can deliver big returns including better outcomes, greater satisfaction, and reduced costs. Ensuring patients are engaged and satisfied continues to be particularly important as acquiring and retaining patients becomes more competitive. Effectively activating patients in their care is challenging for several reasons including difficult to use tools, health literacy, motivation, and inadequate education. Health systems are increasingly facing limited resources and an already overburdened healthcare workforce is unable to take on additional responsibilities. It is clear that a sustainable patient engagement strategy must leverage technology that is accessible by the majority of patients, reduces the care team workload, and delivers a clear return on investment (ROI).  

Selecting the Right Patient Engagement Technology 

The patient engagement technology space is crowded, and it is hard to understand the differences among each offering. A patient engagement technology solution should deliver quantitative and qualitative value for health system stakeholders and their patients. Here are several things to consider when selecting a solution to address your unique needs.

A patient engagement platform must enable the care team to be much more productive 

A great patient engagement platform will automatically manage routine patient education, communication, and data gathering activities, and only alert the care team when the data indicates a need for intervention. This ensures the care team can focus on high value patient care that addresses gaps or prevents physiologic deterioration, rather than routine phone calls and other administrative tasks.  

Comprehensive, out-of-the-box communication content will deliver value across the organization 

A health system may realize measurable outcomes in a short amount of time if the technology includes a rich library of patient communication pathways that are proven to drive high engagement rates. Communication pathways should also be configurable and customizable to meet an organization’s unique needs; ideally organizations are empowered to edit the content themselves to foster rapid turn-around. In addition, communication best practices will help ensure sustained engagement and improved health outcomes. Factors such as message timing, content, cadence, and tone will optimize the patient experience and ensure that patients are activated in their care.   

The solution should empower patients to optimize their experience, engagement, and quality of life 

Patients will be more likely to engage in their care when communication pathways are tailored to their clinical needs, preferences, and responses. Personalization of messages can be simple, such as using the patient’s name, demographic details, or lab data within a message. More sophisticated personalization incorporates patient data to generate dynamic responses that provide tailored guidance. For example, if a patient completes a postop DVT assessment form and reports that they only drank four glasses of water in a 24-hour period, auto-generated messages can provide education about the importance of hydration in preventing blood clots, tips about how to increase water intake, and gentle nudges to drink. With access to real-time, patient-generated data, organizations can create a personalized experience that improves patient outcomes, satisfaction, and loyalty. 

Integration with existing data systems will increase efficiency and efficacy  

A platform that can seamlessly integrate with existing EHR and CRM workflows lowers the burden for staff and eliminates the risk of accidental omission via manual enrollment. Initiation of communication pathways can be automated using triggers such as entry of a new diagnosis or a scheduled surgery. Providers can work within the software applications they use on a regular basis, where they will see patient-entered data and manage alerts for those that require interventional outreach. 

Sustain engagement by automatically creating personalized, data-driven patient experiences 

Powerful machine learning technology is essential in delivering a patient experience that moves beyond traditional high-level assumptions and minimal differentiation. A system that allows organizations to quickly analyze, scale, and automatically deliver a wide array of data-driven message options will drive adherence, improve outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction. 


Easing Healthcare Challenges with Patient Engagement Technology 

Health systems face tremendous financial pressures in both fee-for-service and value-based care payment models. At the same time, organizations face increasing competition and must consistently deliver engaging consumer experiences. A robust digital patient engagement strategy is essential to keep patients in the system. The right patient engagement technology will be a companion to patients who may be overwhelmed or confused about their care plan. It enables healthcare providers to maintain a close connection with patients and to deliver the right message at the right time – when it will be relevant and meaningful to patients. 


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