Engaging with patients is an important part of a healthcare organization’s work. According to the Duke Center for Personalized Health, improved patient satisfaction, comprehension of health issues and therapies, and better outcomes result from a good patient-provider relationship. Providers can leverage patient engagement tools to build this relationship.
Since COVID, the healthcare world has been changing constantly. There has been a rise in virtual appointments, many modes of communications, and varying outlooks on the future of healthcare, patient engagement is more important than ever for improved outcomes and high-quality care.
What is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is a concept in healthcare centered on patients taking an active role in their own care. It’s about more than just taking medications and seeing the doctor on time. It’s about staying informed and involved.
Increasingly, patients want to be informed about their healthcare decisions and how those choices are impacting their health. In an age where physicians are telling us “everything” we need to know, patients want to be more involved and make decisions in conjunction with their healthcare provider.
With digital patient engagement tools on the rise in healthcare, patients can better understand their health and what they want from their healthcare providers.
In the behavioral health sector, digital patient engagement tools can help clients stay up-to-date with their medical records and treatment plans, set reminders for behavioral health appointments, and receive alerts when something needs to be addressed. Plus, these tools can make communicating with mental health providers easier. while minimizing stress around miscommunication or language barriers.
There are also benefits for providers. For example, patient engagement tools lead to better adherence to treatment plans, leading to better outcomes to report to funders. Patient engagement tools also allow providers to gather data in between meetings with the client.
5 Emerging Digital Patient Engagement Tools
Here are five popular and emerging patient engagement tools in the behavioral health sector:
Telehealth is a term used for healthcare services delivered to clients at a distance. It can provide an avenue for connection with behavioral health providers for those who live in rural or underserved areas. It also offers convenience and flexibility to manage symptoms for those who live busy lives or face challenges getting to a provider. Some of the most common forms of telehealth include mental health counseling and addiction therapy, which can be provided remotely via phone or video chat.
A subsection of telehealth, remote patient monitoring (RPM), uses connected and mobile devices to allow providers to connect with patients more than ever before. For example, a patient with a heart condition may take a monitor home, and physicians can monitor blood oxygen levels remotely.
In the case of behavioral health, clients with mental health or substance use conditions may struggle with motivation to complete everyday tasks and their treatment regimes. However, research has shown that RPM enhances patient outcomes by increasing appointment attendance, decreasing hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and increasing participation in psychosocial recovery programs.
Using educational videos and interactive software tools, patients can be more engaged and knowledgeable about their health. Research has shown that educating patients about their prognosis improves outcomes. When patients know what to anticipate, they are more confident in their prognosis and treatment plan and more likely to adhere to it.
One example of this type of tool is Elsevier, which provides a wide range of educational and interactive medical content for patients in several languages and literacy levels. Another example of this is a video game called EndeavorRX, which was FDA-approved for children with ADHD. The game challenges children to focus and concentrate on certain activities and encourages them to have fun while improving this skill.
Automating follow-up communication with patients to complete a satisfaction survey is another simple technique to improve patient engagement. Delivering the best possible treatment to patients is critical. Using patient satisfaction surveys, healthcare practitioners can assess if they are meeting or exceeding patients’ expectations or if there is room for improvement.
Integrations with technology such as NowPow
Social determinants of health, such as food security, housing status, income, and access to health services can all be barriers in healthcare. NowPow’s technology scans patients’ medical data for unmet social determinants needs like access to healthy meals. The platform’s algorithms then match and refer patients to appropriate community resources. For each client, the platform considers their geographic location, language, and service eligibility.
The Impact of Patient Engagement Tools on Client Care
In every sector, technology is changing the way we engage and healthcare is no exception. Physicians and providers can leverage technology and patient engagement tools to provide the best care possible. The world’s increasing interconnectedness allows providers to connect with clients and for patients to be involved in their healthcare more than ever before. This engagement can lead to better outcomes, greater adherence to treatment plans, and more efficient care delivery.