In recent years, the field of patient engagement and patient experience have escalated -- and for good reason. According to a recent HIMSS report, a patient’s engagement in healthcare contributes to improved health outcomes. Further, there is extensive evidence that demonstrates the improved clinical and financial results that happen when patients are engaged in their own health.
Overall, patient engagement is a win-win for both the patient and provider. And in today’s digital world, providers are taking steps to improve patient engagement with the help of digital tools.
With that, let’s take a look at some digital health tools that increase patient engagement.
A recent survey by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s 2017 conference evaluated 200 patients and 200 providers to assess the impact of digital tools on communication outreach between the two groups. It found that patient portals and telemedicine are helping increase patient engagement. According to the survey, 71% of providers say improving patient engagement is a top priority for their organization. Further, 80% of providers are working on a way to improve access to personal healthcare records.
Used to send a receive message from physicians, view medical records, and schedule appointments, patient portals are proving to be valuable tools for doctors to engage and empower their patients. “Over the last year, online patient portals have surpassed web-based access to healthcare information as the number one method for encouraging patient engagement for both patients and providers,” the survey finds.
Interactive Patient Engagement Platforms
Almost 50% of patients don’t experience optimal outcomes because they don’t properly follow their physician’s instructions. Not only does this negatively affect patients and their families, it drives up healthcare costs for families, employers, and the country. In fact, avoidable cost from nonadherence range from $68-$146 billion annually, in the United States alone.
Fortunately, advancements in personal technology have created new opportunities for hospitals to improve their patient education and outreach.
Similar to patient portals, interactive patient engagement platforms are proving to be a win-win for patients and providers alike. Not only do they give physicians the ability to prescribe personalized educational content and care instructions, interactive patient portals are giving patients and families anytime access to their healthcare information. Further, these platforms are opening the lines of communication with clinical staff, which increases the likelihood that patients will receive the right information at the right time.
Recently Phoenix Children’s Hospital installed 200 tablets in patient rooms to provide patients and their families with interactive, customized information about their treatment plan. With the installation, they digitalized their “Journey Boards” -- a tool that helps a child’s family understand discharge information before they take their child home.
"For families, hospital stays can be a very intense and stressful time and it can be hard to retain information under those conditions," director of the Division of Family Centered Care at Phoenix Children's Hospital, Teresa Boeger, said in a statement. "Journey Boards help us ensure that comprehension is taking place and helps us identify gaps in understanding…”
Further expanding on the topic, Miami Children’s Hospital CIO Edward Martinez said that the parents bringing their children to the hospital are more tech-savvy than ever before. “They want to have their information, and they want to have it now,” Martinez said. “So we feel that the engagement from that perspective — getting them engaged that early on — will get us a much better outcome earlier because they like the idea of being engaged on mobile and not face-to-face.
Overall, digital health tools are closing communication gaps, improving patient education, and increasing patient engagement. To learn how HatchMed is improving patient engagement, you can read our blog on winning the MedTech Breakthrough Award in patient engagement with the Talon Tablet Mount.