24 May The Essentials for Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is an essential component in ensuring optimal patient outcomes. Clinicians work hard to do a great job of caring for their patients. They put together short and long-term plans of action, and use their knowledge and expertise to keep their patients healthy. If patients aren’t engaging in their own care, however, then even the most comprehensive action plans can fail.
Adapted from an article from Becker’s Hospital Review, here are some strategies to help increase patient engagement:
Keep it simple. Your patients most likely aren’t in the healthcare field and may not understand the medical jargon that is often used. Keep the information simple, especially if you need the patient to follow through with an action plan. Speak clearly and concisely and be specific with the information you are sharing. Most of all, be prepared to answer questions.
Set goals. Specific, actionable goals encourage engagement by making patients active participants in their own care. Patients who understand what health goals their physicians are setting for them are more likely to commit to making necessary changes. Let your patients be part of the goal setting process, and then work with them to put together a plan to achieve them. You will find they are much more invested in their own health and outcomes if they are part of the planning process.
Don’t assume. You may think that what you are saying is resonating with your patients and that you are on the same page, but that may not always necessarily be the case. Make sure you are asking follow-up questions and allowing them to ask questions about a specific plan of care or goal that you have discussed. This helps to avoid any confusion.
Share through your EHR. When information you are looking for is accessible in one central place, it allows for greater engagement. If you give your patients the means to access their health information electronically and allow them to stay on top of things like appointments, medication, or health history in one portal, then that allows for a consistent message to be shared and goals to be tracked together. Technology will help the patient be an active partner in their care, and help provide them with the information they need to take control of their health.