The healthcare dictionary would not be complete without the phrase “patient engagement.” While it is touted as a new term, nothing could be further from the truth. Healthcare providers have been striving to get patients involved in their own care for decades.
The Institute for Healthcare has offered healthcare providers a Triple Aim for Healthcare Improvement. Most healthcare providers and payers are seeking ways to improve their care and overall patient experience in order to meet those guidelines.
The three goals of healthcare providers and payers today according to the Institute for Healthcare’s guide should be:
-To improve the experience for the patient in both quality and satisfaction
-To lower the cost of care
-To improve the health of the various populations.
In most healthcare systems, the records that are gathered about the patient exist in separate and disparate systems which means the patients are caught navigating a very complicated process to obtain the records that they need to share with all players involved in their care. This prevents the best quality of care for the patient and may also prevent patient engagement in their own care since it takes a vast toll of time.
Additionally, the patient engagement suffers for other reasons. A National eHealth Collaborative survey found that only 8% of providers who responded to the survey said that they had a “clearly defined patient engagement strategy.” This low rate was true even though more than 50% of the health care provider respondents replied that having a high rate of patient engagement was a high priority to them.
The number one way that health care providers and payers can achieve a higher rate of patient engagement will be by leveraging the power of technology to create or to become part of a solid network of physicians or healthcare providers. In this way they can offer a solid foundation for achieving long-term patient engagement goals.
Patient engagement depends on a tight alignment across all of the systems that touch a given patient. Physicians, labs, physical therapy, short term acute care, long term care and multiple other entities that treat the patient in any way must all be given full access to the to the patient’s record in order to create the best and most effective treatment plan.
Every member of the healthcare team who comes in contact with the patient must share relevant information about the patient’s care with the other team members in a timely way in order to ensure the continuity of patient care.
Communication is imperative between the patient and every member of the healthcare team in order to get the patient engaged in his or her own care.
One other area that is imperative is physician engagement and surprisingly, sometimes this is difficult to facilitate as well. Our next section explores the importance of this engagement from the physician
Mitch Robbins is an expert as it relates to Interim and Direct Hire Nursing Leadership Recruitment for hospitals and clinics, helping organizations build best in class clinical leadership teams in the USA.
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