Engaging with patients is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. Patient engagement is all about CULTURE and VALUE. I believe providing value is even better.
It’s not an easy job to engage with patients and set them on a course to wellness. I once read the text message inbox is the holy grail of patient engagement. Please understand, this doesn’t happen on its own - it takes effort, and mostly…TIME.
Here are a few ways healthcare providers can engage patients and promote wellness:
- Encourage an Alternative Routine
Patient engagement requires a strategy. Patients typically follow doctors’ orders and tend to go back to their old routine once they feel better. Patient engagement encourages new daily habits and demonstrates how to achieve them.
For example, the type of patient engagement we are talking about promotes a new routine using daily text messages. This routine can include sending coupons for nutritional food, sharing a yoga schedule for the patient with a quick click to confirm availability, and even have the family of this patient encourage their progress with family endorsements along the way. When the information being shared is valuable, patients are more likely to follow and adhere.
- Share Patient Success Stories
Equally important to promoting an alternative routine is showcasing patients that are making progress. “Success breeds success,” right? When a physician has success with one patient, it is important to share that with others. My patient lost 20 pounds and is no longer taking blood pressure medication. It is difficult work to prove success; it is even more difficult to encourage others to follow. This is an extremely powerful message when encouraging wellness, but also demonstrates value to patients.
One final note on patient engagement. Patients who are truly engaged with their physician and medical practice are less likely to be admitted to the hospital. Three to four visits per month to encourage the patient’s new habits and routine are essential for sustained wellness. The increased number of visits per patient per month will be more than off-set with one less hospitalization.
Equally important is the benefit a patient would receive by becoming healthy versus simply managing their sickness. Beginning now the culture of the entire practice is to encourage patient wellness and deliver value. Removing one hospitalization delivers an extraordinary cost savings. Thus, we’ve lowered cost with increased visits.