How To Engage Your Tech-Savvy Patients?(5 Easy Steps)
When a patient participates in managing their health, they are more likely to follow medical advice, take steps in bettering their health, and consistently show up for appointments. When unengaged, patients are 3x more likely to have unmet medical needs and 2x more likely to delay medical care.
As a healthcare provider, you want to provide patients with innovative ways to manage their health so that valuing it becomes easier. While modern engagement techniques point to using technology at every turn, not all patients respond well to technology-based communication channels. Some feel overwhelmed by the seeming complexity of online appointment scheduling or using an video conferencing software to talk with their doctor. Here are the 5 secret steps to engage your patients
1. Ask about and honor communication preferences
One size does not fit all when it comes to patient engagement. To determine the best methods for increasing engagement with your patients, you should first analyze how involved your patients already are and understand their preferred communication channel.
Many healthcare professionals use the Patient Activation Measure, a 100-point scale that assesses an individual’s knowledge, skill, confidence, and preferences in managing their own health.
Consider using this survey to know more about your patients’ ability to self-manage their health and tailor your strategies in increasing patient activation. For example, you may learn from your results that the majority of your patients are not willing to adopt any new engagement technologies and that they prefer simpler, nontechnical engagement methods. Or you may learn that your patients have been waiting for you to automate your health care system for the past three years.
This survey can be integrated into your EHR system. You can ask patients to complete it before the appointment as part of their paperwork, or after they’ve had their healthcare visit.
2. Motivate with rewards
As offering rewards can help motivate employees, the same goes for patients. Rewarding patients can encourage them to achieve their health goals and strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
Consider incentivizing with a gift certificate or an entry into a raffle if a patient hits a certain blood pressure number or completes supplementary education about their journey to recovery. It doesn’t have to be expensive; you’d be surprised at the outcome a small reward brings.
It’s worth noting that offering a rewards program should not be seen as a substitute for offering valuable care in order to keep a patient. If a patient has a poor experience with their provider, it’s unlikely a gift card will keep them around.
3. Include patients in shared decision-making
Shared decision-making creates a patient-centered health care experience. Clinicians and patients work together to make decisions and choose tests, treatments, and care plans that balances expected outcomes with patient preferences.
Giving patients the knowledge and ability to choose their treatment options, guided by a clinician, builds a trusting relationship between the two parties and increases the likelihood the patient will follow through with the plan.
The six steps to engaging patients in shared decision making, provided by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, are:
- Invite patients to participate
- Present options
- Provide information on benefits and risks
- Assist patients in evaluating options based on their concerns and goals
- Facilitate deliberation and decision-making
- Assist with implementation
4. Get patients involved in setting goals for their health
Goal setting is essential to education and engagement. For example, a patient recently diagnosed with diabetes may understand that eating healthy, being active, and taking medication are necessary behaviors for self-management, but without specific goals, they may find it overwhelming.
Facilitate goal-setting discussions with your patient, and make sure that these goals are important to them. They may be told that they need to lose 20 pounds, but they need information on how to lose the weight and the importance behind it.
Help patients set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. By setting feasible goals that can be accomplished in incremental steps, patients are encouraged to keep moving forward.
5. Set up texting reminders
Even if you patients don’t want online appointment scheduling or online billing, chances are they are familiar with reading and replying to text messages. Setting up text-based appointment reminders does not mean patients have to download an app, set up an online portal account, or remember login credentials.
71 percent of patients said they’d prefer to receive an appointment reminder via text as opposed to a phone call. Many patients don’t answer unknown phone numbers for fear of spam calls warning them about their car’s extended warranty.
Many EMR tools such as Vozo provide features for sending appointment reminders to patients that only require them to reply with a hassle-free Yes or No confirmation message. Reminding patients about their appointment will decrease the amount of no-shows and wasted time.
Patient portals have become very popular and even see greater demand from both patients and providers with the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Portals offer a safe and secure way to connect patients and their healthcare experts.
With easy access to insurance information, appointment scheduling, telehealth options, and more, Vozo patient portal software will be the right choice for your practice to get started.