Patient Engagement

Posted by: Alok Prasad

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Involving patients in their healthcare has become crucial due to improved health outcomes and enhanced satisfaction from decision-making involvement. The shift to value-based care emphasizes patient outcomes, making engagement essential. Increased access to online health information empowers patients to participate actively in their care. Regulatory requirements stress patient-centered care, incentivizing providers to prioritize patient involvement to meet standards and improve care quality.

Patient engagement promotes an active partnership and shared decision-making between healthcare providers and patients, resulting in better health outcomes, improved patient engagement, and reduced healthcare costs. Moreover, this collaborative approach helps build trust and transparency, fostering a more robust patient-provider relationship. Engaged patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, attend follow-up appointments, and engage in preventive care measures, ultimately leading to a healthier population.

The benefits of patient engagement extend beyond individual patient outcomes. When patients are actively involved in their care, healthcare systems can benefit from reduced hospital readmission rates, more efficient use of resources, and enhanced overall performance. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, prioritizing patient engagement will be paramount in achieving sustainable, high-quality care.

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Strategies to Improve Patient Engagement and Activation

Let's dive into the heart of the matter: What strategies foster patient active participation in their healthcare to enhance patient satisfaction and health outcomes by supporting communication and collaboration between patients and healthcare providers?

1. Shared decision making

Shared decision-making, such as choosing between treatment options, can also improve communication between patients and their healthcare providers and improve outcomes, as patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans when they have a say in decision-making.


  • Stacey D, Légaré F, Col NF, et al. Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(12):CD001431. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001431.pub3
  • Elwyn G, Frosch D, Thomson R, et al. Shared decision-making in the medical encounter: what does it mean? (or it takes at least two to tango). Soc Sci Med. 2012;74(5):685-692. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.12.037

2. Patient education

Providing patients with clear, concise, and accessible information about their health can help them make informed decisions and take an active role in their care. Effective patient education can include multimedia tools, such as videos and interactive quizzes, to engage patients and help them better understand their health conditions.


  • Willinger M, Moore J, Zaza S. Patient education for promoting health. In: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd; 2013. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003944.pub5
  • Haynes B, Mcdonald H, Garg AX, et al. Interventions for enhancing medication adherence. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;(5):CD000011. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000011.pub4

3. Technology-enabled engagement

Leveraging technology, such as patient portals and mobile health apps, to connect with individuals and offer them access to their health information can significantly enhance their involvement in their care. These tools can also help patients track their symptoms, manage their care, and provide them with real-time access to health information.


  • Chaudhry B, Wang J, Wu S, et al. Systematic review: impact of health information technology on quality, efficiency, and costs of medical care. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144(10):742-752. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-144-10-200605160-00006
  • Kvedar JC, Joyner M. The internet of healthy things. Healthcare. 2016;4(2):70-74. doi:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2016.03.001

4. Team-based care

Including patients in care teams, such as enabling them to meet with their healthcare team members, can foster active participation and a sense of partnership in their care. This can also help improve communication between patients and their healthcare providers and increase trust and accountability in the care process.


  • Bodenheimer T, Sinsky C. From fragmented to coordinated care. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(16):1483-1486. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1311535
  • Doherty J, Hart A, Macdonald H, et al. Interventions for improving the quality of collaborative care for people with mental and physical multimorbidity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;(2):CD012508. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012508.pub2

5. Personalized care plans

Developing care plans tailored to each patient's needs and preferences can help increase their engagement and improve outcomes. Personalized care plans can consider the patient's goals, preferences, cultural background, and specific health conditions to ensure they receive the best care.


  • Bodenheimer T, Lorig K, Holman H, et al. Patient self-management of chronic disease in primary care. JAMA. 2002;288(19):2469-2475. doi:10.1001/jama.288.19.24

6. Patient-provider communication

Enhancing communication between patients and their healthcare providers, such as through regular check-ins and follow-up calls, can foster a better understanding of treatment goals. This approach also helps to build trust and a solid therapeutic relationship between patients and their healthcare providers.


Beach MC, et al. Provider communication and patient satisfaction with care. Health services research. 2006 Apr 1;41(2):431-52.

7. Self-monitoring and self-management

Encouraging patients to self-monitor their health and participate in self-management programs can significantly improve health outcomes. Self-monitoring can include tracking symptoms, managing medications, and observing vital signs. Simultaneously, self-management programs equip patients with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively manage their health conditions.


Lorig K, Sobel DS, Ritter P, Laurent D, Hobbs M. Chronic disease self-management program: 2-year health status and health care utilization outcomes. Medical care. 2001 Nov 1;39(11):1217-23.

8. Empowering patients

Empowering patients with the resources and support they need to take control of their health can enhance their involvement in their care. This empowerment encompasses access to health information, support from healthcare providers and peers, and tools and resources to help them manage their health conditions.


Heisler M, et al. A review of patient activation measures: availability, properties, and use. Medical care research and review. 2012 Sep 1;69(5):476-95.

9. Community-based approaches

Encouraging patients to participate in community-based programs, such as support groups or peer-led initiatives, can enhance their involvement and health outcomes. Community-based approaches allow patients to connect with others dealing with similar health challenges, exchange experiences, and gain knowledge from one another.


Lorig KR, Sobel DS, Ritter PL, Laurent D, Hobbs M. Effectiveness of a self-managed lay-led chronic disease self-help program: results of a randomized trial. Medical care. 2001 Nov 1;39(11):1224-30

10. Continuous improvement

Regularly reviewing and refining strategies for involving patients can help ensure these methods remain effective and improve patient outcomes over time. This process can include evaluating the effectiveness of specific techniques, gathering feedback from patients and healthcare providers, and making adjustments as needed to ensure that efforts to involve patients are as impactful as possible.


Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (2021). Continuous Improvement.

Innovative Solutions for Engaging Patients

The digital era has opened doors for innovative ways to engage patients in their healthcare journey. Leveraging digital patient engagement solutions can turn the often one-sided medical conversation into a collaborative effort. It's a win-win situation, where patients become more invested in their healthcare, and medical teams can provide more effective, personalized treatment plans.

Our patient engagement solutions are designed to offer patients an optimal experience in engaging in their care and securely sharing their health information daily through our home health monitoring programs.

1. Digital Patient Portals 

One powerful tool at your disposal is a patient portal. This secure website gives patients 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection. Patients can view recent doctor visits, discharge summaries, medications, and lab results. They can also communicate with their healthcare providers, book appointments, and pay their bills. 

2. Telemedicine 

Telemedicine is another digital solution gaining prominence, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows healthcare providers to meet with patients over video calls, thus eliminating the need for physical presence. This is particularly useful for routine check-ups, follow-up visits, patient education, and management of chronic conditions. 

3. Health Apps and Wearables 

Apps and wearables are also playing a critical role in enhancing patient engagement. These tools can track health data, manage medication schedules, provide educational resources, and enable peer support through social networking features. Patients can share their data with providers, facilitating more informed discussions and decisions. 

Use of Wearable Technology in Patient Engagement 

Wearable technology is quickly transforming the healthcare landscape, becoming a game changer in patient engagement. These nifty devices enhance patient participation in their health management and improve communication between patients and healthcare providers. Let's delve deeper into how wearables encourage patients to participate in their own health management actively. 

Health Tracking and Data Sharing 

The most significant contribution of wearable technology to patient engagement is health tracking. Devices like Fitbits, Apple Watches, or specialized medical wearables can monitor vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels, among others. This real-time tracking encourages patients to be proactive about their health, leading to improved outcomes. 

Continuous health tracking allows patients to understand their health better, encouraging active participation and responsible behavior towards their well-being.

Moreover, patients can share this data directly with their healthcare providers. This facilitates informed discussions and decisions, enhancing the overall quality of care. 

Promoting Medication Adherence 

Another crucial aspect is the role of wearable technology in enhancing medication adherence. Several wearable devices have features that remind patients to take their medication on time. This ensures consistency and enables healthcare providers to monitor patients' adherence to their medication schedules. 

By providing reminders and alerts, wearable technology helps patients stick to their medication regimen, significantly improving treatment effectiveness.

Education and Peer Support 

Lastly, wearables often connect to apps that provide educational resources, which can help patients understand their health conditions. In addition, the social networking features of these apps can provide peer support, which is crucial in chronic health management. This communal support can significantly impact patient engagement and therapy adherence. 

Patient engagement is not just about individual actions; it also involves building a supportive community that encourages healthy behaviors.

4. Social Media 

Finally, let's not underestimate the power of social media. Social media platforms can be a powerful tool for healthcare practices to engage patients. Sharing informational posts, health tips, and patient testimonials can build a community around your practice, fostering a sense of belonging and active participation in patients. It's also a space for patients to share their experiences and interact with their healthcare providers in a more relaxed environment.

5. Automated Patient Reminders 

Reminder systems automate reminding patients about their appointments, medication, or preventive care. Automation reduces administrative tasks for the staff and ensures patients stay on top of their care schedule, promoting better engagement. 

6. Interactive Patient Education 

Patients who comprehend their condition and treatment plan are more likely to actively participate in their care. Interactive patient education tools like infographics and animated videos can simplify complex medical terms and procedures, increasing comprehension and engagement. 

By integrating these digital solutions into your practice, you'll be able to engage your patients more effectively. Remember, patient engagement is not just about providing information but also about listening, understanding, and responding to patient needs and preferences.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Patient Engagement Solutions

Choosing the right patient engagement solution for your healthcare practice involves careful consideration. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation. Your choice should align with your practice's unique needs, patient demographics, and existing systems. 

Understanding Your Patient Demographic: Every patient population is different. Some may prefer digital interactions, while others might be more comfortable with traditional communication methods. Understand your patients' preferences and choose a solution that caters to their needs. 

Integration with Existing Systems: The patient engagement solution you choose must integrate seamlessly with your practice's existing systems. This means it should work with your electronic health records (EHR), billing systems, and other operational tools. 

Functionality: Look for a platform that offers a wide range of functionalities. Essential features might include appointment reminders, patient education materials, prescription refill requests, and secure messaging. 

Usability: The platform should be user-friendly for both your staff and patients. A complex system can lead to reduced usage and decreased patient engagement. 

Cost: Finally, consider the cost. While investing in a robust system is important, it should also fall within your budget. Look for a solution that offers a good balance between cost and features. 

Every healthcare practice is unique, and the 'best' patient engagement solution will vary. Consider these factors to ensure you make an informed decision that benefits both your practice and your patients.

Measuring the Success of Your Patient Engagement Efforts

Assessing the effectiveness of your patient engagement strategies is paramount to ensuring continued success and improvement. This measurement isn't just about crunching numbers but about understanding the impact of your efforts on patient health outcomes, satisfaction, and practice productivity. 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are crucial in measuring patient engagement success. These measurable values indicate progress and can help identify areas that need improvement. 

  1. Appointment Attendance: A noticeable increase in patients keeping their appointments is an excellent sign of successful engagement.
  2. Patient Feedback: Positive feedback and high satisfaction scores indicate that your engagement strategies succeed.
  3. Online Interaction: Increased activity on patient portals or practice websites can show higher engagement levels.
  4. Preventive Care Participation: If more patients are participating in preventive care or wellness programs, this indicates greater engagement.

Using Technology for Measurement 

Technology plays a significant role in modern healthcare, and it's no different in measuring patient engagement. Tools like electronic health records (EHRs) and patient portal analytics can provide valuable data for evaluation. 

  • EHRs can track patient interactions and provide insights into appointment attendance and preventive care participation.
  • Patient portal analytics can show how often patients log in, the features they use, and how long they spend on the portal.

Surveys and Feedback 

Finally, don't underestimate the power of directly asking your patients for feedback. Surveys can provide a wealth of information about patient perceptions and experiences, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of your patient engagement effectiveness. 

Remember, patient engagement isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Continually measuring and adjusting your strategies based on feedback and data will ensure that you keep your patients at the heart of your practice.

What are some patient engagement trends to watch for in the future?

Advancements in technology and evolving patient needs mean the patient engagement landscape is always changing. Let's look at some trends that are set to revolutionize patient engagement in the future. 

1. Telemedicine 

Telemedicine is not just a pandemic-induced trend; it's the future of healthcare. It allows patients to receive care from the comfort of their homes, thereby increasing engagement and convenience. 

2. Mobile Health Applications 

Mobile health applications are a one-stop shop for patient needs, from appointment reminders to health tips to test results. Their easy accessibility and usage can significantly boost patient interaction. 

3. Wearable Technology 

Wearable devices that monitor health metrics are on the rise. Not only do they provide real-time data to healthcare providers, they also encourage patients to actively participate in their own health management. 

4. Personalized Patient Communication 

With the digital revolution, patient communication is becoming more personalized. Practices that cater their communication to individual patient needs, preferences, and behaviors will likely see increased engagement. 

5. Virtual Reality (VR) in Patient Education 

Imagine making high-level medical information more understandable and engaging with Virtual Reality! This innovative approach to patient education could lead to higher rates of understanding and engagement. 

6. AI and Machine Learning 

AI and machine learning can predict patient behaviors and preferences, allowing for more targeted and effective engagement strategies. This could be a game-changer in terms of maintaining and improving patient relationships. 

As providers adapt to these trends, they will find more ways to engage patients and improve the healthcare experience.

Top 5 Steps for Small Practices to improve patient experience and stay compliant

Any small practice that desires to meet regulatory requirements and stay responsive and competitive in today’s healthcare world should think about making patient engagement one of its top priorities.

A Black Book Market Research survey reported that 92% of its 650 respondents said improving customer experience should be the top goal when deploying digital health tools. The respondents, almost half of whom identified themselves as millennials, have high expectations of the technology offered by their healthcare providers, such as:

Organizations need to pay attention to these expectations. The consumer survey also showed that 90% of the respondents feel no obligation to stay with a provider who does not offer a satisfactory digital experience.

Here are five steps that you can implement to start on this path:

  1. Begin facilitating an organizational mindset and culture that supports patient engagement by initiating discussions with various stakeholders.
  2. Engage your team in creating a clear vision and plan for patient engagement.
  3. Solicit input from your existing patients and staff so patient engagement policies and procedures are created in partnership.
  4. Consider technology solutions that can be used to support and streamline your processes to help transition your organization more smoothly to a more patient-centric and patient-engaged model. A seamlessly integrated portal that comes as part of your EMR package may remove much of the friction brought about by change. An easy transition helps patients and staff adjust more easily to new workflows.
  5. Demonstrate and model a commitment to increasingly involving and partnering with patients in their care and work with the healthcare team and patients in identifying and celebrating milestones along the way to your goal.

The future of patient engagement is exciting, with the potential to change the current dynamic of the healthcare system.

Topics: Provider/Physician, Consultant

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