The past two years witnessed many changes in the healthcare system worldwide due to the impacts of COVID-19, especially the involvement of technology in improving patient engagement. It’s time for healthcare providers and organizations to pay more attention to patient engagement and consider how to make it work.
If you have no idea where to start, let’s examine why we need to invest in patient engagement and some trends in 2023.
- What is patient engagement?
- Why is patient engagement important?
- Benefits of patient engagement
- 4 patient engagement trends in 2023
- Final thoughts
What is patient engagement?
First of all, you need to understand what patient engagement is. It means a patient is actively engaged in gathering information and being included in making decisions about their health and treatment.
Doctors and nurses cannot decide on patients’ treatment without their permission, and it’s not enough for patients to be fully aware of their health conditions if their physicians do not provide them with any education. Therefore, both sides must be actively involved to make patient engagement work.
So, why do we need to care about patient engagement? Is it essential that much? Let’s move on!
Why is patient engagement important?
- From patients’ perspective: Patients, like any customers in other sectors, demand more from healthcare services. They expect more initiatives in the decision-making process, education about their health conditions, communication with their physicians, transparency in cost and payment, better facilities during the treatment process, etc. Patients are now starting to weigh their healthcare options like they do when buying things. If your healthcare organization is not paying attention to patient engagement, patients may look for other organizations that better care for them.
- From healthcare providers’ perspective: The best way to retain your patients is to build a trusted relationship with your patients. With good services and a dedicated, caring attitude, there is no way patients go away and look for another to invest in their care.
Benefits of patient engagement
- Encourage patients to engage in their healthcare treatment and choices actively:
Patient engagement includes the information exchange process between physicians and patients. With the knowledge provided by physicians, patients will be more aware of their health conditions and be instructed to improve their health. When patients fully understand their health problems, it will be easier for them to work with physicians.
- Enable healthcare providers to make better decisions:
By collaborating and engaging with patients in decision-making, healthcare providers can make better patient health decisions, improving the patient-provider relationship and overall patient retention.
Now, let’s look through some patient engagement trends predicted to rise in 2023
4 patient engagement trends in 2023
#1 Deeper communication between physicians and patients
The healthcare communication barrier is always one factor that prevents the information exchange process between physicians and patients. Indeed, effective physician-patient communication influences health outcomes by increasing patient satisfaction, leading to greater patient understanding of health problems and available treatment. Good communication will improve adherence to treatment plans and support for patients.
Patients also expect deep connections with their physicians to get more information about their health conditions. However, patients may not know much about healthcare issues, so physicians should find suitable formats to educate their patients. Visualization, such as animation and infographics, can be great tools to empower patient education.
#2 The rise of healthcare consumerism
Healthcare consumerism is one of the new patient trends recently. It refers to patients taking a more significant role in managing and paying for their health. Increased healthcare consumerism means patients invest more in services that help improve their health quality.
To better understand how healthcare consumerism is occurring, let’s take the increasing use of technology in healthcare as an example. Many people spend money on wearable health tracking devices, like smart health watches and fitness trackers, to keep track of their health. The development of these devices allows patients to monitor their health, even at home or office. Health-tech devices have provided patients with data integrated into their medical records. And patients can share with their physicians.
#3 Health equity gets prioritized
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says health equity means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Without it, some groups of people will unjustly experience higher rates of illness and death. Whether you realize it or not, health disparities impact everyone, causing higher illness and death rates and more significant financial strain on communities and the nation.
COVID-19 has focused on the health outcomes inequalities for various patient populations, geographic locations, communities, and individuals. According to a survey of the United Nations, of 10 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines given out worldwide, only 1% have been provided for people in low-income countries. Thus, healthcare organizations must prioritize health equity. They can improve access to public health services by partnering with patients and communities through more effective programs.
#4 Mobile health technology improves patient experience
Mobile health clinics can play an important part and reduce health disparities, especially among vulnerable populations, those with chronic illness, and rural communities without easy access to healthcare facilities. For some people, mobile health clinics are the only means of lifesaving medical treatment.
Overall, it may be said that today, patients have been empowered and expect more excellent health value, better health services, and convenience. Organizations should adapt to changes to meet their patients’ expectations or risk losing them to the competition. Maybe the patient trends mentioned above could give you a hand in improving patient engagement.