Studies have shown that healthcare is constantly evolving and changing paradigms, with more empathic clinicians making patients part of their healthcare through informed and shared decisions leading to better patient outcomes.
Patients with higher engagement rates have fewer chances to be readmitted, reducing care costs and increasing patient satisfaction.
What Is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is empowering patients to make informed decisions about their health with their healthcare providers’ support to maximize patient outcomes.
To have engaged patients, they need to be informed of their health situation and understand their treatment recommendations. They also need to have good communication with their healthcare providers and be part of the decision-making, which is essential for patients to believe they have a significant role in their health outcomes.
Why Is Patient Engagement Important for Healthcare Facilities?
Patient engagement (PE) is essential for healthcare facilities because it reduces the chances of patient readmission and healthcare costs. Also, patients have an active role in their care, leading to satisfied patients willing to follow their care plans with more commitment.
Studies have shown some significant statistics on patient engagement. For example, the cost of care in patients with low engagement levels increases by 8% in the first year of care and by 21% in the subsequent year compared with patients with higher engagement levels.
PE also leads to patient satisfaction, less anxiety, and less depression. It improves the quality of healthcare services since engaged patients follow their treatment recommendations. As a result, there are fewer complications, unnecessary visits, and emergency admissions.
Misunderstanding, forgetting, or ignoring treatment recommendations is more likely to happen to patients who are not engaged in their medical treatment, which can put 40% of patients at risk.
Most healthcare facilities (76%) believe they have good communication channels to connect with their patients. Yet, only 54% of patients believe they have good communication with their doctors’ offices.
With PE, patients will have more care for their health, which improves their long-term health since engaged patients make better decisions regarding diets, exercise, or whatever maintains them healthy. Also, being more aware of their health, patients are more likely to catch diseases in earlier stages, making their treatment easier or with better outcomes.
There is a big gap between what patients want and what healthcare facilities provide. So it is crucial to take action toward better patient engagement to increase patient satisfaction and reduce the economic burden that non-compliant patients can cost healthcare facilities.
Strategies for Better Patient Engagement Outcomes
Certain strategies are needed to achieve better engagement outcomes, and we will mention them in the following list.
Usage of Technology
It is vital to make information accessible, easy to understand, and shareable. With different apps in the market, healthcare facilities can share information about their patient’s care, treatment goals, and advances. Also, facilities benefit from these technologies since they can access patient records at any moment and know what’s next in the patient’s treatment.
Another advantage is that technology brings healthcare closer to patients since they can access telehealth, making it possible to talk with their healthcare providers live via video chats in the comfort of their houses. Also, their healthcare providers can monitor their progress through secure messaging and file exchange.
Empathy As a Core Value
According to the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, facilities where patients feel treated with compassion, feel that they are important, and think that they are treated with empathy are more likely to take their medication and commit to their treatments.
All patients want to be heard and have a certain autonomy in their care decisions. These aspects empower patients to embrace healthier practices in their lives.
Care doesn’t end when facilities discharge patients, and checkups should continue once in a while to see how patients are doing, if they are following their treatments, and to see if they understood all their care instructions.
Continuous contact between healthcare providers and patients can build a trustable relationship, translating into patients’ commitment to their healthcare and fewer health complications.
Letting patients be part of the decision-making puts them on the same level as the clinicians and makes them responsible for their care. Since patients don’t have the knowledge to make these types of decisions, their healthcare providers must share the information needed to understand which choices are best for them, ultimately giving the patient the right to come to their conclusions and make their own decisions.
As we said above, part of good patient engagement is giving the patients the proper information so they can make shared decisions with their healthcare providers regarding treatment.
This education process takes time and implies costs, but the investment is greatly compensated since hospital readmissions cost Medicare $26 billion annually.
So it is fundamental that clinicians make sure that their patients fully comprehend health situations and treatment instructions. This education reduces patient readmissions and visits to the emergency room by 30%.
How Can Nurses Encourage Greater Patient Engagement?
Nurses work on the frontline with patients, and they are in continuous contact with them. Hence, to have better patient engagement, it is necessary to have excellent nursing engagement so that nurses become loyal to the institution and work with pleasure.
Nursing engagement leads to better healthcare quality and PE. Therefore, facilities need to embrace some strategies to generate nursing engagement, like the following:
Open Communication Channels
Interdisciplinary teams need good communication to address concerns, share feedback, and exchange updates.
Giving constant training to nurses helps them improve their skills and feel valued by the institution.
Balanced Nurse Workload
Overwork can lead to burnout, which translates into lower PE levels since nurses are in direct contact with patients.
Build Team Cohesion
Facilities must create activities to improve teamwork and create strong working relationships among nurses.
Recognition and Rewards
It is necessary to recognize the importance of nurse labor in facilities, and this can be done through awards, positive feedback, and helping nurses to feel valuable.
These strategies, among others, can protect and build strong nurse teams, which are an excellent asset to improve facilities’ patient engagement. In the link below, you can find the importance of nurse-patient communication.