Physicians and patients alike face increasing pressures with regard to care. Doctors can be pessimistic about their field due to rising demands and over 40% of patients take on health risks due to unclear communication. The main problem is a focus on single encounters between patients and clinicians which contributes to over-spending in healthcare without clear benefits. Patient engagement in healthcare helps by focusing on collaboration among patients, family, clinicians, and staff. In particular, it combines consumer, healthcare, and patient and family engagement through the integration of each across all levels and settings of care. Through the following tips, a patient can take center stage as a full participant in their health, leading to better outcomes and lower costs.
Put Knowledge in Patients’ Hands
Sharing information is the most basic and most important step, and it starts by providing all details needed to make healthcare decisions. Explain the diagnosis using transparent language and specific data, share educational materials, and discuss potential next steps or treatment options. Keeping patients in the loop will help them feel empowered, resulting in better adherence to recommendations and higher rates of behavior change in areas like exercise and diet.
Engage Family in Care
Another key step in patient engagement in healthcare is welcoming family members as active participants in care. In fact, their questions and concerns will help you and your patient ensure productive and meaningful visits. They can also act as advisors or collaborative partners in developing and revising the plan for care. A level of nurturing family involvement will support patient well-being and provide a resource for ample input and feedback.
Listen as a Form of Support
Given that the average generalist conducts around 150,000 interviews over their career, communication is central to engagement. So, begin each visit by inquiring about patient and family needs; then, use open-ended questions and listening behavior like eye contact and body language to engage with patients and family members. During discussions, enable patient memory and clarity by talking at their level, summarizing talking points, clarifying statements, and inviting questions and dialogue. The results speak for themselves, as comprehension and satisfaction increase among patients when doctors lean forward and directly face them.
Target Communication and Care
Marketing is a less obvious step for patient engagement in healthcare, but targeting current and potential customers is essential to establishing trust. In particular, physicians can ensure satisfaction through ongoing content like blogs or newsletters with accurate and timely communication through multiple channels including follow-up and reminder e-mails. A web portal also ensures convenient tracking of visits, treatment, billing, and correspondence with the potential for open records and scheduling, which 82% of patients prefer.
Personalize Medical Care
Another approach is personalized medicine, which frames physicians and patients as partners in care. Although it limits the number of patients and relies on annual dues, this model ensures financial stability for clinicians and easier access to care for patients. In particular, collaboration among clinicians enables greater coordination of care and resulting conveniences for patients like same-day appointments. With better results and patient accountability, personalized medicine has satisfaction rates of 94% among patients and 95% among doctors.
With these tips in mind, patient engagement starts by considering the current state of your practice and how to move forward. Fundamentally, improving the relationship between physicians and patients results in better adherence to care and long-term higher quality of life, with decreased hospital visits, morbidity, and mortality. Ensuring that patients and their families are full participants in healthcare is definitely a powerful shift in the right direction.
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