3 Digital Solutions That Can Help Increase Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is vital to improving healthcare outcomes, especially within value-based care. But limited access to care teams or a general lack of awareness of resources can prohibit communication between patients and their providers.
Additionally, with approximately 57 million Americans living in rural communities, care access can be challenging. Travel distances are commonly the most significant barrier, with many facilities being located far from where people live. This is according to a study published by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
This disconnect can fuel fairly preventable missteps, such as medication nonadherence.
If patients are disengaged from their care, they’re more likely to ignore a provider’s recommendations regarding the medication they’ve been prescribed. This habit affects between 40 to 50% of patients who receive prescriptions for chronic diseases. It can result in about $100 billion in medical costs annually.
To improve patient engagement, some providers have turned to digital tools, such as patient portals or care coordination software. But how exactly do such tools increase engagement?
At ThoroughCare, we’ve helped more than 600 clinics and physician practices implement digital solutions to more effectively engage their patients. Our care coordination software supports multiple care management programs that facilitate remote access to clinical teams and provide real-time medical information.
This article will highlight a few digital solutions for patient engagement and cover how each tool can help increase patient engagement.
Which Digital Tools Can Engage Patients? And How?
Several digital solutions for engaging patients are available to providers.
Below, we’ll quickly review three go-to options that connect physicians to those they help. We’ll also offer a patient use case for each solution.
1. Patient Portals
A patient portal is a secure website where someone can view their health information, 24/7.
Their use by providers and healthcare organizations has become more common. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, approximately 40 percent of patients offered access to a portal in 2020 used one.
Patient portals can present a variety of information. This includes:
- Lab results
- Recent doctor visits
- Discharge summaries
Some portals also support additional features for patients, such as the ability to message their doctor, request prescription refills, and view educational content.
Patient Portals Are a Direct Line to One’s Medical Information
The description above implies how your patient could use a portal to engage their care team.
Having secure web access to medical records or the ability to schedule their own appointments lends your patient significant autonomy. Without having to navigate phone calls, or needing to travel to an office for a simple update, patients can use secure web portals to control how and when they engage.
According to a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the use of this tool can influence patient satisfaction by generating self-awareness of one’s health. Patient portals can help remove the unnecessary barriers that drag down the care experience.
2. Care Coordination Software
Care coordination software is a digital tool used by home health agencies, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and physician practices to coordinate various types of patient services. These can include care management programs, such as Chronic Care Management (CCM), or remote vital tracking through Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM).
Care coordination solutions can also help support a practice’s workflow by automating specific tasks or identifying inefficiencies through data analytics. Differing from patient portals, this tool is used by clinical staff as a means to engage those they serve.
It can be a powerful resource when used strategically.
Care Coordination Solutions Can Engage Patients in Active Disease Management
Approximately 75 million Americans live with two or more chronic illnesses. Many of these people have likely discussed such conditions with their doctors, but how many are actively managing them?
CCM provides a means for your clinical team to regularly engage with patients, guiding them through chronic disease management, without requiring their in-office presence. Much of the program can be offered over the phone or through telehealth solutions.
According to the Journal of General Internal Medicine, patients reported several benefits from CCM participation. For instance, CCM is reported to have improved access to patients’ primary care teams and strengthened their continuity of care.
Care coordination software can enable your practice to efficiently provide this service, connecting your patients to a care management solution that’s shown to be effective.
3. Mobile Apps
Smartphone applications support multiple ways for patients to engage in their healthcare, on the go. These can include telehealth tools, chat features that connect to care teams, and resources to enable greater self-care.
Apps can vary by how they’re optimized.
Some mobile patient tools focus on urgent care, while others may revolve around outpatient needs. For engagement metrics, a simple app, designed well, can be a lifeline.
According to a study published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a mobile app that was created to connect with asthma patients reported strong participation rates. Approximately 92 percent of users were diligent in self-documenting outcomes throughout a clinical study.
Mobile Patient Apps Help Expand Telehealth Access
The COVID-19 pandemic sent telehealth mainstream.
Now, there’s some expectation from patients to have access to it, pandemic or not. A survey of 1,000 patients conducted by Kyruus Research found a high rate of approval for virtual health visits. Approximately 75 percent of this sample population reported feeling “overwhelmingly satisfied” by the experience.
Mobile apps support an IT infrastructure for telehealth services.
By adopting such a tool, your practice can align with the trend and innovate the care experience you offer. This can open doors for how you engage patients, as well as how you build relationships.
If anything, telehealth through mobile applications can eliminate geographic barriers to medicine. The patient suddenly has you in their pocket, not miles and miles away.
ThoroughCare’s Care Coordination Solution
Digital software solutions are available to help your practice embrace integrated, coordinated care. At ThoroughCare, we’ve designed our care coordination software for easy clinical use with an intuitive interface that allows you and your team to engage patients through multiple care management and wellness programs.
We offer extensive training opportunities and learning resources. Our tech support team is readily available, and we integrate with several of the leading EHR providers. Our software modules are designed exactly to federal rules and regulations, and they’re easy to use and understand.