Patients are at the heart of your practice. They’re the ones who come to you with their health concerns and trust that you’ll help them figure out what’s wrong and how to get better. But when it comes to patient engagement, there’s a big difference between good and great. Good is keeping up with industry best practices for engaging patients through methods like one-on-one digital check-ins and social media campaigns. Great is being so engaged with your patients that they feel heard and empowered throughout every step of their treatment plan—from diagnosis, through to recovery and beyond.
Acknowledge patient concerns
The second step is to acknowledge patient concerns. This is a very important part of the conversation, as it validates that you are listening and hearing them. You can say something like “I understand what you’re saying” or “I hear how important this issue is to you.” This shows patients that they are being heard and understood by a person who genuinely cares about their well-being.
The third step is to empathise with the patient’s feelings and point of view. When addressing an issue with a patient, it’s important not only that you listen but also that you understand where they’re coming from before offering any advice or recommendations for action. You can show empathy by saying something like: “It must be frustrating when this happens.”
The fourth step involves offering suggestions on how best to solve the problem at hand—but only after demonstrating empathy and listening intently first!
- Build trust.
Patients expect healthcare providers to put their needs first. They want to feel heard, understood and respected. This means that you need to be empathetic in your approach, create a safe environment for them by being honest and transparent about what can and cannot be done for them medically, as well as clarify any expectations or boundaries you have around treatment options (such as how often you do physical therapy). This can go a long way in helping build trust with your patients so they know it’s okay for them to ask questions.
Empower patients with education and resources
To empower patients with education and resources, you can:
- Give them information about their condition and treatment. Patients are more likely to adhere when they understand the purpose of their treatments, why they should be following them, and how doing so will affect their health.
- Educate patients on ways to manage their condition more effectively. For example, if a patient is suffering from diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), they may benefit from learning how diet modification can help lower risk factors associated with these conditions.
- Provide patients with resources that will help them manage their condition on an ongoing basis. This could include access to apps or tools designed for self-management like wearables that track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure levels over time to ensure they’re staying within normal ranges. You can also provide educational materials such as pamphlets or videos explaining different aspects of managing their condition such as symptoms management techniques, which may help reduce anxiety associated with chronic illness management tasks.
Implement digital technology such as telehealth and a patient portal
While telehealth is not a new concept, it is growing in popularity among healthcare providers. Telehealth has the potential to be a valuable tool for managing patients’ health and medication management from home or at work. You can also utilise the latest in medical management software, ensuring that the customers and staff are well looked after.
- Remote monitoring and diagnosis: Remote monitoring allows patients to receive care from their own homes instead of having to go into the clinic for every appointment.
- Patient engagement: Telemedicine allows patients to have more control over their own health management by giving them access to their medical records. The ability for people who live far away from providers who specialise in treating certain conditions means no longer relying on third-party assistance during stressful situations such as surgeries!
- Patient portals enable patients to access appointments and make them any time, day or night. From here, they can also access their current scripts, referrals, results, medical certificates and more. Being able to access this information independently rather than depending solely on the practitioner, enables patients to be more independent and proactive when it comes to their healthcare.
Formulate a patient engagement plan
Take a moment to evaluate your goals and objectives.
- What is the clinic’s vision?
- How does the clinic’s mission support this vision?
- What are some of the obstacles to achieving this vision that you have identified in your clinical practice so far?
Once you have assessed these three areas, create a plan for patient engagement that is simple and clear. This plan should reflect your clinic’s mission, vision, core values and patient-first philosophy. It should also include an outline of how you will systematically engage patients in their care so they feel more involved with their treatment experience at the clinic.
Regularly assess and adjust treatment plans
- The first step is to create an environment that encourages patient engagement. This means being open to new ideas and feedback, flexible in your approach, and patient-centric.
- Next, regularly assess and adjust treatment plans as needed. Patients with chronic pain often have difficulty communicating their symptoms because of the discomfort associated with them—so it is important that you ask specific questions about what they’re experiencing in order to understand their condition more fully.
- Finally, once you have made adjustments based on what you’ve learned from patients’ responses, keep track of this ongoing process by creating a regular schedule for what kinds of questions or information should be gathered at specific intervals throughout treatment. Make sure all staff members who interact with patients are aware so they can follow suit.
In your practice, patient engagement can be measured in the following ways:
- Patient satisfaction surveys
- Patient follow-up rates after appointments
- Positive reviews on Google
- The number of patients who are willing to recommend your practice to others
Patient engagement is a joint effort on both your and your patient’s part
Achieving greater patient engagement is a journey, not a destination. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, so too must the ways that patients and providers interact. By implementing these strategies mentioned above, we can improve patient engagement and help all parties involved have an easier time navigating their healthcare experiences.