By Kristin Molina
People taking ownership of their health journey is hardly news. Long gone are the days when patients were passive players in their health experience. Today, technology engages, motivates, and empowers people to take control. Engaged patients are more likely to listen to preventive guidance, ask questions, and seek further information. The benefits for these patients—and for healthcare systems—are immense: improved health outcomes, reduced costs, and better care experiences for both patients and clinicians.
Organizations are increasingly recognizing the value of encouraging people to live their best and healthiest lives. They’re also mindful of financial incentives that are increasingly tied to patient outcomes and quality of care. And they’re responding to both factors with smart, practical, and impactful solutions that can help patients take an active role in their health.
But what role have such engaged patients played in transforming healthcare? And why is this important for the future?
Reacting to a growing patient demand
To successfully engage patients in their care, organizations need to streamline workflows so providers can focus on delivering quality care wherever a patient may be. So, organizations are increasingly looking for tools to automate processes, connect a patient’s care throughout their health journey, bridge gaps between stakeholders across care settings, and deliver actionable insights—all without creating data overload.
Today’s patient engagement solutions allow providers to better manage their populations remotely across acuity levels, conditions, and aspects of general wellness. For example, providers can send regular, automated reminders to patients ahead of their appointments, with instructions on how to prepare and what to expect during a particular consultation. Providers can also remotely gather patient-reported outcomes, allowing patients to update their physicians from home on relevant measurements like weight or temperature. This makes it easier for patients to visualize their current state and treatment progress and share feedback on their care experience. The goal of these solutions is to motivate patients and equip them with information tailored to their care plan, while giving providers the insights they need to make confident, proactive care decisions. By connecting patients directly to their providers across care settings through optimized workflows that address both episodic and chronic care needs, we can improve experiences, advance outcomes, and lower costs.
Health systems are reaping the benefits of involving and engaging their patients. After all, increased compliance with care can go hand in hand with better experiences and outcomes. Consider the ability to engage in timely communication with patients ahead of their appointments. This can lead to greater patient satisfaction, which in turn can result in higher retention and greater revenue opportunities. It can also drive more accurate diagnoses, helping patients start their care journeys sooner and achieve better outcomes. By reducing no-shows and ensuring more patients are properly prepared for their procedures, organizations support operational efficiencies and reduce the administrative burden of rescheduling. In fact, the entire health system may benefit: With the opportunity for staff to focus on delivering care, they, and their patients, have a better experience all around.
A move to virtual care
Technology has played a crucial role in extending geographic reach and creating capacity by load-balancing between in-person and virtual visits as appropriate. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated how we use technology to integrate in-person and virtual care—we no longer have to settle for one or the other. After over two years of living through the pandemic, we’ve seen a notable increase in all types of delivery service models. There’s a new level of expectation around convenience and access to care at a time and place that suits the patient.
To deliver the best care and a superior patient experience, health organizations need to leverage technology to deliver high-quality care in the most appropriate setting for each patient, whether in person or virtually. Through a digital ecosystem, where professionals working in different departments or remotely have actionable insights and reliable data to inform their decision-making, both patients and clinicians can engage in the care journey from beyond the hospital walls.
Meeting patients where they are
As to what’s next, the demand for the best care, at the right time, and in the right setting will endure. Equipping clinicians not only with technology, but with the training and tools to personalize and streamline their care delivery, creates a better experience for patients and staff. It’s a win-win for all involved in the care journey.
Kristin Molina is the business leader for Philips Enterprise Care Collaboration, which aims to enable healthcare organizations to optimize care delivery across care settings through care collaboration and engagement of patients and providers. Molina has extensive global leadership experience in healthcare technology and software, including more than 11 years with Philips.