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4 Reasons Why Digital Patient Engagement is the Future of Healthcare

Among the top ways to establish great communication with patients in the modern era of pharma, there is digital patient engagement. No longer a distant dream, digital patient engagement is a reality for payers and providers who aim to create better experiences for patients.

Here are some of the top reasons why digital patient engagement is important and why it will continue to be relevant in the times to come.

Patients expect digital engagement

Whether we like it or not, we live in an instant era. Watching the latest movie, ordering food, or getting directions to the nearest bar can all be done from a phone, and patients are expecting the same capabilities from their healthcare providers.

As it turns out, 54% of patients want to use their phones to communicate with their healthcare providers. Moreover, they’re using this information to make choices regarding their health. According to research, 79% of patients are more likely to select a healthcare provider that allows them to manage their healthcare information online or using a phone.

There’s emerging marketing for healthcare – millennials, and since they’re an internet-first generation, their demands are even higher. According to Salesforce, 60% of millennials actually prefer telehealth to office visits.

Across the board, patients are putting more emphasis on digital engagement and those healthcare providers who don’t catch up are at risk of being drowned by the competition.

They will be the best way to connect with millennials

At the moment of writing, millennials are the largest population. Defined as people in the age range between 21 and 37, they will continue to be the biggest population group all the way until 2050, as older generations size down.

It’s up to healthcare providers to use digital patient engagement technologies to communicate with millennials, as they have a set of defining features that set them apart from other generations.

Firstly, they rely on technology quite a lot. According to research by Warwick University, they use various digital clinical communications channels such as email and apps anywhere from 45 minutes to 9 hours per day.

Second, they show great interest in their health information and get it from various sources.

Third, if they’re not happy with the care they’ve been provided, millennials are highly likely to seek another health provider.

They improve health literacy

The primary reason digital patient engagement initiatives are utilized is that patients want to stay informed about the course of their treatment. However, there’s more to it – how can patients understand digital patient engagement initiatives if they’re lacking basic health literacy?

One of the most compelling cases for digital patient engagement is that it can improve health literacy, which brings a host of benefits for every stakeholder, from patients, payers, providers, and physicians, and all the way to pharmaceutical companies.

Populations struggling with health literacy the most are usually those living in rural areas, with poor access to health education and living conditions which are not ideal. In order to help these patients out, healthcare providers can establish digital patient engagement channels that make a difference.

Given how widespread the use of smartphones is (about 25% of Americans use their phones to look up health information), this is the ideal platform for digital patient engagement and improving health literacy.

One of the most cost-effective ways to improve health literacy is to educate patients on their diagnosis, disease, and treatment. This can be done through posters, website pages, webinars, or medical explainer videos. Videos in particular are a great solution to explain lots of data in very little time, in a way that patients can access it with their phones easily.

Patient portals are great, but not enough

Patient portals are online resources where patients can have 24-hour access to their health information. These username- and password-protected websites are a great way for patients to access their important information, such as:

–        Lab results

–        Medication information

–        Recent visits

–        Allergy information

As well as many other bits of information. There’s just one thing to note – many healthcare providers use patient portals exclusively. However, they are not enough.

As research has shown, there is no notable correlation between improved health outcomes and the use of patient portals only. In other words, using just patient portals is far from enough for a comprehensive digital patient engagement experience.

Pharma companies are stepping up

Realizing that healthcare providers can’t take care of it all on their own, some pharma companies have made efforts to create digital patient engagement tools that benefit patients and physicians.

Some of the examples are Above MS and MS One to One by Biogen and Genzyme, AZ & Me clinical education programs by AstraZeneca, as well as MyHUMIRA by Abbvie, which is a support program for autoimmune indications.

In other words, even pharma companies have picked up on the importance of digital engagement tools, and they have double the benefit. First, they’re maximizing patient health outcomes. Second, they’re making an impression with physicians, who are more likely to prescribe their products, thanks to the available engagement tools they can show to their patients.

Are you looking for help with digital patient engagement?

The path to engaging patients can be quite arduous if you walk alone. If you want to improve engagement, educate patients and deliver better health outcomes, you need a pharma marketing partner you can trust.

At BlueNovius, we pioneered MedExplainer, a video explainer solution that is ideal for digital patient engagement, no matter the target audience. Using a MedExplainer, you can educate patients about their disease, diagnosis, and treatment, with an explainer video they can access at any time.

If you’re interested in how BlueNovius can help you out, reach out to us today to get started.

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