HCPs are the ones we all turn to when we have a medical problem. But there are only so many doctors can do. For long-lasting effects, it’s important for patients to engage and take care of their own health. Meaningful patient engagement lowers costs and improves patient outcomes.
It increases adherence and lowers the risk of readmission. That’s why patient engagement is one of the priorities for HCPs worldwide.
And the best way to boost patient engagement is through patient education. Patients who know more about their condition are more likely to take their medication. Furthermore, they’re also more likely to go to follow-up appointments and ask important questions about their diseases.
But different people prefer different types of education. And it’s not always easy to find the right approach. There are a few elements, however, that are certain to make your patient engagement education strategy a success.
And they are quite easy to implement.
Access patient health literacy
This is the very first step every HCP has to take before they even start to educate their patients. Low health literacy means that your patients can’t understand even the basic health info. Which means that they can’t make informed decisions.
If patients suffer from low health literacy, many educational materials you give them will be useless. That’s why you should make sure to measure health literacy of your patients before starting a conversation.
Use teach-back technique
Teach-back technique is used by physicians worldwide to effectively educate their patients. It’s easy, efficient and should be used in every patient engagement strategy. Here’s how it goes.
First, HCPs explain important concepts and procedures to patients. Then they ask patients to repeat everything in their own words. That way physicians can see if patients remembered everything they said the right way.
Teach-back method leads to better understanding and shared decision-making. And it’s a necessary part of every patient engagement strategy.
Educate the way patients prefer to be educated
There are many tools physicians can use to improve patient education. From paper brochures to medical videos and online portals. To determine which one is the most effective, physicians must work closely with patients. And find out their preferences.
Some people like talking to a 24 hours call center. Others prefer email communication. A successful patient engagement strategy must ensure that patients are getting the help they need.
In a way that works best for them. Otherwise, they may be discouraged to adhere.
Availability is a must
Many patients lead busy lives despite their illness. Especially patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension.
That’s why patients have to get the education they need in their own time. All patient education materials must be made available on every device. On computers, tablets, smartphones and of course paper – for those who do not use computers.
Also, patient engagement materials have to be available to patient anytime. They should be able to access it whenever it works for them. In the morning, throughout the day or late at night. Different patients have different schedules.
And a good patient engagement strategy has to be able to fit into every one of them.
Patient engagement materials also have to be available for viewing multiple times. That way patients can go back to them if they forget something or need additional support.
Additionally, patients should be able to share materials with people important to them. And those involved in their medical care.
Measure the outcomes
Every patient engagement program is created with a mission. And the missions can be different. You can try to enhance long-term patient adherence or their overall quality of life.
Or improve patient experience of care or reduce the cost of healthcare. But no matter what you do, you should always make sure to measure your results.
Keeping an eye on your results will show you the benefit of the program, but also improvements that have to be made.
Hope this post gave you a few ideas about how to organize your patient engagement strategies. Remember, even the best medical care out there can be useless if it fails to engage the patients. And provides them the data and the support they need.
So make sure to add these elements to your patient engagement strategy ASAP.
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