Most doctors have heard of the concept of engaging a patient in their own health.
But to do this, they need patient engagement solutions that work effectively. The tech world is ripe with ideas of how to automate the patient experience for doctors, and to brings medical services more conveniently to patients.
However true patient engagement solutions hinge on one specific factor: the doctor themselves must be able to seen as a human by the patient. If the doctor is seen as a commodity or as a service provider, the human element is lost.
Rather than focusing specific products or technologies, perhaps it is better to think of patient engagement solutions in three different categories: information resources, communication tools, and automation services.
1) Information Resources
The first category is one that has flourished since the invention of the internet. Today, more than 65% of people have searched for medical symptoms online before visiting a doctor. Many more continue to research medical treatment solutions after a diagnosis.
For this reason, it can make sense to provide your patients with the tools that need directly insider your medical office.
Whether you do this through something as simple as recommending a trusted medical information website, or even a wiki, this can hep patents to learn more and become more engaged in their own health. It may also be advisable to let patients know that online symptom checkers can be inaccurate and to consult with your office if they have concerns.
The more information a patient has at their disposal, the more they will own their health challenges and make an effort to change. So take the time to refer them to accurate sources, or even to create some for yourself if you can.
2) Communication Tools
The second way to engage patients is through convenient connection tools. Today, video calling and text messaging is just a part of how we live. Through services such as telemedicine, and online communication via text or email, you can create simple touch points with your patients, even at a distance.
Be conscious with these tools that HIPAA compliance can be an issue, and that platforms such as Skype or FaceTime may not be accurate. It is important when using these sorts of patient engagement solutions that they are privacy compliant.
3) Automation Technology
The big buzz in the healthcare technology world today is looking for ways to reduce time wasted and to automate tasks. Unfortunately, when it comes to patient engagement solutions, the use of automation can reduce the feeling of connection.
It is important if you can using online scheduling tools or third-party billing services that they don’t make the patients feel like a number. If a patient feels like they are filling out too many forms, or having to jump through too many hoops, then engagement will suffer.
At the same time, if you can use technology to automate tasks such as validating insurance, or sending patient information, these can help increase the amount of time for face time with a patient.
All patient engagement solutions should do one thing: bring more human connection to the patient-doctor experience. If a patient feels like technology is getting in the way, they will tune out anything the doctor has to say. But if the patient feels that the doctor is focussed first on them, and their health, this can create a partnership that results in better health outcomes.