September 27, 2023

patient engagement

We reside in a world during which the affected person is empowered like by no means earlier than.

Consider how your interactions with the manufacturers you’re keen on are totally different from 20 years in the past throughout nearly each sector, from leisure to transportation. We count on on-demand  companies on the contact of a button – how we would like it, once we need it.

But clearly, the healthcare sector is lagging behind, particularly in regard to placing the affected person on the heart of the expertise and empowering them with straightforward and seamless methods to get the knowledge and companies they want. Even one thing so simple as getting take a look at outcomes is a transparent instance of unnecessary frustration. Many people (we’re all sufferers!) have probably skilled a state of affairs that goes like this: we go for a medical take a look at; the outcomes are despatched to us electronically through a affected person portal – a portal supposed to facilitate higher transparency, empower sufferers, and enhance healthcare effectivity.  However we have now entry to the outcomes even earlier than having the ability to communicate to our physician, leaving us to anxiously (mis)interpret one thing we would not perceive.  Whereas the outcomes are simply accessible, the general expertise is needlessly stress-inducing.

The knowledge offered and housed digitally absolutely gives a possibility to raised gather and consolidate well being knowledge. This portability is a giant step in the best course. However we’re lacking the chance for higher worth once we lack significant perception into a lot of a very powerful true benchmarks of affected person engagement, resembling an enabling expertise that helps the sufferers’ means to self-manage their total well being and wellness, in addition to their relationship with the healthcare suppliers.

We’ve seen firsthand that the trade typically takes an “inside-out” method to affected person engagement. As an alternative of prioritizing the wants and views of sufferers first, healthcare entities concentrate on what matches inside their current processes, workflows, and programs. This shortly leads to a affected person expertise that leaves many people pissed off. For instance, although digital portals are being adopted, we nonetheless should fill out paper varieties within the workplace, which is inconvenient and outdated. Or take into account all of the factors of friction we encounter; digital portals aren’t at all times built-in throughout totally different workplaces, making it troublesome for individuals with a number of well being situations requiring totally different medical doctors to obtain coordinated care.

The digital divide in healthcare additionally exacerbates the issue, as many sufferers don’t use or have entry to expertise, particularly in rural communities, and are left at an obstacle.

The necessity for elementary change is evident. It’s essential for the healthcare trade to undertake a extra patient-centric method, placing the wants of sufferers on the forefront of any decision-making course of.

Embracing a patient-centric method

In an effort to raised help improved affected person engagement, we should shift our perspective to a patient-centric understanding of how individuals handle power well being challenges on a real-world every day foundation (taking an outside-in perspective). This method emphasizes the significance of appreciating the “affected person” as an individual first, what their holistic wants are, what works for them in managing their day-to-day, and the way they wish to have interaction vs. how the system desires them to interact.

For instance, a supplier or nurse might have their very own perspective or skilled bias associated to what they suppose the person wants based mostly on the remedy protocol for a sure situation or sickness. Nonetheless, for the affected person, their situation is simply one of many many issues they’re managing of their on a regular basis life. Due to this fact, you will need to work with the affected person to grasp extra conveniently combine a really helpful course of remedy into their every day routine and total way of life to be able to enhance the result.

To make this occur, the healthcare system wants to regulate the present methods of working during which procedures and options are designed from a enterprise want standpoint relatively than from a buyer or affected person use or expertise standpoint.  They should keep in mind the truth that a digital divide nonetheless exists with many individuals who might not have entry to expertise or smartphones.  These people (together with those that do have entry to expertise) may have or choose reside human interplay through the cellphone vs. being pushed to a portal.  Choices should be made out there to satisfy the wants of the affected person preferences.


There are lots of tech and digital interventions that may facilitate improved healthcare engagement – doctor-patient communication, correct private digital well being data, and total administrative efficiencies. Nonetheless, to ship the best worth, these instruments and platforms should be designed for the human consumer first and never the technological functionality.

We actually want engagement experiences which might be arrange with an “outside-in” perspective during which we rigorously assess each program, process, and observe from the standpoint of a buyer who wants choices for his or her care, deserves the dignity of being handled as a person, and who’s in search of readability within the face of what could be a scary and intimidating course of.

One promising instance may be seen in HeartSafe Motherhood, a number one intervention developed on the College of Pennsylvania. This initiative leverages textual content messaging for postpartum blood stress monitoring, permitting sufferers to trace their blood stress from residence and talk with their care staff with out visiting the physician’s workplace—a major comfort when contemplating life with a new child! This system has been proven to scale back readmissions and morbidity by 80% – a testomony to how the brand new instruments at our fingertips can facilitate high quality care and enhance well being outcomes

We have to maintain this outside-in, patient-centric mentality in thoughts as we proceed to use expertise within the healthcare house.  Consider the brand new potentialities for affected person engagement because the metaverse—which is primarily centered on enhanced experiences– grows in maturity. We stand on the point of what might be a wholly new dimension of improved healthcare experiences. However we should get it proper by guaranteeing that new experiences are designed from the affected person’s wants and perspective first.

This shift gained’t occur in a single day, and it gained’t be straightforward. However by prioritizing and understanding affected person wants and preferences, we will construct higher engagement channels and platforms that ship higher worth for each the affected person and the system and finally enhance well being outcomes.

Picture: mathisworks, Getty Photos