How to Implement an Effective Patient Engagement Strategy for Your Practice
Whether you’re a plastic surgery clinic, dental office, or primary physician clinic, all medical practices have the same goal — to improve the health and lives of patients.
At the heart of quality healthcare is effective patient engagement strategies. However, the implementation of these strategies is not always easy.
In this guide, we will share ten patient engagement strategies you can put into practice to improve patient outcomes and elevate the success of your medical practice.
Flexbase: The Card That Helps You Manage Cash Flow
Patient engagement strategies are just one way to help increase revenue and cash flow for your medical practice.
The Flexbase card makes an excellent addition to your medical practice’s cash flow strategy by providing the following benefits:
- 10x the credit limit compared to traditional credit cards
- 0% interest for 60 days
- 0 annual fees
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What Is a Patient Engagement Strategy?
Patient engagement is a cornerstone of providing quality healthcare. When patients are engaged in their health management, they are more likely to understand their condition and take proactive steps to improve their health.
Patient engagement strategies help encourage patients to:
- Understand and learn more about their condition
- Willingly participate in their care decisions and processes
- Collaborate with healthcare providers
- Navigate the healthcare system
- And more
4 Reasons Why Patient Engagement Strategies Are Important
#1: Patient Satisfaction and Retention
Patient satisfaction is a no-brainer.
When patients feel happy, heard, and respected by healthcare providers that give them a say-so in their treatment, they tend to be more engaged. Satisfied, engaged patients are more likely to stay loyal to a healthcare provider.
#2: Improved Patient Outcomes
Patients that are engaged in their health care tend to make more positive actions in managing their health.
Engaged patients can be more aware of their condition and notice changes and new developing symptoms earlier so they can seek treatment before it becomes a bigger issue.
#3: Reduces Waste and Potentially Preventable Readmissions (PPR)
Flyers. Pamphlets. Aftercare instructions. All of these resources are merely pieces of paper that an unengaged patient will throw away without a glance. Failure to read these resources can result in potentially preventable readmissions.
Taking the time to encourage patients to engage in their healthcare can motivate patients to actually read and utilize these helpful resources and prevent avoidable hospital admissions or health decline.
#4: Reduces Overall Costs
While quality patient care requires more time to manage, it’s a worthy investment in reducing overall costs.
Engaged patients stay on top of their health care. They are more likely to show up for their appointments and regularly schedule follow-up appointments.
Studies show that disengaged patients are three times more likely to have unmet medical needs and are two times more likely to delay care. This is a lose-lose situation for patients and your medical practice. Disengaged patients can end up with more unchecked health issues that can progress into larger problems. Your medical clinic ends up spending more time treating preventable declines in patient health.
8 Patient Engagement Strategies for Every Practice: Advice From Real Medical Offices
#1: Use Collaborative Technology
Patient engagement can be time-intensive. To help increase efficiency, consider using collaborative technology that can help automate patient engagement, such as:
- Patient portals
- Mobile health apps; and
- Chat boxes
“The use of collaborative technology can build better doctor-patient relationships,” Dr. Michael May, medical director of Wimpole Clinic shared, “This tool allows doctors to communicate treatment plans quickly and make patients actively involved in tracking their progress. Ultimately, this strategy enables healthcare providers to deliver excellent quality care for their patients and achieve better treatment outcomes.”
Many healthcare providers worry that collaborative technology is too far removed from the “human” aspect of in-person patient engagement. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown that collaborative technology is just as effective as in-person patient engagement and can improve the effectiveness of aftercare for patients.
#2: Identify Patients Through Segmentation
Successful patient engagement strategies make it a priority to focus on patients individually. What works well for one patient may not work well for another.
Segmenting patients by …
- Psychographics; and
- Social determinants of health (SDOH)
… can help identify successful patient engagement strategies to implement for a given patient.
#3: Start Engagement Before Patient Visit
Patient engagement should be implemented well before a patient makes it to your appointment check-in desk. Some pre-visit engagement strategies include:
- Printable intake forms
- Clinical reminders; and
- Appointment reminders
These types of engagement can help decrease patient no-shows and increase patient comfort. For example, patients may feel more comfortable and open on their intake forms when they can complete them in the privacy of their own home vs. the office waiting room.
This is also beneficial to the clinic, as filling out intake forms in advance can streamline the intake process and increase patient satisfaction.
#4: Focus Engagement on Patient Wants and Needs
Prioritizing patient wants and needs is a great way to improve patient engagement and overall satisfaction.
“The power of listening separates our ability to service clients more completely versus merely getting them in and out the door,” Dr. Nadir Qazi, owner of Qazi Clinic, shared, “Understanding clients wants, desires, and problems is vital in creating a memorable and life-changing experience. I focus on creating an environment where patients feel safe, heard, and valued. This helps them open up to me better and builds a trusting bond. When I can understand my client's problems better, I can demonstrate compassion for them as human beings.”
#5: Personalize Every Patient Visit
Treating patients as individuals can help make them feel heard and respected, which increases patient engagement.
“We always take time to know our clients personally instead of just moving straight to the transaction,” Dr. Michael K. Newman, CEO and plastic surgeon shares, “We pride ourselves with our boutique service, and we don’t just say that to sound cool and sophisticated. We have a strict protocol when it comes to dealing with patients. We know each patient by name, ask them how their day went, and engage in small talk with them, but only if they’re up to it, of course. We want them to feel at home within our clinic. I believe it is one of the reasons why our customers trust us so much that they always recommend us to their family and friends.”
#6: Share the Decision-Making With the Patient
Shared decision-making is not often a patient engagement strategy that is widely received in the healthcare industry. However, studies have shown that shared decision-making can reduce hospital admissions and help achieve greater patient outcomes.
Shared decision-making involves allowing the patient to provide input and make decisions on testing, treatment options, and treatment care plans. While this strategy takes time and a lot of patient education to implement, it can greatly impact patient satisfaction and ultimately, patient retention.
#7: Educate Your Patients On Their Health and Care
Education is a powerful engagement strategy that can have incredible patient outcomes. For example, one study showed that 67% of patients who received educational support were compliant with their treatment plan. In addition to compliance, these patients were found to:
- Be more satisfied with their treatment
- Be more communicable with their physicians; and
- Have better patient care outcomes and improved health behaviors
Education is another patient engagement strategy that requires more time to implement but the results for both the patient and your medical practice are worth it.
#8: Minimize Barriers Through Virtual Care
Many patients with disabilities and chronic conditions struggle with overcoming barriers that make in-person care a challenge, including:
- Lack of reliable transportation
- Lack of proximity to medical clinics
- Anxiety from social interactions
- And more
Many of these reasons contribute to why 14% of patients suffering from chronic illnesses feel they do not receive adequate care management.
Virtual care can help minimize barriers and increase patient engagement by providing patient support through consistent, meaningful interactions. A virtual solution can allow patients to:
- Access their care team
- Participate in personalized care plans; and
- Access helpful technology solutions such as digital patient in-take forms
- And more
Flexbase Offers a Cash Flow Solution to Medical Practices So Doctors Can Focus on What Matters — Patient Engagement
While highly effective in increasing patient retention and consistent appointment schedules, patient engagement strategies can require more time to implement. More time spent with each patient can cause imbalances in your cash flow, as fewer appointments can be booked daily to ensure patients are receiving the proper attention, education, and care.
This is where the Flexbase card can help support your patient engagement implementation. Use the Flexbase card to float expenses while you re-organize your daily appointment schedule.
With the Flexbase card, you have access to capital designed to meet the needs of your medical practice by offering 10x the credit limit than traditional credit cards. With 0% interest for 60 days, you can rest assured that you have more time to pay off your balance without incurring interest.
Focus on what you do best — increasing patient engagement — while Flexbase helps you balance your cash flow.