Patient Engagement Solutions Turn The Dial From Reactive To Proactive Care

The burgeoning shift to more accountable care and the high prevalence of chronic disease demands more proactive — versus reactive — care delivery models. Healthcare organizations and policymakers recognize that patient engagement improvement is a top priority to move this initiative forward. According to an 11-nation survey analysis by The Commonwealth Fund, “Adults with complex healthcare needs who are engaged in their care — whether by self-managing their condition or participating in treatment decisions — report fewer medical errors, rate their care more highly, and hold more positive views of the health system.”

There are many patient engagement solutions on the market, but not all hit the mark. The best patient engagement software opens the digital front door, improves patient care, enhances the provider-patient relationship, boosts patient loyalty, and ultimately drives better clinical outcomes. Sophisticated solutions help increase appointment and medication adherence and long-term treatment plans. By equipping patients with the right information and resources in their time and place of need, patient engagement solutions play a major role in empowering patients to take their health into their own hands.

An effective patient engagement solution must be cloud-based to support proactive engagement at every touchpoint in the patient journey. Healthcare CRM software builds patient engagement automation into a patient management platform most optimally, without the need for replacing a practice management system. AI-powered patient engagement solutions leverage AI to automate patient onboarding, scheduling, billing, and patient education. Additionally, these solutions can automate and reduce the manual work required of staff, alleviating clinician burnout and allowing staff to spend more time with patients — a win for both providers and patients. The end result: Patients are more informed and satisfied with their care.

Your Patient Engagement Strategy Needs An Overhaul

Today, many patient engagement processes are manual, lack flexibility, and require vast amounts of time and resources. These solutions are latent, with inefficiencies costing providers in different ways, including losing patients to referral leakage, experiencing revenue shortfalls, and suffering from increased expenses and workforce shortages. With rising healthcare costs and clinician burnout at a crisis point, providers can no longer afford to neglect their patient engagement strategy. Add in threats from new healthcare entrants such as retail health and other direct-to-consumer models, and providers have no option but to act immediately or flounder amid the rise of consumerism.

Six Must-Have Features To Win In Patient Engagement

The adoption of a patient engagement solution is best achieved when it enhances the provider experience by reducing administrative burdens and optimizing workflows. To help navigate the vast market of patient engagement solutions, we spoke with leading patient engagement vendors and determined six key differentiators. Decision-making stakeholders should invest in a patient engagement solution that:

  • Integrates into the EHR and existing workflows. Finding a patient engagement solution that integrates into your existing electronic health record (EHR) system is critical to building a complete patient profile and supporting health information exchange from multiple sources. This means that the engagement solutions can pull communication preferences, previous medical histories, and other data critical to helping personalize the patient experience. This is a top priority for the typical modern patient, who sees multiple providers across different health systems. Healow’s solution prioritizes patient engagement, offering features such as contactless check-in, pre- and post-appointment surveys, online signature capabilities, HIPAA-compliant telehealth, and a platform to gather data from different EHRs for a more longitudinal view of a patient’s medical history.
  • Includes functionality for engaging with patients. Patient engagement solutions must include functionality to remind and send personalized content to patients per their channel of preference. Personalized content includes reminders to attend or schedule an appointment, watch educational content, or take medication. Encouraging patient adherence to their care plan is the cornerstone for proactive, preventive care. When integrated into the EHR, reminders can rely on patient preferences for certain modalities — email, phone, or SMS messaging. Wolters Kluwer found that reminders that combine modalities achieve the best results. Lirio uses different modalities tailored to patient preference based on the AI’s learning of what is more effective for the person in context. Lirio found that its precision nudging solution boosted vaccination rates after nudging over 500,000.
  • Identifies care gaps and looks to close them. A patient engagement solution that integrates and migrates data from the EHR can flag patients who are overdue for certain actions, like annual checkups. With an increasing elderly and chronically ill population, flagging critical healthcare actions is the epitome of proactive care. Notable’s back-end functionality can identify patients who are overdue for a check-up or a regular preventive appointment such as a mammogram or colonoscopy. The vendor then sends a notification — a nudge — to the patient alerting them that they should take a certain action (for example, scheduling an appointment).
  • Assists with change management to overcome clinician resistance. Providers are most apprehensive when there are concerns that new technology systems will lack flexibility in user preferences, create gaps in patient care, fail to gather the right information, and disrupt established workflows. To overcome this hurdle, Notable establishes champion clinics with its clients. These clinics act as advocates and evangelists within the larger provider organization. The Notable team assigns four people at the onset of the rollout to learn what it calls the “scars and skills,” or the best practices and challenges. These clinics then function as a best-practice example and use case for the larger organization. With the creation of champion clinics, Notable saw a shift from doctors who were “volun-told” that they had to do something to later raising their hand to implement the solution.
  • Designs for inclusivity. Patient populations are diverse; therefore, patient engagement solutions and content must be representative of the patient population that healthcare organizations intend to treat. This includes building out content in different languages, representing different ethnicities and races, and eliminating assumptions about technology literacy and access. Wolters Kluwer operationalizes the principle that people are more likely to trust members of thier own social group or community. For example, Wolters Kluwer guides healthcare language toward inclusivity and equity with a tool that can modulate different skin colors and lip tones, as well as create different avatars that champion diversity. The company also features voices from voice actors and actresses of different races and ethnicities for maximum patient reach.
  • Incorporates AI for maximum automation and personalization. Some patient engagement solutions use sophisticated AI to increase personalization and automate steps of traditionally manual workflows. AI-powered patient outreach enables more holistic provider-patient communication over SMS, email, and mobile phone. This speeds up communication, reduces staff administrative burdens, and allows vendors to deliver strategies that overcome barriers to desired behaviors, like affordability, or barriers that are behavior-specific, like needle-phobias. Lirio’s AI-based solution uses reinforcement learning to improve over time. The AI solution autonomously learns to identify patterns in the data that correlate with patient responses, as well as patterns in the responses themselves, to drive effective communication. If the patient doesn’t engage, it acts as a negative reward and the model is then updated to take this new information into account for future decisions.

In 2023, we will be diving deeper into the patient experience by examining the top use cases, challenges, and outcomes associated with patient engagement solutions. If you want to talk to us about your patient experience vision or if you have a solution that improves patient engagement strategy, schedule a call with us — we would love to speak with you!