The healthcare landscape is transforming and revolutionizing patient-provider interactions. Patients expect active involvement in every facet of their healthcare journey, from the initial consultation to diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
Patients are no longer mere recipients of medical services. They want to engage in shared decision-making. Therefore healthcare sector needs to adopt a more patient-centered approach to care.
Healthcare providers must adapt their practices to ensure transparency, active communication, and patient empowerment. They need to spearhead initiatives that enhance patient engagement. They must employ cutting-edge strategies and seamlessly integrate advanced technology solutions.
One innovative idea to enhance patient engagement is the integration of a nurse call system with smart technology. By using wearable devices or mobile apps, patients can easily communicate with nurses and healthcare providers, providing real-time feedback on their needs and concerns. This not only empowers patients to have more control over their care but also fosters a sense of trust and collaboration between the patient and the healthcare team.
Looking at the current demands of the patients, here are some ways for healthcare leaders to enhance patient engagement.
1: Use digital health tools
Healthcare providers must use all available solutions in this digital and technological age. Mobile apps and telehealth platforms allow patients to connect with their healthcare providers. Patient portals facilitate communication between patients and their healthcare teams.
Portals also allow patients to access their medical records and receive important updates. Patients can track vital signs, log symptoms, set medication reminders, and access educational materials.
So, in addition to enhancing convenience, these tools give patients greater control over their healthcare journey by promoting ownership and engagement.
2: Explore various leadership styles
Healthcare leaders set the tone and provide the framework for fostering a patient-centered culture. The right leadership prioritizes collaboration, open communication, and shared decision-making.
Different situations call for different healthcare leadership styles within the healthcare setting. For instance, transformational leadership inspires and motivates teams to achieve a common vision. Adopting this style can boost your team members to embrace patient-centered care as a core value.
The servant leadership style, on the hand, prioritizes patients’ needs and places them at the center of decision-making. This style helps you focus on listening to patients, seeking their input, and addressing their concerns.
The collaborative leadership style emphasizes on involvement of all stakeholders, including patients, in the decision-making process. Leaders who adopt this style foster a culture of shared decision-making by engaging patients and other healthcare providers in the process. Shared or collaborative decision-making helps with better patient engagement and self-management, which can result in improved health.
3: Use simple language with patients
Healthcare providers frequently use jargon and complicated terminology when communicating with peers and colleagues.
However, such a language is too complex for patients who come to a healthcare faculty in a state of chaos seeking medical help. They must develop a culture where doctors, nurses, and other professionals communicate with patients in simple language.
In addition, also encourage your team to present information in small, digestible chunks. Step-by-step explanations prevent patients from getting overwhelmed with too much information at once.
Using simple language helps break down information barriers between care providers and patients. Plus, it ensures that patients understand their medical conditions, treatment options, and instructions for self-care. By communicating in simple language, healthcare providers empower patients to participate in their healthcare decisions actively.
4: Provide information in multiple formats
Patients cannot participate in their healthcare plans if they don’t understand their condition. Therefore, providing patients with the right information is the key to activating patient engagement.
Delivering information in multiple formats ensures patients receive information that suits their needs. Providing information through various channels and formats is a way to enhance patient understanding and facilitate active involvement.
Healthcare providers can communicate important information through written material, verbal communication, audio-visual aids and infographics, interactive tools, and online resources.
Written materials, such as brochures, pamphlets, and fact sheets, can be easily distributed in waiting rooms, examination rooms, or patient portals. Written materials provide patients with tangible resources they can refer to at their own pace. This mode is valuable for patients preferring to digest information through reading and reference materials.
To ensure proper verbal communication, healthcare providers should communicate information clearly and effectively during face-to-face appointments. They should actively listen to patients’ questions and concerns to tailor their explanations. Verbal communication is ideal for patients who want direct engagement and personalized discussions.
Visual aids and infographics can include diagrams, charts, and illustrations. They help patients grasp concepts and understand relationships between different elements. Visual aids are the best tool for explaining anatomy, treatment processes, or medical conditions.
Lastly, online resources and interactive tools offer patients information and self-engagement opportunities. Educational websites, patient portals, and mobile applications provide comprehensive health information and interactive modules and promote patient engagement.
5: Encourage shared decision making
Shared decision-making refers to active providers-patient collaboration for making healthcare decisions. At the heart of it, this approach acknowledges that patients bring valuable insights about their preferences, values, and unique circumstances. This valuable insight can significantly impact treatment choices and outcomes.
According to research, shared decision-making results in improved patient knowledge, reduced decisional conflict, and increased patient satisfaction. Reduced decisional conflict leads to more confident and informed choices.
Patients actively engaging in shared decision-making have higher satisfaction levels and feel more respected, listened to, and empowered in their healthcare decisions. They also show better adherence to treatment recommendations.
6: Support patients beyond traditional care settings
Patient engagement extends far beyond the confines of the healthcare office or hospital setting. Supporting patients outside the healthcare facility promotes continuous care and self-management and enhances patient engagement.
Healthcare providers can practice remote patient monitoring (RPM) to track and monitor patients’ health data remotely. This can be done through wearable devices or mobile apps. According to a 2016 study, RPM improved patient engagement and self-care management among individuals with chronic conditions.
Another strategy is virtual visits, which have gained significant traction recently. It connects patients to healthcare professionals without the need for in-person visits. Virtual visits extend healthcare organizations’ reach, enhance access to care, and foster continuous patient engagement.
7: Avoid making assumptions
As healthcare providers, you must avoid making assumptions about patients’ knowledge, preferences, or experiences. Assumptions hinder understanding, erode trust, and impede active participation in healthcare decisions.
To avoid assumptions, tailor your communication to each patient and acknowledge that each is unique. Assess their knowledge and comprehension through open-ended questions and active listening. This approach demonstrates respect for patients’ unique perspectives and minimizes assumptions. If there is ambiguity or uncertainty regarding a patient’s preferences, do not hesitate to seek clarification.
At the same time, avoid using complex medical jargon or assuming that patients are familiar with technical terms. Also, understand and adapt to individual needs to foster a more inclusive and engaging environment.
Adopting effective strategies can improve patient engagement and fosters stronger provider-patient relationships. The above article explored various ways to enhance patient engagement. By implementing these strategies, you can promote active patient participation, instilling ownership.