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9 Tips for better patient engagement

  • Highlights

  • Patient engagement tools better patient experience, lower costs.

  • Educate your patients about treatment & medications

  • Incorporate telehealth, mHealth & gamification into your practice

Success or failure of a treatment depends upon the patient’s approach towards the treatment regime. A better communicated and a well-executed patient engagement strategy impacts his approach towards the regime and hence contributes towards a successful treatment and gives the best economic outcomes.
Patient engagement is defined as the tools or actions taken by healthcare providers, patients or caregivers to improve the decision-making process, which ultimately contributes to a better patient experience with lower costs.
Patient engagement gets strengthened by strong and clear communication between doctors and patients, through emails, SMS, enhancing patient education, and employing the right technologies or services.

Tips for Better Patient Engagement

1. Educate your patients

Patient education is an important tool in improving patient’s engagement. Customized applications/portals, such as Microsoft Health Vault and Health Tap etc. can provide online/offline information on treatment or medications and promote better patient education. Patient education requires you to hire personnel to manage and provide information through portals and approximately costs Rs.15000 -20000 per month.

2. Provide Continuity of Care

The care given to the patient should be uniform and seamless throughout the treatment process, which is otherwise called as ‘continuity of care’. Make the patient feel cared for even when he has left the hospital premises. Telehealth could be one of the ways to do it; however, a simple telephonic follow-up can also make a huge impact.

3. Find Ways to Communicate

Communication is the crux of all relationships, including that between a doctor and a patient. It can be verbal communication, web-based communication (emails, social media, SMS alerts etc.) or Electronic Health Record-based communication (EHR). Verbal and web-based communications costs minimal, whereas EHR might cost up to Rs.2,48,000 per annum. Although EHR is tad expensive, it is the most effective way of communication.

4. Incorporate Telehealth into Your Practice

Telehealth can help you provide care to patients who are unable to visit the healthcare facility. Patients can acquire quality knowledge, and physicians can actively participate in monitoring patient’s health conditions simultaneously. Setting up a telehealth unit costs between Rs.20 - 35 lakhs. Thereafter, it only requires minimal annual maintenance charges.
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5. Connect through mobiles- Mobile health

Mobile health is a technique, wherein smartphones or other devices are used to promote healthcare and services. They are used to provide information and increase awareness among patients regarding disease conditions. It might involve sending notifications and SMS alerts regarding the medications, side effects and contraindicated drugs, etc. Implementing mobile health costs around Rs.25 – 30 lakh, the pricing may vary as per the requirement.

6. Try Gamification:

Gamification is an upcoming trend and a powerful tool in the healthcare industry. It is a blend of games and healthcare information, where information is exchanged interactively and convincingly. Gamification techniques may involve conducting quizzes and polls, and giving away rewards or points to redeem. It also acts as a marketing tool to promote products or organizations. Gamification costs about a few lakh rupees depending on the desired technologies and equipment.

7. Provide Care Guide

A care guide is a self-help guide that includes detailed information about chronic diseases and their management. It can make the patients and their caregivers more involved in healthcare decisions and care. Care guides costs around Rs.40,000 – 50,000 where a speciality develops, designs, prints and distributes the content.

8. Offer a Health Library

Health library is an amenity for your organization’s official website and actively helps in promoting patient’s engagement. It contains featured articles, patient testimonials, web-based patient education information on diseases, medication and more. Cost for a health library depends upon the mode of engagement. You can either subscribe to a health library for a monthly or annual cost, or purchase a library as a one-time payment.

9. Invest in Infographics

Infographics are an important and popular form of marketing, and patient engagement. They depict medical information in an understandable manner using designs and graphics. Infographics may include pictures, flow charts, facts or statistics. Designing, animation, and production infographics cost about Rs.2,000 – 65,000. The cost may vary depending on the quality and content of the infographic.

Improved patient engagement implies a growing patient base, and can be achieved if you keep in touch with your patients, even when they are not in the hospital, and are healthy and don’t need your services.
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