Healthcare News & Insights

How hospitals can boost their patient engagement: 3 keys

Getting patients more engaged in their health care is a win-win. Not only do hospitals get crucial feedback that’s needed to improve patient outcomes, but research also shows that engaged patients are better able to manage their own care and stay healthy.

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Whether you’re a part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), or considering joining one, you’ll want to consider ways to get the most out of your collaboration efforts with primary caregivers. What you may not know is that getting patients involved can drastically help your ACOs projects, reduce cost and deliver quality care back to those patients.

Triple play

So how do you get patients more involved?

Here are three steps to take, courtesy of a recent info brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

1. Collaboration

Patients who are educated about their health and conditions are more likely to stay healthy and pass the info on to friends and family. Some ACOs have started programs on disease and health self-management to empower patients to do this. These workshops put patients with chronic conditions together with peers and healthcare providers in a supportive environment. The programs help patients learn more about their condition, how to manage symptoms and what to do if their condition worsens.

As an added bonus, patients who “graduate” from these programs often feel driven to become workshop leaders — saving time, money and energy for you and your staff.

2. Transparency

It may seem risky to expose your facility’s weaknesses to patients, but the benefits of involving them in your quality improvement efforts outweigh the drawbacks. In fact, giving patients a seat at the table can give you valuable insight into how your caregiving process directly affects them. Not only that, but it also allows patients to see how the system works so they can suggest possible improvements.

Giving patients a direct invitation to be part of your hospital’s patient advisory group shows that their opinions are valuable and encourages participation. To start, you can have your advisory group help with giving feedback on current projects to improve care. Two best practices: Give patients clear expectations for their tasks and provide structured meetings where you ask for their feedback.

3. Engagement

Once patients start helping to improve individual practices, organizations can begin including them in larger outreach programs to improve health and awareness in the community. In particular, involving patients in those programs ensures the needs of the community are heard and met. Involved patients use their experiences with heath care to help organizations create specific goals and develop fair public reports that aren’t swamped in jargon. Including patients in larger efforts to influence community programs or healthcare legislation is crucial to improving healthcare culture in a meaningful way.

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