Healthcare News & Insights

How hospital leaders can develop stronger patient engagement

To meet the healthcare industry’s new demands, facilities will need to engage and connect with patients — and there are steps hospital leaders can take to help. 

465446791Getting patients involved in their own care will be key in order to thrive with the industry’s changes. Having patient engagement is essential for improving your facility’s quality of care. Having patient engagement and a high quality of care is also necessary for:

  • collecting the correct reimbursement from payors implementing value-based payment models
  • achieving meaningful use criteria, and
  • reducing expenses for costly services like chronic care management.

Promoting provider-patient engagement

But as Susan Edgeman-Levitan and Tejal Gandhi, leaders in healthcare organizations, write in the Health Affairs, there are significant barriers for securing patient engagement.

For one, there’s rampant confusion among patients about what “engagement” actually involves. Also, there are challenges in terms of  developing health literacy and facility cultures which promote patient participation.

However, despite the challenges, there are steps hospital leaders can take to help facilitate provider-patient engagement. For example, the authors recommend:

  • Implementing policies that give patients access to their health information and records. Allowing patients to see and even edit their health records can cut down on errors.
  • Providing the necessary resources for patient education from front-line providers, nurses or patient navigatorsSupporting your clinical staff helps them as they counsel patients on their care goals, preferences and management.
  • Inviting patients and their families to provide feedback and participate in your quality improvement programs. Involving patients in quality improvement allows patients to understand the hurdles in the industry and provide new perspective on some quality and safety issues. Include patient representatives on committees that develop policies, research and programs related to payment, patient safety and patient experiences.

Forming financial connections

Patients are shouldering a greater percentage of their own healthcare costs due to insurance plans with higher premiums or deductibles. This gives hospital CFOs a chance to engage patients on a financial level.

This can be done through price transparency, writes Marty Stempniak in Hospitals and Health Networks Daily. Giving patients a chance to see what they’ll owe up front for services can help them avoid breaking their budgets for care.

One healthcare facility mentioned in the article did this by finding ways to go out into the community to let people know what services and payment options were available.

Getting insight into what outside factors affect patients’ ability to manage their health and health costs can then help you improve the overall patient experience.

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