Healthcare News & Insights

How patient engagement can benefit hospitals’ strategies

More hospitals are finding ways to engage their patients to produce valuable feedback and improve their care delivery. Here’s how your facility can do the same. 

161747985The healthcare industry is evolving and restructuring itself around patients. The number of accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other insurer and federal initiatives have increased, hoping to improve care and shift the industry to a value-based healthcare system.

Implementing patient engagement

As Healthcare IT News reports, providers can borrow methods from insurers to help them implement patient engagement strategies in their facilities. For example:

  • Designating patient engagement advocates. These staff members lead the effort of making strategies into concrete action by implementing and monitoring engagement programs. Patient engagement advocates also find other improvement opportunities for patients to provide feedback on.
  • Creating incentive programs through insurer partnerships. Many payors have used incentive programs to encourage patients to make healthy life choices or effectively manage their chronic condition symptoms. Facilities with strong relationships with insurers should become partners for promoting those incentive programs.
  • Sharing patient data and treatments through interoperability. Access to comprehensive, up-to-date data is crucial for identifying and treating high-risk patients. Having thorough information from your provider and payor partners is also important for developing new strategies and getting a better picture of patients’ needs.

Using patient feedback strategically

But some providers are taking the extra step to get the most out of their patient engagement. They’re not only trying to get patients involved in their own care, these providers involve patients as strategic advisors, according a recent article from Hospitals & Health Networks.

For example: the Nemour Children’s Health System has its facilities include patients and families as members on its advisory councils to provide valuable input for large-scale projects, like building new facilities. The system also has engaged patients as advisors by conducting change-of-shift reports in the patient’s room, instead of outside.

Hospitals leaders will have to be at the forefront of patient engagement  actions and planning if they want to see widespread change. The University of Michigan Health System made its leaders “barrier busters” so they step in and help initiatives overcome unexpected challenges. The system also uses over 30 advisory councils to address patient needs, and a 200-member e-faculty to collect feedback online.

Georgia Regents Health System has its patients advisors serve on advisory boards, meet with new residents entering the organization and sit in on interviews with new directors to identify different issues that have negative impacts on patient experiences and care.

But before your facility begins using patient advisors to improve engagement efforts, be sure there’s a set infrastructure and procedure for identifying good candidates and training them on how to productively participate with your strategic efforts. This is where designating a patient engagement advocate can really benefit.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.