As the aging population continues to grow and the burden of chronic diseases expands, patient engagement has become more important than ever. Some experts believe that the patient engagement solutions market is going to hit $18.7 billion by 2022, and that number will most likely climb in the coming decades. Even though new technology has improved communications in the healthcare industry, many are worried about patient data security and the potential for catastrophic cyberattacks.
The Rise of the Chief Experience Officer (CXO)
During a recent HIMSS17 conference, one survey asked healthcare providers a wide variety of questions about patient engagement. The survey revealed that 44 percent of all healthcare organizations now have a full-time chief experience officer. One of the primary responsibilities of a CXO is to determine how technology can improve the lives of their patients. From virtual doctor’s visits to text message appointment reminders, technology is now being adopted by hospitals and medical practices throughout the world.
Benefits of Patient Engagement
Very few variables affect a patient’s outcome as much as their overall engagement. Countless studies have shown that greater patient engagement can result in better health outcomes, improved patient satisfaction, and a reduction in emergency room visits. Better engagement also lowers costs for patients and their healthcare providers. When a patient takes personal responsibility for their health and has access to a myriad of useful tools, they are going to spend less time in the waiting room. For healthcare providers, that leads to lower administrative costs.
This is a complex subject, and there is no single tactic or strategy that is going to work for every medical practice. That being said, most healthcare organizations will benefit from making a few distinct changes. Keeping medical information simple is one of the most effective ways to improve patient engagement. Many patients are going to shy away from a conversation that involves complex medical jargon and acronyms. Healthcare providers must strive to make the information as digestible as possible.
Doctors and other medical professionals must also give their patients control over their health. An example of that would be letting a patient set their own goals instead of simply telling them what to do in the coming months. Patients who have a hand in setting their own goals are going to be much more proactive about their health. Once those goals have been set, they should be easily shareable between healthcare providers so that the patient receives consistent care and feedback. Finally, patients need to be accountable. Giving patients the ability to keep track of their progress will give them a sense of accomplishment as the move toward a tangible goal.
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