You may be familiar with patient engagement tools’ positive impact on care teams, including benefits such as lower readmission rates, better outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. Digitization of healthcare practices and the gradual introduction of new technologies already improve the quality of care and save lives.
More so, the global market for patient engagement solutions is expanding rapidly, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and technology leaders. For instance, the relevant market size is expected to grow from $28 billion in 2023 to $102 billion by 2030.
However, a healthcare organization striving for innovation should be careful and selective about patient engagement tools. Identifying those that align with your priorities and specialties is essential. That way, you will adopt the solutions you truly need and avoid redundant spending on the ones that bring no value to your business. So, let’s begin this journey together, starting with the rationale behind the digitization of healthcare for improving patient engagement.
“Embracing digital transformation is crucial for both physicians and patients. By harnessing the power of technology, we can revolutionize the patient experience, enhance care delivery, and foster meaningful engagement. Our mission is to develop innovative healthcare software solutions that empower organizations and individuals to thrive in this digital era, ultimately transforming how we approach healthcare and improving outcomes for all.“
“At SPsoft, we understand the profound impact of digitalization on the healthcare industry. With our cutting-edge technological solutions, we are committed to driving this transformation forward. Our team of software engineers uses the latest tools and innovative technologies to create solutions that empower healthcare providers, streamline processes, and improve patient outcomes.“
Head of Product Management, SPSoft
Why is Digitalization an Absolute Must for Patient Engagement?
Healthcare used to revolve around physical proximity, where everything from receiving medical care to making payments required in-person interactions. That was a standard engagement process since patients would come directly to the healthcare provider. But technology has completely transformed this dynamic.
Patients are more likely to select a healthcare provider who offers online communication. They also value solid and user-friendly communication software that runs across different platforms. Failure to provide the required means of communication can now result in losing the patient.
Patients no longer have to be physically present for most healthcare-related activities. The advent of mobile devices and widespread internet access has caused consumer industries to adapt swiftly, expanding their reach and granting clients round-the-clock access to their services and products.
Healthcare must capitalize on these advancements to:
- Streamline patient communication
- Decrease manual workload on clinical staff
- Provide patients with better information about their care plan
- Educate the patients
- Deliver high-quality care in remote locations
- Save costs and improve the efficiency of care
Also, since patients take on more financial responsibility for their health and well-being, healthcare providers get increasingly more attentive to shifting patient expectations and seeking scalable methods to meet those expectations. This trend creates an increased demand for new patient engagement solutions and strategies.
Engage patients and improve the efficiency of care across all metrics with a reliable healthtech partner. Contact us to navigate the healthcare shifts effectively!
Healthcare Shifts that Drive the Need for Digital Patient Engagement
The relationships between patients and healthcare providers have changed following the emerging technology landscape and global events like the pandemic. Access to healthcare becomes more ubiquitous, the patient experience transforms, and the use of tech among physicians and patients plays a vital role in improving patient engagement and quality of care.
Research indicates a disparity between the perceived experiences that healthcare providers believe they deliver and the actual experiences reported by patients. The traditional one-way communication from physicians to patients has transformed into a mutual conversation, which benefits both parties and raises patient expectations. Technology does not have to replace the human connection between the patient and the doctor, but it can improve it.
As other industries become increasingly accessible to consumers, patients, who are also clients of services and goods, desire the same level of accessibility when it comes to healthcare.
Accessibility entails accessing schedules, making payments, and completing registrations at times that align with their daily schedules, even if non-emergency healthcare services are not available 24/7. A child’s earache, fever, or the onset of illnesses and injuries rarely occur during typical business hours, and follow-up and preventive care do not conveniently trigger patient recollection during daytime hours. Moreover, phone trees and voicemail serve as obstacles rather than access points.
So, digital patient engagement tools provide patients with mobile-first access, enabling them to complete routine healthcare tasks at their convenience using familiar technology.
Explore the most effective patient engagement strategies through the lens of our healthcare development experts in the recent article.
The responsibility over healthcare expenses is shifting, with patients assuming a growing portion of the financial burden. High-deductible health plans and substantial co-pays mean that patients now bear a greater cost for their healthcare services. This change is prompting a shift in how patients make healthcare decisions and what factors they prioritize.
With a heightened awareness of their healthcare expenses, patients are taking on a more active role in their healthcare experience. They conduct more research and carefully consider when and where to seek care. Effective communication with patients is crucial, as financial obstacles can lead some patients to avoid seeking care altogether, resulting in delayed treatment until emergencies arise and contributing to missed appointments.
Engagement tools are vital in educating patients about their financial responsibilities, alleviating uncertainties and anxieties, and providing relevant resources.
Adopting technology occurs swiftly when it seamlessly integrates into existing habits and behaviors. To ensure that healthcare investments in technology yield the promised results, it is important to identify the right solution, implement best practices, and keep the tech simple.
For instance, SPsoft cooperated with a global provider of intraoperative imaging solutions that prioritizes the safety of both patients and clinical staff. To meet the client’s requirements, SPsoft was tasked with developing an intuitive and user-friendly portal incorporating a robust content management system. Our secondary objective was to harness chatbot technology and conversational user interface to deliver interactive and personalized patient support throughout the pre and post-surgery phases, creating an engaging and human-centric experience.
Thus, the SPsoft team implemented an automated patient support portal with content management capabilities and an AI-driven chatbot. This initiative resulted in a remarkable 30% increase in patient satisfaction, enhanced operational efficiency in serving patients, a notable 25% reduction in patient support staff overhead across 12 hospitals, and a significant rise in the number of surgeries scheduled through these healthcare providers.
8 Digital Patient Engagement Tools
Now after discussing the role of digitalization in increasing patient engagement, we will get to the practical side. So, what patient engagement tools are most critical in improving patient engagement and the general quality of care? In short, it depends on what kind of services you provide, your technology adoption level, and your needs. Today, we are going to take a look at eight common tools that suit most healthcare scenarios.
Real-time telehealth, which involves video conferencing to facilitate virtual visits with healthcare practitioners, allows patients to interact with various specialists as if they were in the same room. In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has emerged as the most crucial for increasing patient engagement. The widespread adoption of virtual visits has significantly enhanced patient access and satisfaction, with many individuals expressing their preference for this method of healthcare delivery even after the pandemic has subsided.
Patient engagement tools facilitate easy access to doctors for specific groups of patients, like:
- Chronic conditions patients such as diabetes
- Heart or respiratory disease patients
- Individuals going through cancer treatment or recovery
- Low-mobility patients who require frequent check-ups
- Individuals who require mental health consulting
The list can be extended further as the new technology allows for better remote care. Remote patient monitoring tools are improving every year, improving the quality of care for all groups of patients.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring involves patient engagement tools that allow individuals to manage acute or chronic conditions from the comfort of their homes, workplaces, or during travel. Some widely used devices for remote patient monitoring include:
- Glucose meters for diabetes management
- Heart rate monitors for congestive heart failure management
- Blood pressure cuffs for measuring blood pressure
- Oximeters for monitoring blood oxygen levels
- Continuous dementia surveillance monitors
- Calorie and exercise logging programs
- Musculoskeletal risk stratification platforms
- Grip strength sensors for Parkinson’s disease management
Remote patient monitoring tools and devices also provide opportunities for personal health monitoring. More so, by maintaining consistent communication and teaching patients to follow their care plans, healthcare providers can enhance patient access to care and comfort while reducing costs for their practices. To motivate and engage patients, educating them about the technology’s features and the evidence-based rationale behind its use is essential.
A healthcare call center must ensure that every patient is efficiently connected to their preferred services. Thus, every interaction with your team must be flawless. Patients should be able to schedule same-day appointments in case of urgent needs. Every phone call holds significance, and a high-quality call center can help you master doctor-patient communication and enhance patient satisfaction.
Health systems that fail to train their service representatives to exhibit empathy and professionalism risk losing patients. According to McKesson Pharmaceuticals, call centers have the potential to generate a three-to-one return on investment, driving revenue growth and fostering patient loyalty to healthcare systems. When patients receive prompt assistance during their time of need, they are more likely to receive positive outcomes and return for future care. That is the most significant return on investment for any healthcare practice.
Patient Portals and Ongoing Patient Education
A patient portal is a secure online platform that offers patients convenient and accessible 24/7 access to their electronic health records (EHRs) from any location with an internet connection. Patients can access various types of health information through a secure login with a username and password, including recent doctor visits, discharge summaries, medication instructions, immunization records, allergy information, and lab results.
Additionally, a patient portal enables secure communication with healthcare providers, allowing patients to send messages, request prescription refills, schedule non-urgent appointments, check insurance coverage and benefits, update contact details, make payments, download and complete forms, and access ongoing patient educational materials.
Medication and Appointment Reminders
Adhering to medication and care plans is crucial for individuals with chronic conditions. Integrating office visits with patient engagement tools such as medication and appointment reminders can enhance adherence to the care plan and improve outcomes, particularly for cardiovascular patients.
To enhance medication and appointment adherence, it is essential to utilize pharmaceutical and clinical databases, tailor education to meet each patient’s unique needs, provide reminders to patients and healthcare providers, and seamlessly integrate in-person interventions with electronic alerts. However, it is important to note that while automated reminders can be beneficial, they should be viewed as a complement to in-person communication about medications rather than a replacement.
Supercharge your healthcare practice with our comprehensive patient engagement technology suite. Learn how SPsoft can transform the way you engage with patients.
Accessible Medical Records
In the past, patients often faced lengthy wait times when requesting access to their doctor’s notes. While the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) made it legally permissible to review medical records, it did not guarantee patients electronic access. However, this trend is also shifting.
Such a shift is possible by the 21st Century Cures Act, which allows patients to read summary notes from their doctor’s office visits and access test results and electronic health records. Both large health organizations and small clinics utilize software that facilitates easy patient access. It enables them to log in anytime and review consultation notes, lab results, medical history, physical exam findings, and other relevant procedures. That way, an active patient receives invaluable insight into their health condition and the measures to improve it.
Flexible Payment Options and Programs
Patients now expect a seamless and convenient payment experience for their healthcare expenses, similar to their experience with services. Therefore, digital payment methods such as digital wallets, e-receipts, and text reminders for balance payments are increasingly prevalent.
By offering multiple payment channels and flexible payment options, healthcare providers can foster trust and enhance patient satisfaction. Utilizing patient engagement tools can help assess patients’ financial health and determine the appropriate payment options to offer.
Suppose patients are facing financial challenges and struggling to make timely payments. In that case, it is crucial to approach this situation as an opportunity to work with them, provide flexibility, and streamline billing processes. By improving the financial experience alongside the outstanding care experience, healthcare providers increase the likelihood of receiving timely payments and retaining patients.
Patient-Centered Care and Wellness Programs
Patient-centric care emphasizes respecting and incorporating the patient’s values, preferences, and goals into clinical decision-making and outcome evaluations. This collaborative approach between healthcare providers and patients considers the physical, mental, spiritual, and social factors influencing a patient’s health. Ultimately, that leads to improved outcomes and higher levels of patient satisfaction. Successful patient-centered care involves:
- Shared decision-making. Allowing patients, their families, and caregivers to actively participate in care planning by providing them with sufficient time to research and discuss treatment options.
- Customized care. Recognizing and treating each patient as a unique individual who should have access to various diagnostic and treatment choices.
- Information sharing. Ensuring patients receive all relevant observations, data, and research on their condition and available treatment options.
To achieve these objectives, healthcare teams may shift their perspective on patient care. Implementing a set of patient engagement tools that eliminates the challenges associated with disjointed patient engagement tools can provide healthcare providers the necessary time and energy to embrace these new perspectives and deliver excellent patient-centered care.
In conclusion, patient engagement tools have become indispensable in today’s healthcare landscape, enabling providers to deliver high-quality care, improve patient outcomes, and enhance overall satisfaction. However, the successful adoption and implementation of these tools can provoke challenges without the support of a reliable technology partner.
By choosing SPsoft, you can simplify integrating patient engagement tools into your workflows. Together, we can shape the future of healthcare, where technology seamlessly incorporates compassionate care, fostering a healthier and more connected world.
Maximize patient satisfaction and drive positive change with SPsoft. Contact us to harness the true potential of patient engagement technology with our proven expertise and support.
To improve patient engagement, healthcare providers can utilize strategies such as effective communication, leveraging tech for easy access to healthcare information, involving patients in their care decisions, providing educational resources, promoting shared decision-making, implementing patient feedback mechanisms, and personalizing care experiences.
Patient engagement can be measured through patient satisfaction surveys, patient activation measures, patient participation rates in treatment decisions, utilization of patient portals or digital health tools, appointment attendance rates, and patient adherence to treatment plans.
The four key measures of patient engagement are patient satisfaction, activation, participation, and adherence.