20 Examples of Patient Engagement Tools
Keys to Unlocking Patient Activation
Improve Patient Engagement with These 20 Tools
Engaged patients want to learn more about their health and have a voice in their treatment plans. Unfortunately, providers have difficulty keeping up with evolving healthcare consumer demands, even for something as basic as online scheduling of appointments.
But there’s a big reason providers are leery of these tools, and it directly relates to ROI.
They want the tool to be worth it, which involves patients effectively using the technology. If the tool isn’t intuitive or doesn’t appeal to patients, it won’t draw engagement. Whether a provider is new to digital patient engagement or is looking to add to their existing tools, here are 20 examples of patient engagement tools.
1. Health Risk Assessments
A health risk assessment (HRA) is a quick questionnaire that helps identify patients’ lifestyle factors and health risks. Some HRAs can be more expansive and cover all aspects of a patient’s well-being, including information about their nutrition, fitness level, emotional wellbeing, stress, and sleep, as well as their cholesterol and blood pressure.
A patient who engages with an HRA becomes part of the narrative in their healthcare and benefits by being able to receive personalized care. This also helps improve patient relationships because rather than focusing on obvious symptoms, doctors and physicians can take a holistic view of the patient and make choices based on their history.
Many hospitals and health systems also offer HRAs as a marketing tool (online, at employer sites, etc.) and means for patient acquisition, as prospective patients may seek care from the organization identifying care needs through the HRAs.
2. Screenings for Care Gaps
Care gaps are discrepancies between recommended best practices and the care that is actually provided (e.g., mammogram, colonoscopy, annual wellness visit) and can often go overlooked and unnoticed. Screening for care gaps helps identify the missed needs of your patients to ensure they are getting a full, well-rounded, and personalized healthcare plan.
3. Lab Notifications
A patient’s labwork is important to them, and most patients want immediate access to their lab results. Patients can make more informed decisions about their health by receiving lab notifications and access to their personal information. This level of information also helps create a dialogue between patients and healthcare providers, with the patients trying to better understand what the results mean and what should be done about them.
4. Medication Reminders and Notifications
It seems obvious, but patients who use their medication as intended and follow the instructions have better recovery rates than those who don’t. Automated prescription notifications help patients know when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up, when they need a refill, and even how to take their medication. These small accessible reminders help keep patients engaged with their treatment plan and improve patient outcomes.
5. Care Coordination
A healthcare delivery system is made up of everyone from individual providers to larger organizations who are involved in providing healthcare services for patients. Unifying all providers and providing an easy way to collaborate among teams eliminates fragmentation and enables patients to get consistent information and support, which helps them become more engaged in their healthcare.
6. Side Effects Management
Every medication has side effects and can have potential interactions with other medications and treatments. With a tool to manage and accurately track treatments and medications, patients can help prevent complications.
7. Health Timelines
Health timelines are designed to provide a simple and engaging way for patients to visualize and record their medical history. These data visualization timelines can help patients understand complex patterns within their medical history and can be helpful for them in making better-informed decisions about their health.
8. Appointment Reminders
9. Wellness Reminders
Once a patient leaves a hospital or office, it’s challengine to influence their actions, but health and wellness reminders can help encourage and educate patients to make the best decisions for their health. By improving patients’ health knowledge and providing them with better information, it’s possible to increase patients’ self-efficacy and engagement.
10. Consumer Education
The average healthcare consumer does not have the education and training to make well-informed health decisions. Patient education aims to give consumers the foundational knowledge they need about their health and healthcare options to make responsible decisions and activate positive health behaviors.
11. Virtual Care Screenings
Virtual care, telehealth and remote digital healthcare solutions are on the rise. While not every visit with a doctor can be done through a screen, these remote options provide flexibility to patients, allowing doctors to meet patients on their terms when they are available – where they are – and how they want.
Digital screenings are a fast remote solution that can help immediately identify surface-level behavioral health risks and provide information about the appropriate level of care for each behavior.
12. Find a Doc: Patient/Provider Matching
Many hospitals, health systems, medical groups, and health insurance companies offer “Find a Doc” functions on their websites, which is a great way to match patients with providers based on characteristics such as location, gender preferences, and backgrounds. This facilitates patient satisfaction and a higher likelihood of appointment show rates.
More progressive healthcare enterprises go beyond demographic or socioeconomic considerations for offering a successful patient-provider match, using psychographics to connect patient with providers based on shared values, beliefs and approaches to healthcare.
13. Payment Reminders
Patients often have complicated insurance plans with high deductibles and premiums, and knowing when or how much they need to pay can be complicated. Payment reminders help patients be financially responsible. By receiving payment reminders, patients can fully understand their financial responsibility and help reduce missed or overdue payments.
Urgent Care clinics and other provider organizations have used digital payment reminders to significantly increase and accelerate patient financial responsibility payments while dramatically reducing paper statement and postage costs.
14. Copay Notifications
Copays are typically collected when the care or treatment is provided but may also be applied after the visit. Because there is some range of variation, providing copay notifications can help patients avoid unwanted debt and help ensure timely payments. These simple reminders can help reduce the number of overdue payments and collections and help patients take better control of their finances.
15. Explanation of Benefits
Due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all consumers should have health insurance coverage (though nearly 8% of consumers remain uninsured). However, just because a healthcare consumer has coverage does not mean they accurately understand what that coverage means or how they can use it. Education about coverage helps consumers know their options and see opportunities to receive treatment and help where they thought it was impossible.
16. Request for Feedback
There is always room for improvement. By being asked for feedback and improvements in a meaningful, personalized way, consumers can help identify and correct issues that represent barriers to a superior patient experience. This simple feedback request helps patients feel heard, which improves relationships while also providing them with an opportunity to make an impact on more than just their health. NPS (Net Promoter Score) and positive ratings & reviews can be leveraged in reputation management and social media, which is the 21st century’s “word of mouth” for hospitals and urgent care, among other provider organizations.
17. Appointment Follow-up Contact
The day they meet with a doctor or healthcare provider is extremely stressful for many people. They are more worried about their health than accurately understanding everything that is explained to them. Rather than allowing patients to function on what they may remember, follow-up contacts provide the chance to strengthen and reestablish patient engagement.
Following up with a patient allows a healthcare provider to monitor their health to ensure there are no complications, and introduce, reestablish, or reinforce patient education, share and discuss lab results, and schedule future appointments. These simple follow-ups continue to support and strengthen the existing customer relationships and ensure all of the patient’s questions have been resolved.
18. Post-Discharge Follow-up
Effective patient engagement Contact is also vital to post-discharge follow-up care. Whether to prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions or to divert patients from the ER to more appropriate primary care, patient engagement to gauge recovery, ensure medication adherence or reinforce healthy behaviors will improve health outcomes and quality of life, not to mention reduce inappropriate utilization of medical services.
While manual follow-up has traditionally required significant staff resources, digital automation has been proven to relieve staff burden and improve patient response. An enterprise, omnichannel patient engagement platform ensures consistency of patient (and staff) experience and delivers two-way communications that drive efficiencies, lower costs and better outcomes.
19. Language Translation Technology
When patients can’t communicate with their doctors, they can’t answer questions about their health history, accurately explain what is wrong with them, be provided with an accurate diagnosis, and follow aftercare instructions. A translation solution allows every patient to receive the same level of care and be engaged in their health, no matter what language they speak.
20. Personalized Digital Communications
Digital communications can be delivered across many channels, from email, text message/SMS, Interactive Voice Response (IVR – automated phone calls), customized apps and microsites, which are secure, HIPAA compliant landing pages designed specifically for individual patients. These channels are automated with response mechanisms to facilitate two-way communications.
These communications can be personalized in several ways. First. an omnichannel platform allows for patient-preferred channels to be used, heightening receptivity and likelihood of response. Second, psychographic insights and behavioral science can be employed to personalize messaging to resonate with a patient’s attitudes, motivations and priorities, enhancing patient activation.
Improve Patient Engagement
Patient engagement tools improve patient outcomes and wellness. Digital tools drive the best results through cost-effective automation, but there are more techniques that can generate effective and meaningful patient engagement. Learn more about the solutions available to improve patient engagement in our whitepaper.
Psychographics: A Key to Delivering Consumer-Centricity and Superior Results in Healthcare
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