Engagement Strategies to Empower Patients
Healthcare deductibles in the U.S. are rising, meaning patients know they’ll have to use their health savings account or pay out-of-pocket for medical care.
With that comes a shift in mindset and a greater need for patient engagement in healthcare. Medical care has become something patients keep away from to avoid the expense. Or something they shop around for even more because the expense impacts them directly and not just their health plan.
As patients shop for the best providers, it means patient engagement is more important than ever to reduce patient turnover rates while focusing on patient satisfaction.
Patients today expect a retail experience or one where they are treated like the customer, given options, put in charge of their expenses, and offered strategies for ways to manage those expenses effectively.
Consumer-centric care comes from helping patients understand their care, get involved in it and providing options to them. Medical providers should begin employing these patient engagement strategies to meet patients where they are at and reduce attrition rates.
How to Improve Patient Engagement in HealthcareProviders focused on retaining patients should start adjusting their business model to include these patient engagement solutions.
1. Educate Patients about Finances
Patients want to know what to expect financially from every visit. Providing transparent and clear financial commitments for every visit will help patients feel comfortable scheduling a visit or choosing your health system to manage their ongoing conditions or concerns.
Financial transparency includes the following.
- Explain insurance and billing procedures
- Make it clear what patients owe or will owe after a visit, treatment, or procedure
- Provide resources for seeking financial assistance
2. Offer Digital Payment Options
Digital payments allow patients to pay when it is convenient for them and manage the day when the funds are withdrawn from their account. But digital payments can also offer patients the opportunity to break up the cost of care into smaller bills and pay for services over time.
Using a patient portal, patients will appreciate managing their care in one place. They can go from messaging their provider, to engaging in a telehealth visit to paying their bill seamlessly.
Putting the power of control and choice in the hands of the patient is so important in helping them feel engaged throughout the process.
Digital payments can also enable patients to make payments via text message or email to meet modern demands for how patients communicate. When you communicate with them frequently using multiple communication channels, they’ll never be surprised by a bill or face late fees because they forgot about it.
But along the way, don’t forget about keeping all communication HIPAA-compliant with the right tools and training for your staff.
3. Documenting Patient Preferences
Software and digital tools are only as good as the data you put into them. So while having options for communicating with patients securely across channels is great, some patients might not want text messages.
You need to document how a patient wants to communicate. Those who use remote patient monitoring and telehealth might be more comfortable with digital billing, while others will expect their bill to arrive in their mailbox like it has for decades.
Documenting a patient’s preferences shows them that your health system knows and understands them, which can reduce the chances that they’ll look for services elsewhere.
4. Give Patients Options
Patients have the power of choice when it comes to their healthcare. They’ll shop around their community until they find a provider who meets their needs. Don’t make them shop around.
Meet patient needs by providing options for their care. When creating treatment plans, use all the tools at your disposal, including remote patient monitoring and telehealth.
Some patients might still want frequent face-to-face visits while others will opt to move some interactions digital. Managing expenses can mean telehealth visits throughout the year with one or two in-person appointments to check on how things are going.
5. Explain the Benefits of Preventative Care in Reducing Healthcare Expenses
Investing money now in preventative care can help patients manage their overall healthcare expenses by reducing hospital admissions or acute-care scenarios.
Patients need to understand the value of managing chronic conditions with regular care to better understand the impacts that a lack of care could have on their long-term wellbeing.
Patient Engagement’s Impact on Provider Revenue
Patients who are engaged, feel comfortable, know the cost of their care, and trust their provider fully are more likely to schedule visits with that provider regularly. That means better, steadier income for the provider.
Improving patient engagement can have these revenue impacts.
- Increased visits
- Greater patient referrals
- Improved patient retention rates
Engaging patients in their medical care also means better patient outcomes in most cases. And providing treatment options can reduce barriers to getting the care patients need for depression and other ailments.
To begin evaluating your patient engagement and looking for ways to improve it, visit our member engagement page to learn more and explore ways to connect in a meaningful way with your patients.