Patient Engagement & Online Screening is a growing concept in healthcare. It can help patients become more active in their health, and it can also improve outcomes.
Medical practices typically use patient engagement solutions to power automated outreach for appointment reminders, scheduling changes, and telehealth scheduling. Some of these solutions include patient satisfaction surveys that are delivered via text to encourage patients to respond.
Patient portals are a central component of many health care organization’s electronic health record (EHR) systems. Patient portals offer patients a view of their clinical information in an online, self-serve setting.
The primary drivers of patient portal development at present are CMS and Medicaid EHR incentive program meaningful use (MU) criteria and a desire to improve patients’ access to clinical information. However, portals can also be a key component of patient engagement initiatives.
Studies have focused on the effectiveness of portals tethered to an EHR in patient engagement efforts and on their impact on patients, providers, and practice operations. In addition, a number of qualitative and mixed-methods studies have explored physician endorsement and continued use of patient portals. A few RCTs have tested specific patient portal functions that may enhance engagement, such as opportunities for medication reconciliation and self-management of chronic diseases (eg, diabetes). The majority of research to date has been descriptive and qualitative.
Online Appointment Scheduling
A convenient online appointment system gives customers the option to schedule a visit in advance – helping to improve patient engagement and satisfaction. Online booking also eliminates the need for front desk employees to field endless calls and emails, alleviating employee burnout, a growing concern in the healthcare industry.
With customizable online appointment reminders and notifications, customers are more likely to show up for their scheduled appointments, ensuring that business resources are utilized effectively. Furthermore, customers can easily reschedule or cancel their upcoming appointments as plans change, avoiding wasted inventory and saving time for staff.
Integrated appointment scheduling systems allow businesses to tailor the booking experience with additional customer information capture features like mandatory health questionnaires, pre-payments, minimum or maximum appointment lengths and more. Advanced systems also include automated performance analytics, enabling businesses to optimize appointment scheduling operations based on data. For example, identifying high/low demand timeslots to balance appointment availability. This significantly improves calendar management and eliminates calendar confusion and double-booking.
Patient engagement software allows patients to communicate with your healthcare organization on their own terms, wherever they are. Whether it’s through HIPAA-compliant video chat, automated reminders and telemedicine scheduling or patient portals that provide convenient access to their upcoming appointments and payments, this type of technology helps build a digital front door for your organization.
Embracing the right patient engagement tools can help your healthcare organization improve its reputation, attract new patients and make more revenue. By offering conveniences that today’s patients are used to, like online self-service options and automated communications, you can set your organization apart from the competition.
Patient engagement takes many forms, but the bottom line is that patients want to take an active role in their care. They want to be able to communicate with physicians, manage appointments and payments, and understand their symptoms and diagnoses.
While the benefits of PE are widely recognized, studies in this field remain limited. Moreover, meaningfully engaging patients remains challenging (35).
To maximize the impact of PE, healthcare organizations must consider a variety of factors, including minimizing distractions during encounters. For example, when conducting an online screening, the physician should avoid using any distracting language or graphics and should minimize other applications on the computer. This will ensure that the patient is able to focus and perceive a connection with the clinician. In addition, the clinician should make sure the patient is comfortable by minimizing background noise and turning off phone notifications. This will also ensure the patient has a clear view of their own computer screen, which is critical for comprehension.