The healthcare sector is currently experiencing a transformation driven by government regulation, payment reform and the transition to value or outcome-based care. However, nothing is persuading healthcare organizations to shift their priorities more than the increasing demand by patients for more convenient, personalized, and higher quality care.
Patients want convenient access to medical care, data to make more informed decisions and to be included in decisions that affect their health. Studies show that patient engagement is the key to improving healthcare outcomes and reducing the overall cost of providing healthcare. By improving communication with patients and introducing new forms of health education and outpatient interaction, the providers of your healthcare organization can increase successful healthcare outcomes.
Patient engagement strategies your healthcare organization can implement include:
Patient Care Coordination
A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US) found that 20 percent of Medicare patients discharged from the hospital will be readmitted within 30 days due to the inability to manage their care. To counter this, providers can introduce patient care coordination programs to help patients with chronic illnesses heal at home. A patient coordinator is assigned to the patient before release from the hospital to assist with prescriptions, follow-up appointments and any other outpatient treatment. This high-touch approach facilitates communication with the patient and helps them navigate the complex healthcare system.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, “Nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using the everyday health information that is routinely available in our health care facilities, retail outlets, media, and communities.” In this regard, patients with chronic illnesses are likely to have problems understanding the instructions received from their healthcare provider. Communication and education programs that provide easy to understand information on medical conditions, medications, treatments and self-care can encourage patients to take a proactive role in maintaining their health. In addition to offering information in print or online, educational resources can include videos, podcasts, classes, or one-on-one discussions.
Technology that can collect and measure data is a new phenomena that has offered patients new ways of tracking their health, and offers healthcare providers the ability to remotely monitor vital signs and other real-time results of patients. As well, the growing popularity of patient portals has kept the lines of communication open by enabling patients following a hospital visit to securely message medical staff to ask questions. This new technology has also proven beneficial for helping healthcare providers stay engaged with patients and monitor for signs of serious illness, thereby reducing the overall cost of healthcare for the patient.
By sharing the out-of-pocket cost of procedures and services, your healthcare organization can help patients understand their options and make informed decisions for treatment. This will also enhance the patient experience by taking the surprise out of hospital bills by notifying patients of charges up front. As of January 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires hospitals to not only post standard charges online, but also make pricing available in a machine readable format, and to update the information at least annually.
To successfully execute your patient engagement strategies, a powerful budgeting and transparency software solution can help your hospital or healthcare facility prepare operating, salary and capital budgets with greater accuracy and efficiency. With an accurate budget, healthcare providers can plan more effectively using data insights to determine the right staffing and resources that supports patients while best allocating the available funding. Budgeting software also offers the flexibility to make adjustments as changes to funding, staffing or business operations occur. A software solution should also be able to produce budgeting and forecasting reports, create what-if scenarios, and outcome-based funding formulas. Look for a solution that offers integration with data transparency and engagement tools that would allow you to share data and performance outcomes to demonstrate how it manages fiscal responsibility while delivering quality patient care.
In conclusion, patient engagement strategies can greatly improve patient-provider relationships. Patients want convenient access to medical care, more data about their medical conditions and the cost for treatment, and to work in partnership with your organization’s healthcare providers. By introducing patient care coordination and user-friendly health education, patients can learn how to maintain their health, while technology will help healthcare providers stay connected to patients and assess which patients need more resources to ensure the most successful health outcome. The healthcare sector may be facing rapid change, but your hospital or healthcare facility can use these strategies to improve the value of patient services after their discharge.
For over 20 years, Questica been working with public sector organizations – governments, hospitals and healthcare facilities, colleges and universities, K-12 schools and non-profits – to better enable data-driven budgeting and decision-making, while increasing data accuracy, saving time and improving stakeholder trust. Our customers are using our Questica Budget suite to drive budget transformation by creating a single source of data truth. Almost 700 organizations across North America in 46 states and 11 provinces/territories have eliminated spreadsheets opting for smarter planning, budgeting, performance measures, management, reporting, transparency and engagement with our software solutions. To learn more about Questica’s products and how our software solutions can help you manage the budget with confidence – watch a product video, read one of our case studies/white papers or request a demo today!