How it’s Transforming Preventative Care
By Amy LaVange
As healthcare reform strives to keep people healthier, it plays a significant role in the way you run your practice–a role that isn’t limited to enhancing your quality of care.
Your practice has become more of a business than it’s ever been before. You are now obligated to improve outcomes. You are now required to increase preventative care. And you have to spend valuable time and resources to document the proof that you’re meeting these objectives.
That is, if you plan to satisfy Meaningful Use, HEDIS, and other P4P models.
The Changing Role of Patient Engagement
Once considered merely an abstract method of improving retention, the concept of patient engagement has become the measured standard for improving preventative care and treatment adherence. The term is now nearly synonymous with ‘patient education.’ It requires taking significant steps to provide patients with the information they need in order to become invested in their care.
These efforts have been shown to improve preventative care by promoting proactively healthier behaviors and motivating patients to adhere more consistently to preventative care schedules. When armed with sufficient knowledge, they are able to spot warning signs more quickly and understand prescribed treatment more comprehensively–thus improving compliance, effectiveness of care, and overall health outcomes.
Indeed, the demand for engaging education is one that needs to be filled—and it needs to be filled by you.
The Problem with Patient Education
Educational outreach must have one quality above all others in order to resonate with your patients: it has to be relevant. Mass communication that strives to engage a whole patient base falls short across the board; non-targeted outreach is too generic to have an affect on even the patients for whom the content is applicable.
If patients without children are receiving emails about immunizations, your messages lose credibility. However, outreach that provides some warning signs of breast cancer or a gentle reminder to come in for a mammogram would be valuable to women over 40 because it applies to their circumstances. And when it’s valuable, people pay attention.
“If you’re sending me information that doesn’t benefit me on a personal level, it’s going to go right into the junk mail folder,” says Jim Higgins, Founder & CEO of the patient engagement platform, Solutionreach. “On the other hand, if I receive health tips that apply to me and education on things that could affect me, I’m going to pay attention.”
Unfortunately, improving the quality and consistency of your patient education efforts can be met with some obstacles, with time and resource availability being chief among them.
The advancing capabilities of technology are the reason quality-of-care programs are even possible; payers can monitor your success in ways that weren’t available a decade ago.
Until recently, what technology was not giving you were the tools you needed to actually drive the results. But things are looking up, on the tech front. Practices are already using patient communication technology to improve efficiency and increase engagement. Automated systems are intuitively delivering appointment reminders, patient satisfaction surveys, and personalized birthday wishes that go out without a hitch—or even a thought.
Platforms that monitor each patient’s continuing care schedule and send recall notifications are especially beneficial when you are striving to meet Meaningful Use requirements.
Education, Engagement, & Efficiency
Recently, patient engagement tech took another leap—one that has the ability to save you time and drive the results that help you meet preventative care and patient engagement requirements. Providers can now provide high-value education to engage their patients… with very little effort.
Advanced patient engagement technology can now create intuitive groups of patients. Practice staff can quickly filter patients by any number of criteria, (like gender, age, child-status, condition, procedure, or other risk factor,) allowing you to automate targeted, timely education without spending staff resources manually creating lists.
Practices that have been using the patient engagement service, Solutionreach, are now using the platform to send ‘Care Campaigns’ that have been pre-created by healthcare experts to educate patients and encourage them to come into the office. The specialized modules are a collection of newsletters that are tailored specifically to improve awareness about risky and costly conditions that practices need to be communicating with their patients about.
By utilizing high-tech solutions that will effectively reach, engage, and jump-start a patient’s investment in their care, your patient becomes the valuable tool that will assist you in meeting preventative and outcome-based requirements.
What’s more, the time saved through intuitive automation gives you more time to focus on their care. You’ll be driving the results that help you meet healthcare reform standards. More importantly, you’ll also be improving outcomes for your patients.
At the end of the day, isn’t that the point?
Learn more about patient engagement technology and streamlining effective patient education. Click here to request a 15 minute demo.
About the author:
Amy LaVange is a professional educator for healthcare providers. She specializes in helping practices reduce inefficiencies and lower costs, so providers and their staff can spend less time worrying about their bottom line and more time caring for their patients. She currently manages communications for Solutionreach, where she consults with their clients and creates educational content to help them establish patient-centered practices by utilizing tools and techniques that allow them to streamline their productivity and improve their patient experience.