In recent years, there has been a great deal of discussion about how to engage patients in their care. Patient engagement has always been considered a good thing in practices and health care organizations. Today it is vital to the business of delivering care. Why the shift? Patient engagement is an essential strategy for achieving the “triple aim” of health care:
• Improving the patient experience. Patients are expecting and demanding greater control over their care. Provisions in the Affordable Care Act now link performance related to patient experience metrics to reimbursement. For the first time, health care organizations—and eventually individual providers—will be paid partly based on how they are rated by patients.
• Advancing population health. Today, health care practices must meet new industry standards that emphasize outcomes instead of services delivered. Practices are on the hook for achieving better cost and clinical outcomes with initiatives such as Meaningful Use, Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
• Reducing costs. Focusing on patient engagement can improve efficiency, reduce out-migration and reduce overall costs of patient care.
True patient engagement refers to:
1. The knowledge, skills, ability, and willingness of patients to manage their own and family members’ health and care
2. The culture of the health care organization that prioritizes and supports patient engagement
3. The active collaboration between patients and providers to design, manage and achieve positive health outcomes.
1. Define your organization’s vision for patient engagement.
2. Create a culture of engagement.
3. Employ the right technology and services.
4. Empower patients to become collaborators in their care.
5. Chart progress and be ready to change and adapt.