It’s well understood that patient engagement leads to better outcomes. A powerful way to boost engagement is by delivering a personalized care experience so that patients can manage their condition in a way that best aligns with their lifestyle and goals.
Two of the most effective patient engagement initiatives include: 1) clinicians spending more time with patients and, 2) shared decision making. Although clinicians would prefer more face-to-face time with patients to better assess their healthcare vision, there isn’t enough time in the day to do so. How can providers and clinicians help patients feel more empowered and engaged in their plan of care long-term in a way that’s realistic?
As patient engagement takes center-stage, many providers are merging technology with 1:1 communications in a way that focuses on the individual – not just their condition – and bringing it to scale. Find out how.
Key Features of a Personalized Patient Experience
Providers have countless digital technologies at their fingertips to improve the patient care experience. From patient portals and smartphone apps to texts, voicemail, and email to name just a few. However, at the heart of patient engagement is communication and collaboration. The fancy bells and whistles of technology may deliver streamlined and “directed” communication, but if they don’t provide a method to deliver tailored conversation that is specific to the individual, then it’s unlikely these efforts will realize maximum impact.
Personalized care at scale must go beyond providing material specific to a patient’s condition and general interests based on gender, age, and socioeconomic status. To effectively inspire engagement, platforms must also include the following key features:
● Conversational, linguistic-appropriate dialogue that invites patients to ask questions and get answers in a response format that feels intimate and personal.
● Flexibility to adjust care paths and goals that adapt to natural life transitions each patient inevitably journeys through. For instance, parenthood, a new job, or retirement are moments in which an individual may reevaluate their personal health goals. As such, digital-first platforms must have the flexibility to adapt to these transitions so the plan of care stays relevant and feasible.
● Enhanced patient experiences that encourage fun and memorable interactions.
● Deliver tailored two-way communication that fosters rapport, trust, and more meaningful opportunities for engagement and empowerment among diverse patient populations.
Digital healthcare platforms that harness these key elements are better positioned to deliver personalized care at scale.
How Does Personalized Healthcare Improve Patient Outcomes?
More providers and clinicians recognize it’s not enough to reach out to patients and provide treatment plans and guidance based on the condition alone. This strategy risks a lack of response and resolve from patients. Nor is grouping patients into “buckets” based on socioeconomic status such as interests, age, race, or gender adequate. For a truly personalized approach that is transformative, a two-way dialogue must occur in which patients ask questions and are given the education, tools, and guidance to develop healthy habits to get on the road to long-lasting health outcomes.
A study that focused on the costs of care between patients that received “usual” support from health coaches and another group that received “enhanced” support which included more tailored contact with health coaches via email, text, and phone yields great insights. The enhanced support group demonstrated results that suggest protective benefits of personalized attention. The enhanced group of patients saw the following improvements over the usual group:
● 5.3% reduction in total medical costs
● 12.5% fewer inpatient admissions
● 2.6% fewer ER visits
● 9.9% fewer surgeries
This study also suggests that “remote” models of support that combine 1:1 communication with digital interventions may offer a high reward/minimal cost to better patient outcomes through patient engagement.
How 1:1 Communication Works for You and Your Patients
Providers and clinicians appreciate that more active clinician/patient time may lead to more deeply engaged patients. Until recently, this investment would require more time with each patient, and likely fewer patients seen overall each day resulting in less income.
With automated 1:1 conversations, providers can help their patients be better engaged with their plan of care and positioned to experience better health outcomes. All this at a cost and time-savings for everyone involved.
It’s essential for providers to incorporate digital health platforms that are driven by authentic, automated 1:1 conversations that speak to who the patient is and tailored to how they envision their care to be.
Effective platforms must have the capability to dive deep into what truly motivates an individual as well as be responsive to life transitions that may influence an individual’s personal healthcare goals. In doing so, providers, clinicians, and patients may forge a true partnership based on communication and trust. The result? Mobilization of diverse patient populations that are confident in their competencies to practice healthier habits and achieve their best health possible.
About Tim Aumueller
Tim Aumueller is co-CEO of Avidon Health, a health engagement and behavior change company. Tim is an innovator in the healthcare industry with extensive experience engaging patients in health improvement programs within some of the largest healthcare systems including RWJ Barnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian UMC, and Atlantic Health System.