Patient Engagement: From A Patients Perspective

Let’s drop the buzzwords and the clichés and get down to it. Instead of “patient engagement,” let’s just call it help. How is this solution going to help the patient? If health providers approach patient engagement strategies from their patients’ point of view rather than their own, then they will realise the true outcomes they are seeking.

The first step to success is to not ask, “How can we get patients to do what we want?” Getting the participation you need will not come by trying to force patients to interact with you. When it comes to engagement, patients always want to know, “What’s in it for me?” So, here are the questions you should be asking instead:

- What kind of help do my patients want?

- How/when/where do they want this help to be provided?

- How do I make it as easy as possible for them to get the help they need?

Here are four points that are likely to come back in the patients’ responses to these questions:

1. Make it convenient for me to interact with you how and when I want to.

For some people, it’s all about removing the middleman. Let me message my practitioner directly by email. Let me access the information I need online. For others, they like the comfort of being able to call and speak to an expert when help is needed. Be sure you are catering to the needs of both audiences with multi-channel communication. Remember, it’s not about what you prefer, what it’s what your patient’s prefer and are most comfortable with.

2. Extend connections beyond the clinic or hospital.

A 15-minute appointment with you once every six weeks is unlikely to keep me on track. I need ongoing guidance to follow my care plan once I’m at home on my own. Even if your check-ins are automated by text, phone or email, it shows that you care and are still thinking of me.

3. Give me the tools, resources and support I need to be successful.

A folder full of paper or leaflet is not enough. Instead, break down information into easily digestible pieces of information and make the information actionable so I know what to do with it. If I don’t understand something, I’m not going to do it. Some people are text learners, others respond better to video or audio. Are you going to ignore the diversity of preferences of your patients?

4. Treat me like a unique individual.

No one likes to be just one of the masses. How can you customise the patient experience to make me feel like a valued individual? This will strengthen our patient-professional relationship and increase the likelihood that I will follow your plan of care. Use my name, and please don’t make me repeat myself multiple times, whether in filling out forms or in a conversation.

Patient engagement is a long-term journey, rather than just a destination. The most important part is taking the first step, and health providers should pick a starting point from which to begin.

At Wecudos, our mission is to allow health providers to deliver personalised, data-driven care which results in better patient engagement and improved outcomes. Register your interest at wecudos.com to let us show you how our platform can help increase patient engagement and retention by up to 50%.