Due to changing rules regarding patient readmission and health technology under the Affordable Care Act, many healthcare providers are exploring their options for improving the quality of patient engagement at all levels of the health care experience. What they’ve found is that attitude is as important as innovation to achieving truly effective engagement.
Technology is rapidly becoming a key component of healthcare management. In addition to portable medical devices that reduce the amount of time patients spend in healthcare facilities, electronic health records and patient portals are streamlining a wealth of information that providers use to diagnose, treat, and follow up on patient concerns.
When used properly these latter developments are critical to promoting patient engagement. Patients who are able to not only access their health records but also contribute to them in a digital dialogue gain the ability to notice trends of behavior and symptoms that they can then share with their healthcare provider. Likewise, the provider has a channel through which s/he can reach out to the patient for ongoing care – quite the reverse of the current state of healthcare, the only industry in which the provider waits for the customer (patient) to reach out for service.
Despite the potential benefits, most health facilities continue to balk at the cost of running such a system when they cannot envision the benefits. Instead they settle for a basic patient portal that allows the patient to book appointments and pay bills but does not offer access to medical history or direct communication with the provider. Part of the reluctance stems from a failure to adopt new strategies at all levels of the organization.
Healthcare providers should look more closely at their engagement strategies, however. Improved patient engagement can result in higher rates of post-discharge compliance, which will then reduce the cost of readmissions for the same health concern. In addition, giving patients the necessary tools to participate in their own care is an overwhelming show of empathy for the difficulty of the care process. Patients will have the ability to manage ongoing conditions without constantly needing to travel to the hospital for treatment.
The technology in question is already in various stages of development, but healthcare providers looking to use it in their own organizations must address patient engagement in every area. Boards of directors must actively invest resources into adopting new technologies and solicit feedback from every stakeholder – staff, patients, and outside caregivers – to assimilate all perspectives into a comprehensive engagement strategy. Finally, support must continue beyond the initial implementation and include assistance to patients and regular reporting of results.
Improving patient engagement can lead to exponential leaps in positive patient results, and is a worthwhile goal for healthcare providers. Medical receivable factoring can alleviate the cost concern by providing your facility with the cash flow you need to create and execute a viable engagement plan. Learn more about PRN Funding’s healthcare factoring program and get started today.