Patient engagement refers to an ideal healthcare situation in which patients are well informed about and motivated to be involved in their own medical care.
It begins right from early education and awareness stage, moves to physician interaction and finally to appointment follow ups.
Each step allows you to enrich a patient’s life and their journey.
Each step affords you an opportunity to be the patient’s healthcare provider of choice.
Note – I am talking about patient engagement and not patient experience.
Patient engagement consists of 6 stages :
- Research – In this stage a patient performs self-assessment of conditions and symptoms, leading to online research and education, posting questions etc. You can be part of this stage with the SEO tips I shared before. This is where you and your brand are on top of patient’s mind.
- Appointment – First point of contact for help. This includes a patient’s initial contact with your health system via your call center, email, mobile, etc. (i.e., Whom shall I contact? Where can I find it? How can I ask a proper question?). You can very much be a top contender here. Follow the best practices I have shared before about making it super easy to be in touch with you and your business.
- Diagnosis: Assessment of their health condition. This is where a patient visits a medical facility to assess their health condition (physician’s office, hospital, etc.). This is in the hands of your providers and their bedside manners. This is also VERY much dependent on your staff. Be careful and train your staff as well (front-desk and technicians).
- Treatment: This includes on-site and follow-up care (medications, physical therapy, etc.). This is all in the hands of your providers.
- Behavioral / Lifestyle Change: This refers to lifestyle change incorporated by the patient to reduce readmissions and promote proactive health. Patients take account of their own health such as dietary changes, exercise, taking medicines on time. This is very much in your hands (patient education, adherence) and you can be part of this journey by staying in touch with the patient – there are many technological advancements that can help you do this at scale.
- Ongoing Care / Proactive Health: This refers to ongoing care management between patient visits, fostering engagement between the patient & physician and enabling the patient to better manage their own care. Again this is very much in your hands as well and you can be part of your patient’s journey with the help of technology.
I am not going to discuss acquiring patients in their research stage just yet.
For now, let’s look at how you can engage with patients in the rest of the steps (2-6).