Value of patient engagement tools in improving health outcomes
By Jarren Pinchuck — 11 September 2017
Technology tools gaining support with patients.
GPs, specialists and other hospital clinicians are starting to agree that online and mobile-based technology platforms are key for improving patient engagement. A new survey of physicians and hospital caregivers by New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light on how healthcare providers feel about emerging patient engagement technologies.
Five main takeaway points on the value of patient engagement tools (PET) from the survey:
- Encourage patients to be accountable for their own health.
- Identify and curb the behaviours that result in poor health.
- Form a link between the provider, patient and third party information – offering insight about disease and disease management and building support systems.
- Patient engagement tools fill the gap between patient visits.
- Preclude unnecessary follow-ups or hospitalisation.
Technology tools can create an ecosystem that allows for better predictive analytics around patient health and more timely intervention. Two-thirds of health practitioners gave the following reasons for use of engagement tools in their practice:
Support their patients and to provide input on how patients are doing when out of hospital or between face-to-face session.
Improved Adherence to the Care Plan
If the technology can show a patient that the desired metric correlates with their improved symptoms, then the patient will be more likely to adhere to a given care plan.
Texting, which can be used for reminders or encouragement, was identified as the most effective tool by 70% of overall respondents. The survey responses suggest that these tools are most helpful with the management of chronic disease. Respondents rank chronic disease management (at 81%) and support for medication adherence (66%) as the applications best suited for patient engagement tools.
In general, healthcare providers want to deploy more online tools to assist with engagement but are often hindered by hurdles to widespread adoption. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the top two barriers for engagement tool implementation are not covered by insurance companies (51%) and lack of integration with EMRs (46%). Providers themselves shy away from recommending patient engagement technology tools primarily because they don’t know what to recommend (67%).
What surveys like this tell us at a high level is that, as technology improves and patients want to be involved in their care plan, improved patient engagement is highly sought after from clinicians, hospitals and insurers. Better patient experiences make for better patients.
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Source: Analysis of the third NEJM Catalyst Insights Council Survey on Patient Engagement. July 10, 2017.