Giving your patients the ability to be more active in their overall healthcare is an important part of being a modern practice. The patient engagement experience doesn't fall solely on you as a provider, it's definitely a two way street with the patient.
That being said, there are many ways that you can build a practice culture that encourages and supplies your patients with what they need to be more engaged in their care.
Creating an Office Workflow that Enourcages Patient Engagement
Have the Right Technology
In order to be successful at patient engagement you need to have the right tools in place. The right patient portal technology is going to enhance office workflow by opening up channels of communication with patients, reducing administrative tasks for staff and patients by streamlining appointment scheduling, and allowing patients to view important information about their health like tests results, medication history, and resources on care and treatment options. Ideally, your patient portal will be able to work effortlessly with your practice management and EHR software.
Build Practice Wide Support
Building the case for patient engagement shouldn't fall solely on the OD. Since almost every employee in your practice sees most of your patients during a visit, it should be a team effort towards encouraging patient engagement. Having the right technology in place can only do its job if you and your team are promoting the use of the tools available.
On top of just talking with your patients about the benefits of being active in their own care you can advertise your portal in other ways. Post signs around the office, promote the portal during your hold message on your phone line, or send follow up emails after appointments. If a patient arrives early for an appointment your front desk staff can take a few minutes to walk the patient through the portal and get them updated with how to log in and access their data.
Empower Your Patients
While your patients should want to be engaged in their own healthcare already, it's your job to take the extra step to really get them aware and engaged. Your most engaged patients are going to be those who are seeking out health information on their own, are responsive to treatment plans, participate in their own decision making, and are visiting the online portal to review information and communicate.
Get User Feedback
Take advantage of feedback from both patients who are using the portal, and those who aren't, to find out what changes you might want to implement to improve the experience for everyone. You might find out things like, patients who aren't touching the portal might be influenced by security concerns about their private health information. If that's the case, you can add talking points for your team to go over with patients to help clarify and eliminate any security concerns during the portal set up. The patients who are using the system regularly might be able to offer good insights on both the negatives and positives of the portal.
Be Engaging and Readable
If you're supplying information to your patients through the portal like treatment plans, prescription instructions, preventative care, or educational materials make sure that what you hand over it useful, engaging, and most importantly readable. The last thing your patients want is an overly technical document full of medical jargon about how to care for their diagnosis. Your patients want to get their health information from you because they trust your expertise, but if they can't fully grasp what you are providing them with they are going to look for easier information elsewhere online.