Physicians and care teams must make time to engage with their patients for a very simple reason: it’s the right thing to do. The more engaged a patient is, the better his or her outcome will be.
But this isn’t the only reason that physicians, hospitals, and health systems should be doing whatever they can to amplify the voice of the patient. It’s also what makes economic sense.
Engaging more closely and more regularly with patients can lift the burden on care teams, increase patient loyalty and referrals, and improve the care model for the impending shift to value.
Providers save lives, but to continue doing so, they must be financially viable. One key to success in business is identifying and utilizing untapped resources. In healthcare, that untapped resource is the patient.
Extending the Care Team
Every provider is strapped for resources, and adding staff to increase effectiveness is not feasible. Instead, providers need to get better at tapping the resources they already have at hand.
Rather than requiring that their physicians and advanced practitioners work longer hours, or onboard additional staff, hospitals can use new technology to bring the patient into the equation in a way that has never been done before.
Making the patient a more active part of their own healthcare is a way to lighten the load on that patient’s care team. An engaged patient can take better care of him or herself at home and knows when and to whom to reach out to for guidance and support. The patient essentially becomes a member of the care team – and there are a lot more patients than there are providers.
Boosting Patient Loyalty
Patients who are engaged daily by their care teams are not only satisfied patients, they are loyal patients. They are highly likely to recommend their provider online, and to steer their friends to the same provider.
At HealthLoop, we’ve found that 92 percent of patients who engage with their care teams via automated, daily check-ins are “Extremely Likely to Recommend” their physicians to other people.
They are also more likely to rate their physician online. When rating a physician on Yelp, Google, HealthGrades, or Vitals, every one-star increase equates to an 11 percent jump in referral volume.
Satisfied, loyal patients don’t just feel good. They boost the bottom line.
Improving Care Team Efficiency
Patients like to feel informed, and we’re enabling that. Prior to HealthLoop, providers didn’t have the time to answer the questions of countless patients following their discharge.
We have automated this process, and now patients are better informed by their digital check-ins and free to seek answers to their questions from their care teams.
We have found that, instead of adding to medical professionals’ workloads, a more informed patient saves time and money. The regular exchange of information means that 84 percent of office visits are avoided, because patients can get the information they need through HealthLoop.
Additionally, we are optimizing care team efficiency by routing the right questions to the right provider at the right time. Our customers report that 66 percent of patient questions are handled by non-clinical staff. Physicians and advanced practitioners are only alerted if a patient is reporting troubling signs or symptoms. This allows everyone to practice at the top of their license.
Transitioning to Value
Regardless of what the federal government ultimately decides about payment model reform, top performing providers across the country are moving forward with value-based initiatives because they absolutely know it is the right thing to do.
The transition they are making involves taking on more financial risk, and at HealthLoop we are configured to optimize financial performance.
Every provider wants to reduce hospital readmissions, whether they are incentivized to do so or not. Providers using HealthLoop have seen a 38 percent reduction in readmissions when compared with national benchmarks, which not only aligns with their goals but also protects them from financial penalties.
Complications experienced by patients after medical procedures are another area of concern for providers. Our customers report 33 percent fewer complications when compared with national benchmarks.
HealthLoop patients are also 58 percent more likely to be discharged to their homes as compared with a national average of discharge to SNF at 23 percent.
These outcomes are what’s best for the patient and provider.
Let’s Be Bold
Regardless of the evidence supporting a strong case for patient engagement, you will likely encounter resistance. Yes, engaging patients is hard, and yes, healthcare is undergoing massive transformation, which is also hard.
When you do encounter nay-sayers, step away from the numbers and ask yourself, “What’s the right thing to do?”
What we’ve learned here at HealthLoop is that patients are delighted, ready, and willing to engage, if we make it easy.
Engaging patients is the right thing to do. But it’s also good for business.
HealthLoop scales the impact of care teams through the power of patients.