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It’s Time for Administrators to Elevate Patient Engagement

November 21, 2017 written by Bradford Lee and Jake Ingram
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Hospital administrators are under pressure to keep their patients from seeking care from other providers, which means they need to find ways to build patient loyalty.

Some administrators, still grappling with electronic health record systems (EHRs) that are time-consuming and expensive to optimize, are not inclined to view new digital technologies as a means of boosting patient satisfaction and keeping more patients in-network.

But patient engagement technology can do just that. The healthcare providers using an automated system for daily check-ins with patients find that these patients are happier with the care they receive, more likely to share their positive experiences online, and less likely to go to other providers to seek care.

And increasingly, patients are expecting providers to engage with them digitally, and they are gravitating away from medical offices and hospitals that do not offer this opportunity.

 

Not Just Another Technology

As administrators have poured millions of dollars and countless staff hours into implementing new EHR systems, they’re skeptical of new technology. The last thing these administrators want to contemplate is designating IT resources to setting up a new software for their organization.

But patient engagement technology does not resemble an EHR system when it comes to implementation and optimization. A solution like HealthLoop easily integrates with EHRs in use today and implementing and customizing it takes just a fraction of the time, expenditure, and effort of an EHR rollout. Compared to installing EHR, setting up a patient engagement solution feels to many like “flipping a switch.”

Administrators should not view patient engagement as a new kind of technology, but rather a necessity in the delivery of quality care. Information from the patient is the most important data physicians can access as they decide on courses of treatment.

Physicians have been listening closely to patients for centuries; digital technology is the way to continue this indispensable practice even while treating thousands of patients.

 

Building Patient Loyalty

Seeing more patients—and keeping those patients from going elsewhere—are among the top concerns of administrators as they seek to increase market share and stay competitive. 

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 healthcare provider to other people.

Patients who engage daily are also more likely to rate their physician online. When rating the physician according to a five-star system, every added star for a physician equates to an 11 percent jump in referrals.

If administrators want to build loyalty among their organization’s patients while bringing new patients through the door, daily patient engagement is a powerful tool to reach that goal.

 

Enabling Value-Based Care

Administrators have also been occupied with ensuring good financial performance at their organizations during the transition to value-based care, and may not see the correlation between patient engagement and maximized performance.

However, when it comes to performance, we’ve seen a 54 percent reduction in complications, 45 percent reduction in readmissions, and cost savings of $656 per episode when compard with patients not using HealthLoop. This not only achieves goals of improving outcomes but minimizes or eliminates penalties.

Outcomes like these are what’s best for the patient. They’re also best for the hospital struggling to stay relevant in a competitive market.

 

Patients Are Talking

In any competitive business, it’s good to be skeptical of new innovations that purport to effortlessly solve major problems. However, too much skepticism can mean missing out or falling behind on something that adds value and something patients are increasingly going to demand.

We’re already seeing this demand for patient engagement. Patients are increasingly making healthcare decisions based on whether a provider offers the means to communicate regularly with their care team.

Patients who’ve experienced automated daily check-ins do not want to give that up and will go out of their way to stick with a physician who uses this kind of communication. Regular dialogue, it seems, is more important to certain patients than finding a physician located closer to home or work.

 

A Matter of Giving Patients What They Want

Healthcare organizations need to do what they can to keep patients. Patients are increasingly saying they want to be able to engage regularly with their care providers and get the information they want when they want it.

Administrators have the chance to get ahead of the curve and give patients what they want or they will be in a position of playing catch-up later.

More patients today want to regularly engage and more are sharing their experiences, positive or negative, online. Engagement is boosting referrals, building patient loyalty, and growing market share.

Providers who are still on the fence about automated patient engagement should resist viewing this as just another technological or administrative hurdle, and see it as an enabler and amplifier of what has always worked well in healthcare: the human connection between physicians and patients.

This is what patients want. If you are tasked with keeping that patient, it should be what you want too.

 

HealthLoop scales the impact of care teams through the power of patients. 

 

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