Having a great plan of care is important for a successful surgery and an optimal recovery, but the plan is only valuable if it’s followed. Engagement ensures patients become active stakeholders in their own health, empowering them to reach out proactively for the information they need. It also drives adherence, keeping patients on track toward a successful recovery.
With automated daily engagement, providers can connect with patients before surgery, during their inpatient stay and after discharge. Doing so helps alleviate fears and anxiety about the risks and unknowns surrounding an upcoming surgery or medical procedure. By filling in the blanks and managing expectations, providers can instill a sense of security and inspire active self-care management throughout the healthcare journey.
Here are four tips for care teams looking to engage more deeply with their patients using digital health technology:
1. Make it convenient
Demand for access to providers using digital health technology as standard practice is on the rise.
Roughly 92% of patients believe that healthcare consumer experience should top every provider’s list of strategic improvements according to a survey by Black Book. Convenience and accessibility go a long way to satisfying and empowering patients. They’re more likely to ask the right questions and follow their discharge instructions.
While paper discharge instructions and call centers still hold some value, they can no longer be the only methods for educating and engaging patients. In fact, instant access to healthcare providers is so important that “90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with healthcare providers that don’t deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience,” according to Black Book research.
With digital consumer health solutions like GetWell Loop, organizations can cultivate both provider loyalty and digital access. Patients are looking for a user-friendly, simple experience that connects them to both their provider and their care. Ensure that they return again and again by putting the ability to engage into their own hands, allowing them to connect at the right time, in the right way.
2. Keep it simple
Set patients up for success to get well and stay well by keeping information simple to comprehend and follow.
The healthcare industry is full of jargon, acronyms and complex information. Speaking in industry lingo may be fine when clinicians are communicating with one another, but not when explaining discharge instructions. It can be a challenge for anyone to remember all of the details relayed to them as they’re preparing to go home, but it can be especially difficult for those with low health literacy.
Rather than packaging all necessary post-surgical care and treatment instructions into a mass of paper that can be easily lost, overlooked or discarded, patient engagement solutions can deliver bite-sized pieces of information over time so that patients don’t feel bombarded with detailed instructions and information all at once. Materials like pre-op checklists and educational resources are presented in a concise, easy-to-understand format. Assume patients are looking for a guiding hand and careful, friendly explanations. It’s time digital solutions provided just that.
3. Minimize barriers
Eliminate communication breakdowns that can lead to preventable adverse outcomes by making it painless for patients to connect to providers in real time.
Patients don’t always feel comfortable sharing concerns related to their recovery, sickness or injury. Some, not wanting to burden them with a phone call, may avoid contacting their provider. Others may downplay their symptoms or feel unsure about how to accurately explain what they’re experiencing.
Technology like GetWell Loop establishes a real-time line of communication between patients and providers. From the comfort of home, patients can compose a message to their provider that thoughtfully details their questions and concerns. If struggling to accurately describe a problem, they can also include photographs with their message.
An easy-to-use interface makes it less intimidating for patients to reach out. Anyone who’s used popular social media platforms will intuitively know how to send a message to their healthcare provider using a tool like GetWell Loop. Unlike placing a phone call, patients don’t feel as if they’re bothering anyone by asking a question through the platform. This increases engagement and ensures patients are getting the care and answers they need at home.
4. Inspire active participants
Putting information and personalized health education content at patients’ fingertips can make the recovery process feel less daunting.
We all want to feel in control of our lives. This is especially true for patients recovering from a medical procedure or hospitalization.
Automated daily communication and reminders motivate patients to become actively involved in self-care management. If something doesn’t feel right while recovering at home, they’re empowered to use information and resources readily available through their digital care management software. They get the answers they need to assess the urgency or severity of their symptoms, and information on whether those are a normal part of recovery or an indication of something more serious.
Providers can’t possibly be everywhere at once. Help bridge the gap by facilitating high-quality interactions.
The bottom line
For patients, access to information, support and timely communication not only relieves anxiety; it also helps prevent complications and hospital readmissions. Knowing their care team will still be there to support them with regular check-ins and ongoing follow-up care once outside the hospital’s walls becomes reassuring. This kind of personalized, high-touch approach creates an impactful patient engagement experience, making patients feel more at ease and confident that they’re always in safe hands.