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How patient engagement solutions improve outcomes and transitions of care

September 15, 2023
Business Affairs Health IT
Dr. Will O’Connor
By Will O’Connor

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry faces several challenges impacting the quality of patient care, further eroding the patient experience. First and foremost, healthcare workers are reaching their limit with burnout, prompting 47% to leave the profession. This strains the remaining workforce, resulting in less direct support for patients who consequently feel the effects. Robust patient care inevitably disintegrates when patients are less engaged in their care plan and experience communication barriers and a lack of support from physicians and nurses.

Communication barriers and transitions of care
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Effective communication within the healthcare ecosystem is crucial, particularly when multiple practitioners oversee a patient's care, as patients expect cohesive support. With numerous staff involved, communication and treatment plan details can get bottlenecked, as many hospitals and transfer center staff rely on fragmented methods of communication, including pagers, faxes, and phone calls. This often leaves the patient feeling unsupported and disengaged, severely impacting the quality of care they receive in the hospital and when they transition to home care or an outpatient facility.

Transitions of care (ToC), transitioning patients from one care setting to another, offer healthcare providers valuable opportunities to enhance and maintain patient engagement. The healing and recovery process doesn't end when a patient leaves a hospital or medical facility; this is where it begins, and the need for consistent, coordinated care is crucial. To calm the mental and physical chaos in the field, enhance patient engagement, and streamline collaboration amid ToC, many hospital systems and facilities are turning to technology as a support system.

Exploring patient engagement tools
Modern patient engagement tools have revolutionized interactions between patients and healthcare providers, empowering patients to take a more active and informed role in their care. These tools leverage digital platforms, mobile devices, and interactive communication channels to ensure continuity of care by securely and efficiently sharing Electronic Health Records (EHRs) among providers, facilitating care coordination among various specialists, and providing patients with personalized care plans, lifestyle guidance, and self-management tools to manage their conditions beyond the hospital. This results in reduced patient wait times, minimized test duplications, and a more cohesive care plan, ultimately raising the quality of care by increasing patient engagement, responsiveness, and behavior-targeting rates. Additionally, these tools promote adherence to post-hospital care plans by providing appointment reminders, follow-ups, educational materials, and more through video, voice, or SMS text messaging.

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