Will Scalable Patient Engagement Ever Become A Reality?
The rise of value-based care has generated a need for better patient engagement. Yet health care organizations are met by complex patient needs and rising healthcare costs per patient. In addition to these factors, chronic disease treatment currently consumes 75% of health care funding, making it more difficult for health systems to allocate finances for patient engagement.
Patient engagement is a two-sided coin. On the one side is a greater need to activate patients in their wellness, support them in their decision making, and help them take charge of their own health. On the other is a critical need for scalable health care solutions that enable health care providers to nurture relationships and patient wellness.
As with all relationships, however, patient relationship management takes time. That’s why, for some, efficient patient engagement seems more like a wish than a reality. It’s for this reason that health care professionals need patient relationship management (PRM) tools to monitor and encourage patient activation.
What Hinders Care Team Efficiency?
Engaging patients while continuing to monitor their progress from afar means that medical practices need to keep track of significant amounts of information. For many care managers, it’s difficult to oversee all this data without letting patients slip through the cracks. And while care teams usually have systems, EHRs, to monitor patients from a clinical perspective, they often have to create a patchwork of systems for patient relationships that don’t allow them to optimize their workflow.
For instance, a relationship management software solution may not give care teams a dashboard that provides a holistic view of each patient or all patients in the program that includes not only medical records but also patient-reported health information from wearables or other patient engagement tools like apps. Care managers may have to go through every patient profile to monitor patients and evaluate their complete care plans.
How Automation is Improving Patient Relationships
It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not: automating patient relationships can help care teams improve personal interactions and encourage patients to take an active role in their health.
If care managers can view the complete picture of patient care plans, they’ll have the right patient engagement strategies in their toolbox that help them know when to reach out with extra help. Conversely, without automation, it’s more difficult to pick up on downward trends or patient drop off. With reminders built into PRM software, teams can keep current with patient statuses even without recent in-person care.
Consider this scenario: a health care system pays highly qualified care managers to oversee their patient relationships. However, because these care managers have to manually monitor patients, they have less time to focus on and address specific patient concerns and they have little insight into patient-reported health outcomes. What could automation do in this scenario?
For one, care teams could set up pre-planned responses to assessments. Depending on a patient’s answers to questions, care teams can either automate a supportive email reply or reach out directly. The key is that automated responses are triggered by a patient’s answers.
This automation can keep patients from slipping through the cracks and help them achieve better health while simultaneously improving care team efficiency.
Enabling Efficient and Scalable Procedures
Automation, applied in the right ways, can be very helpful for care teams, but what exactly are the best ways to implement it into care team workflow?
Gathering data is necessary for improving the quality of care and patient experience. Structured data gives care teams a way to collect information and compare it with previous data to see if the program is truly helping patients achieve better outcomes.
Take, for instance, patient assessments. If patients receive an automated survey about their pain level on a regular basis and a patient inputs that their pain level has increased, care managers can receive a reminder to connect with that patient. Alerts like these help care teams know when to take action and when patients are doing well.
Automated Texts and Emails
Care teams can also set up responses for typical patient questions or messages. In addition, if patients are inactive on their account, an automated email or text can help teams remind them about health goals.
Alerts are another feature of PRM software that help care managers know where they should be spending their time. With automated responses like these, team members can become more efficient, giving them more time to address patient concerns and questions and help increase a patient’s knowledge about their health.
Personalizing Automation for Care Teams
Patient relationship management platforms, like Welkin, provide the means to automate procedures while allowing care teams to customize their workflow. Pre-planned processes help team members communicate better with each other and with their patients.
In addition, Welkin’s platform allows teams to choose conditions that launch automated procedures. Here are some typical reminders and messages that automation can trigger:
- Alerts about patient status
- Reminder to create a care plan
- Reminder to change patient’s phase
- Automated message to a patient (email or SMS)
- Reminder to schedule an event
- Alert to reassign patient’s care manager
Automating patient relationship management can help care teams save time and make patient engagement more scalable, efficient and cost effective.
Are your care managers spending too much time on admin tasks and not enough with patients? Read Why Health Care Companies Struggle To Scale (And How To Fix It).