When a patient gets diagnosed with a chronic disease and indulges in a long term treatment, the person should know about the treatment procedure which is being used. The patient should be also able to have a constant communicative engagement with the doctors and clinicians so that better and enhanced care can be provided. Advanced digital technology has made communication more flexible and simpler that has allowed a person to be connected to the world very easily. In the healthcare industry, this type of technology has helped develop advanced healthcare IT infrastructure and increased patient engagement.
There have been various such benefits of modern communication technologies in the healthcare sector among which healthcare experts are considering the increased patient engagement to be the most beneficial. When patients are educated about their treatment procedure they tend to become more accepting of each step in the path to healing and have fewer doubts about what kind of treatment they are receiving. Healthcare leaders also have claimed that better engagement of the patients also makes them become a part of the decision making regarding their own healthcare. The engagement tools are often standard software platforms that make patients and doctors have a much detailed engagement which leads to improved outcomes and even lower costs of daily treatment. Personal digital technologies are made so user-friendly that anyone can access the internet through them and use the other applications as well.
It has been also a major concern for healthcare leaders how patients often get misinformed about their treatment when they depend on the internet. The patients are using smart healthcare technologies like medical wearable devices and other equipment to get monitored but proper retrieval of the data and providing it to the medical professionals is much more important. Many people also fail to make the distinction between the correct information with the incorrect ones on the internet and that leads to confusion and wrong knowledge. This happens most of the time in the case of patients due to the lack of genuine and analyzed engagement resources.
Thus the healthcare leaders are often giving the message to embrace patient engagement by all healthcare organizations and provide the patients access to health resources. The experts are again advising the medical facilities to keep the patients engaged with their care facilities and treatment structure. Healthcare organizations should have a more empathetic approach towards the patients that would make them more comfortable in their care procedure. Many patients suffer from chronic diseases and need to frequently visit hospitals for long term treatment. These patients slowly form a strong bond with their caregivers and doctors and expect a non-professional approach to the conversations many times. Patient engagement does involve many aspects of involving the patient in the whole treatment process and doesn’t deal with increasing the check-ins.
The effects and benefits of patient engagement
The concept and processes of ‘Patient Engagement’ are not a makeshift arrangement during the covid pandemic phase and would witness various developments in the future. Healthcare leaders are further claiming that patient engagement has immense potential to improve the existing treatments and also make the patients heal in a shorter span. This will be possible due to the modern technologies used in patient engagement along with the detailed availability of the patient’s symptoms, vitals fluctuation and drug effects on a daily basis.
When specialized doctors go through this kind of data and also make use of advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning then it becomes much easier to understand the health issues on a deeper level and provide personalized treatments. The patients can thus have a better treatment experience with the help of patient engagement strategies which will also reduce their overall expenditure in the treatment. Patient Engagement not only deals with the active involvement of the patients but sometimes also involves the patient’s families, caregivers and other clinicians who might be in the treatment process remotely. This sort of involvement at various times provides a broader picture of the patient’s disease and health problems which could have been missed if not for Patient Engagement. The active involvement from patients in the treatment also makes patients more disciplined with the treatment restrictions and recommendations by the treating doctors.
After a patient receives the initial diagnosis many patients are being treated remotely through Telehealth and Telemedicine procedures. As these treatment processes happen remotely without the admission of the patient into the hospital, often patients don’t maintain the correct medication time or the food chart. When the same patients remain under an engagement process with the medical facility then it has been identified that the patients maintain a disciplined life and are more concerned and aware about their health condition. The patients remain under a daily check-in most Patient Engagement processes and thus remain more responsive and have queries about their health improvements.
If patients are not actively involved in managing their health and learning about their health conditions then treatment procedures do not become effective and the healing process gets delayed. In several health organizations, Patient Engagement is given high priority and clinicians are providing health education and inspiring habits which would enhance the lifestyle of the patients and account for their improved health condition. The use of medical devices like wearable gadgets and other healthcare IT empowered software platforms have made Patient Engagement processes yield better outcomes.
Healthcare facilities are even combining the modern techniques with the old ones like providing written care plans and using community resources to have better treatment outcomes. When the patients understand about the disease and the health problems they are suffering from and even understand the treatment procedure that is taking place then having better health outcomes in much less time becomes more certain.
Health Literacy and the other practically analyzed facts about Patient Engagement
When patients have received the right form of health education from the healthcare organization their health literacy becomes an important aspect in their complete cure and healing. According to some medical statistics in the US it has been found that patients who have a low health literacy rate are 4.5 times more susceptible to post-surgical infection in comparison to the patient’s who have health literacy to the required degree. The healthcare leaders are also claiming that the Patient Engagement process does bring positive outcomes for physicians too and not only the patients. In medical facilities, many patients find it very difficult to bear the entire cost of their treatment which becomes much higher in chronic diseases.
Many US citizens also don’t have valid medical insurance all the time which raises the necessity to arrange large funds in a very short time. The patients who are advised to make visits to the hospital or doctors once every month or a very similar period often don’t visit the medical facilities in time. Due to this treatment gets stopped and the underlying disease or other health problems don’t get cured completely. According to another patient statistics it has been found that forty-three percent of patients had agreed that they didn’t make the advised medical visits due to the expenditure. The percentage is quite alarming and procedures like Patient Engagement can help in improving these statistics and improve the statistics on the health of a population.
Several healthcare leaders are advising to include financial and health cost discussions as well in the patient engagement systems which had already been implemented by some organizations and medical facilities. Family members also do have an important role in patient engagement and often doctors are including them as a part of their care group. When any patient undergoes surgery or gets discharged from the hospital the patient remains in need of proper monitoring and care. This vulnerable phase is better handled in family members, clinicians of the engagement team and the household caregivers are included in one single Engagement program.
The statistics also reveal that hospital readmissions rates reduced when family members were more involved in the patient engagement program along with the patient. Although healthcare leaders have confessed that Patient Engagement programs are not embraced globally as they should have been by now. They had claimed that better integration between health organizations, healthcare IT companies and businesses needs to occur for developing the Patient Engagement structure and adapting the benefits of it in a widespread manner.
The healthcare information also needs to be provided to patients and family members in a more organized platform where they can get easy access whenever required. The patient engagement tools should first receive global acceptance from most healthcare organizations and should be practically implemented in their treatment procedures. Wherever patient engagement policies have been used there has been noticeable benefits with better ease of treatment.
Endnote on Patient Engagement Implementation
The healthcare and medical professionals need to be first aware of the whole Patient Engagement process and its benefits before it gets implemented in a health organization. If the staff themselves don’t understand the patient engagement solution and the technological platforms which get used in the process then it would be quite difficult to witness the benefits both at the patients and the healthcare facilities end. Once the patient engagement structure gets implemented it is also important to monitor the process closely as some changes might be required to set up the ideal patient engagement structure in the specific health organization.
The medical data which gets obtained through the patient engagement processes should be stored in a secure manner with the patient’s history as it does provide vital research opportunities when the data for the same disease gets integrated from several organizations. The Patient Engagement structure is more like an opportunity in front of all health organizations to improve and develop their existing treatment procedures.