Posted August 10, 2017

Hardwire a Culture of Patient Engagement

Part 4 of this insight series focused on physicians engagement. In this fifth and final installment of the series, we’ll outline evidence-based strategies for engaging patients and family members in their care.

Patients are the ultimate stakeholders in healthcare and the key to solving the cost crisis. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, account for the majority of deaths and more than 75 percent of the nation's medical care costs. Since the average patient sees a clinician just 20 minutes a few times a year, it's critical to activate patients to advocate for their own wellness.

Why do two patients who seem clinically similar see different outcomes? While one 70-year-old woman with diabetes may follow through on her doctor's lifestyle recommendations and take medication as prescribed, another patient may do nothing...and have a very different result.

Activation is Developmental

0-100 point interval scale

Level 1 (less activated) patients deserve more time and resources than Level 4 (highly activated) patients who are better able and more likely to self-manage care.

Level 1 (less activated) patients deserve more time and resources than Level 4 (highly activated) patients who are better able and more likely to self-manage care.

Patient engagement is key to managing costs. That’s why optimizing for bundled payments, for example, is so important. Another example – care transition calls -- creates organizational alignment that extends care beyond the bed. They are proven to:

  • Improve clinical efficacy
  • Reduce patient complaints and claims
  • Improve patient perception of care and HCAHPS results
  • Reduce patient anxiety


After discharge, did you receive a call from the hospital regarding your stay?

Patient Perception of Care = Improved HCAHPS Results

When patients receive a call after discharge, their perception of care improves.

Healing Patient Engagement

As someone who suffered a cervical spinal cord injury that resulted in permanent paralysis at the age of 12, Kris Ann Piazza, a Studer Group coach, has a firsthand understanding of why it is so important to engage patients in their own care.

"I was just a baby, and my family had never experienced anything like my injury," she explains. "We didn't know what questions to ask, or even that we could challenge things we were told, which led to mistrust. I disengaged from my caregivers, and I know that lack of engagement prolonged my recovery process."

While healthcare professionals cannot make a patient want to engage in their own care, Piazza does believe they can facilitate an environment where patients feel empowered to participate.
"Patients need to know you care about them as people before they can trust you enough to engage with you in a meaningful way," she adds. "That's why it's so important to put patients at the center of their own care, even if it inconveniences your processes."

We hope you enjoyed this five-part insight series. Don’t forget - you can view the full conference proceedings infographic anytime.

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