As the U.S. healthcare system continues to evolve to a value-based model, population health will take on increased importance. Under the current, service-based model, patients tend to only engage their providers when a condition presents itself. A value-based model seeks to drive regular engagement between patients and providers – not just those who have become sick, but those who are at risk, and even those who are completely healthy.
Patient engagement is a key to not only generating the data required to support population health initiatives, but also to help drive their success. Patients’ daily activities can generate much of the data needed to build predictive health and preventative care models. That can include anything from activity records and dietary habits to remote patient monitoring programs for patients receiving at-home care. To generate this data, patient engagement is a must. There are several components of connected health platforms that can help collect and report patient data.
- RPM Devices – Wearable or manually activated connected devices can automatically transmit data to connected health platforms.
- Web Portals – Can allow patients to report data and review their historical data, health records, and treatment protocols to help them manage their health. They can also help patients easily communicate with providers when they have questions or concerns about their general health, existing conditions, or treatment needs.
- Mobile Apps – Provide a convenient alternative to patient portals that can be accessed anywhere and can be used to send notifications and reminders to patients to keep them engaged.
- Virtual Visits – When patients have questions or need consultations regarding their health, telehealth platforms can enable convenient access to their providers without having to deal with the time and costs of office visits.
Providers can also develop targeted strategies to increase patient engagement leveraging their connected health platforms.
General Wellness –
Automated messages and reminders are an easy way to keep patients informed of healthcare trends and prompt them for specific actions. For instance, reminders for flu shots, annual exams, mammograms, or other recurring activities that are easy to forget can be done using digital engagement. Healthy activity suggestions, new yoga classes, dietary suggestions, and other opportunities for regular health maintenance can also be delivered via newsletters and other automated messages to maintain ongoing engagement with healthy populations.
For at-risk patients, engagement is an important tool for preventing potential health issues. For any given patient population, providers can send automated messages to remind patients of their risks, ways to manage or even reduce those risks and reminders to regularly report specific data to providers. For example, patients that need to monitor their sodium intake might get reminders about their eating habits, along with recommendations for healthy diets. Or, patients who need to manage their weight may get reminders to regularly record and report their weight, with reminders for daily physical activity, that can also be reported to give providers a greater insight into patients’ status.
Chronic Disease Management –
Patient groups with similar chronic conditions can also be sent automated messages about disease management. That might include reminders to monitor glucose levels, heart rates, or other vital signs, or to schedule their next virtual visits to discuss their conditions and treatment programs. Messaging can also be individualized for patients with scheduled reminders based on their specific treatment plans, to help them keep up with their exercise plans, data monitoring, medication intake, or other components of their treatments.
Every digital interaction drives engagement between patients and providers. The key is maintaining regular communication – whether patients are healthy or ill – and helping them become more aware of their health needs and involved in managing their conditions, risks, or simply keeping themselves healthy. Through awareness and regular engagement, patient involvement in their own health can be elevated.
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