How Patient Engagement Technology Helps Increase Patient Satisfaction

Healthcare is undergoing a slow but steady makeover. At the center of this transition is technology. New patient-facing technologies are emerging that help payers and providers meet a broad range of lofty goals. Leveraging the right patient engagement technology can have numerous benefits like helping you circumvent your healthcare system's rigid technology or fundamentally improving patient satisfaction.

Looking to improve patient satisfaction at your clinic or health care organization? Here's a) why it matters and b) how to do just that.

In this post, we're going to focus on how patient engagement technology increases patient satisfaction. Read on, it's the right thing to do.

Increase Patient Participation = Greater Satisfaction

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This may sound overly simplistic, but generally when you're more involved in something and have greater ownership, you tend to feel more satisfied with earned results. In other words, when you're putting effort into something and seeing positive results, you're going to be more satisfied with the process. At its most basic level, this is what patient engagement technology achieves.

A study in BioMed Central called "Using technology to engage hospitalised patients in their care" found that"Patient participation in care is associated with improved patient safety, fewer adverse events, improved healthcare behaviours and outcomes, and higher patient satisfaction with care".

As such, when patients are given tools + guidance + opportunity to participate in their health, they can feel more satisfied with the overall health care they've received.

Different patient engagement technologies or apps help payers and providers achieve a wide range of different goals, tailored to specific organization needs, however the center of it all is "empowering the patient".

What Exactly Patient Engagement Technology/ Participation Should Do:

  • Empower the patient through action. For the most part, patient engagement programs should not be passive. Although some elements in a patient program may include "distraction therapy" as a means to get the patient's mind off of the procedure or a hospital stay, empowering patients to get in the driver's seat of their surgery preparation (or avoidance), risk reduction, symptom mitigation, recovery, etc. is most impactful. According to the Health Education Behaviour journal, "participation is vital for empowering patients to take responsibility and participate in self-care and self-management."

  • Reduce patient anxiety/ fear. When patients are put through a holistic, patient engagement surgery prep, recovery or pain management program, they are offered greater control in treating their ailments or condition. Instead of feeling like they're on a lonely island in the face of pain or an unknown procedure, patients feel like they are more informed and part of their care. By chipping away at their overall preparedness, patients have a clearer understanding of health maintenance and their care plan.

"Delivering care to patients who are invested in their health is so refreshing. I truly believe that patients who invest their time into prehab are better prepared in pre-op meetings, on the day of surgery and an easier recovery", Charlene Frizzera, former COO of Center for Medicare and Medicaid on PeerWell, patient engagement platform.

  • Track and report progress. When a patient has a greater understanding of how far they've come and where they need to go, they can fully appreciate and measure results. Achieving results = improving satisfaction. Your chosen patient engagement technology should show patients their progress (through scientific measure and biometric recording). The other benefit of this tracking is being able to see this data and better understand individual patient risk and profile---data is powerful for you and your patients.

When patients are given the right tools and are shown, in a simple and controlled way, how to be involved in their health, they do better. Reaching patients to ignite stronger participation is a direct pathway to satisfaction.

Greater Outcomes, Lower Risk= Better for Business

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Building on the (prove) assumption that patient engagement technology increases patient participation and overall satisfaction with care received, let's talk actual results!

A study in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that nurses and clinics who used interactive patient engagement technologies saw greater patient outcomes. The study states that, "Research has shown that patients who are more engaged in their care are likely to have better health outcomes and reduced health care costs."

Health affairs even called patient activation and patient engagement the new the new "blockbuster drug" of healthcare, stating that "wherever engagement takes place, the emerging evidence is that patients who are actively involved in their health and health care achieve better health outcomes, and have lower health costs, than those who aren't." Studies of third party administrators, clinics, and hospitals echo these same findings.

In fact, a recent 2019 study found that in the patients that participated in a telehealth prehabilitation/ digital program, 77.2% went home without assistance after TKA surgery. By comparison, in the patient group that did not participate in a patient engagement surgery preparation program (PreHab) just 42.8% were discharged home after surgery.

When patients have better outcomes from surgery, return to home faster, get back to work, and get back to life in less time, they will be more satisfied. Complications from surgery, slower recovery, needing additional treatment, recovering in a secondary care location, and not feeling supported by care teams are all associated with poorer patient satisfaction.

What Does it All Mean?

In 2016, the NEJM Catalyst Insights Council, surveyed 595 U.S health care executives, clinical leaders, and clinicians at organizations directly involved in health care delivery. The survey asked these executives and clinical leaders what the top three benefits of patient engagement technology are. In the survey, 67% of respondents chose the number one benefit being "support patients in efforts to be healthy" with 60% also selecting "provide input to providers on what patients are doing when not in clinic". Adding to this, 75% of respondents found patient engagement apps to be "effective", "very effective" or "extremely effective" in engaging patients.

If there's anything we've learned working with thousands of patients preparing for musculoskeletal surgery, it's that engaged patients are healthier and happier. The other most important takeaway: your patient population is largely untapped when it comes to helping you meet your own goals.

Patients are a powerful tool, when you arm them with the right tools. Learn more about how PeerWell's surgery optimization and avoidance technology is helping patients, payers and providers, like you.

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Hi, I'm Grace. I write and research about hip and knee replacements, PreHab before orthopedic surgery & ReHab. Content advised or co-authored with physicians (MD) and orthopedic surgeons (OS).

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