January 12, 2016|Categories: Patient Engagement
Patient engagement ranks higher on healthcare organizations’ list of top priorities than ever before.
A growing body of research demonstrates that patients who are knowledgeable about their health and actively involved in decision-making have better health outcomes as well as lower costs.
And as the healthcare system shifts from a fee-for-service model to one that emphasizes value and accountability, providers are focusing more and more attention and resources on helping patients gain the skills they need to effectively manage their health.
The patient intake process offers a valuable opportunity to engage patients early on, before they see a provider.
By leveraging technology to place many of the tasks related to intake – entering demographic information, verifying insurance eligibility, paying co-pays and balances, completing health-related assessments – into the hands of patients, healthcare organizations can help them take a far more active role from the start, setting the stage for deeper patient involvement during and after their visit.
Patient intake management solutions bring plenty of other benefits, of course, including improved efficiency and increased collections. But as healthcare providers look for feasible ways to improve patient engagement and experience, the patient intake process presents an exciting opportunity.
While some healthcare providers might worry about their patients’ willingness and ability to use technology-enabled patient intake solutions, surveys have shown that people like using technology and they’re increasingly open to relying on digital tools to close communication gaps, access health information and participate in shared decision-making.
For instance, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ most recent annual survey of U.S. consumers showed that patients are increasingly interested in partnering with clinicians to make healthcare decisions. The survey also found that patients are putting more trust in health information sources and are using technology more than they ever have before.
More than half of respondents to Deloitte’s survey said they search online for health-related information, and one quarter reported using scorecards to evaluate provider performance. More than 60% of surveyed consumers who use technology said it had a significant effect on their behavior – an especially promising statistic when we think of patient intake.
Not surprisingly, engagement levels vary widely based on a range of factors, including health status, income and age. And people engage in vastly different ways, according to Deloitte’s report, which cautioned against a one-size-fits-all engagement strategy. For instance, a tech-savvy Millennial may need little to no help using an automated patient intake management solution while an older patient with low health literacy may require some assistance. But taking the extra steps to boost engagement across patient groups can really move the needle, especially in high-cost areas like chronic disease management.Its evident patients enjoy using technology and expect to use it to ever-greater degrees in the coming years. Automating the intake process aligns with those preferences and expectations and can offer an effective path to increased patient engagement and improved outcomes from the start.