Improving Patient Engagement through Technology

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patient engagementWithout a doubt, technology has transformed the healthcare industry. From patient portals and electronic health records to mobile applications and wearable devices all designed to improve health, communication, and overall patient experience. Now more than ever, technology is helping patients and providers access medical data quickly and efficiently to enable informed decision making while improving quality, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness.

The significance health technology has had on patient care is evident, but what is noteworthy is the impact it is having on patient engagement. Results from Deloitte’s 2015 Survey of US Health Care Consumers confirm patient engagement is increasing through the use of technology. According to the survey, consumers are becoming more trusting of technology and health information online. Over half of patients surveyed reported searching online for health-related information. There has also been a significant increase in the use of social media, patient portals, and performance scorecards (performance data for doctors, hospitals, and health plans). Additionally, the use of health improvement technology and tech-based monitoring has nearly doubled in the last two years. More healthcare organizations are implementing e-prescribing, telehealth, and online appointment scheduling. Patients are naturally becoming more engaged in their care as access to new health technology has increased. In fact, over 60% of consumers reported the utilization of health technology has had a significant impact on their behavior. What is most relevant about these growing numbers is their correlation to improved patient outcomes.

Growing evidence demonstrates the role technology has on improving patient engagement, quality, and outcomes. Most healthcare organizations have not only taken notice and they have taken action. In 2015, 98% of hospitals had executed meaningful use, and nearly 7 in 10 hospitals now provide patients with the ability to review, copy, and send their medical records online. The use of patient engagement EHR functionalities has also increased, as more healthcare institutions are adapting to the consumer-driven marketplace. Although the shift was seemingly inevitable, a combined result of government regulation and consumer demand. It looks as though the industry has acknowledged, accepted, and implemented these changes with the exception of a few outliers.

Healthcare organizations and providers must be open to adopting new technologies for patients to benefit from them, and the majority of those decisions are made based on their cost-effectiveness and efficacy. As the evolution proceeds toward a fee-for-service payment system to a value-based model consumers can expect to see a continued focus on patient engagement.

Moving forward, the healthcare institutions that focus their efforts on providing quality care and creating a superior patient experience through the use of health technologies will remain competitive.  Technology will continue to be a driving force for increasing patient engagement and improving outcomes. Even more so in the future, than ever before.

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