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Patient Engagement In Healthcare – What Is It?

Rachel Maltese
Updated April 22 2021
Patient Engagement in Healthcare - A doctor sits with an older patient over a tablet
Rachel Maltese
Updated April 22 2021

Healthcare and health outcomes are some of the most pressing issues for any society. From societal well-being to economic performance, how people receive and respond to healthcare – even in non-pandemic times – is important. Patient engagement in healthcare is a critical part of this and can help doctors, hospitals, and other providers achieve better outcomes for their businesses and their patients.

 

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What is Patient Engagement in Healthcare?

Patient engagement in healthcare refers to how patients interact with their health. This includes how and to what extent they gather information about their medical conditions and symptoms, whether they seek out professional help when needed, and what level of compliance they exhibit when it comes to treatments and preventative actions. Ultimately patient engagement is a measure of interest in health, action about well-being, and partnership with medical providers, family, and public policy to achieve desired outcomes.

 

Here are some common examples of what patient engagement in healthcare can look like:

  • A patient notices new symptoms, researches them online, and decides to reach out to their medical provider to assess the situation. After a telemedicine visit, the provider prescribes medication and links the patient to information that helps them understand how to use the medication properly.

 

  • After receiving a communication from their provider on the importance of preventative care, a patient schedules a yearly check-up, which results in an easily treatable condition being revealed.

 

  • A patient looking to get healthier logs into a video portal created by their provider to get information on the safest way to begin a new exercise program.

 

  • A medical practice that has experienced lost revenue and scheduling problems due to last-minute cancellations and no-shows can reduce these problems through patient engagement activities that provide personalized reminders of appointments.

 

  • A patient who has experienced medical trauma in the past and has avoided appointments in the past becomes more proactive about their health after having the opportunity to learn about procedures and build trust with providers in advance through remote technologies.

 

Patient engagement in healthcare

Why Is Patient Engagement in Healthcare Important?

Patient engagement in healthcare is important because it results in better outcomes for everyone. A 2013 study showed that this includes fewer urgent care and ER visits, fewer elective surgeries, and lower healthcare costs. These factors, when combined, serve to make life better for patients and to reduce the burden on our healthcare system – leaving more resources available for acute care needs (and, right now, for pandemic response).

Patient engagement in healthcare saves money for providers and patients alike. It also saves lives through preventive care, treatment compliance, and better resource allocation. Positive psychological effects around trust and loyalty also serve to benefit providers and patients alike.

 

Who Uses Patient Engagement?

The end-users of patient engagement tools are anyone who is currently or might ever seek medical care and their families. Some of the people who can most benefit from patient engagement tools include new adults, who are learning to manage their healthcare independently for the first time; individuals, such as pregnant people, experiencing major medical changes; and older patients who may need more support to remember appointments and proper medication usage.

But while patient engagement is very much about consumer demand (who hasn’t anxiously googled their symptoms in the last year?), its availability is led by doctors, medical offices, hospitals, and other healthcare groups and providers.

 

Why is Video Critical to Patient Engagement in Healthcare?

While video is not technically a requirement for a healthcare-focused patient engagement solution, it is essential. Video allows patients and providers to connect and communicate more effectively and benefit from facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language. Video is also is an ideal tool for helping people understand their conditions and treatments, as people across all age groups increasingly report that they prefer to learn via video. Finally, video-based patient engagement solutions can – or at least should – come with analytics to help you track how patients are using the tools.

 

Patient engagement in healthcare - doctor consults via video conference call

 

What to Consider When Choosing a Patient Engagement Solution

When looking for a video-focused patient engagement solution for your practice, hospital, or other medical organization there are several key factors you’ll want to take into account to effectively reach the largest share of your patients.

 

  1. Accessible on all platforms and devices

Let’s face it – we all access information and the internet differently. This is true of your patients and your staff, so make sure you choose a video platform for patient engagement that will work regardless of what operating system or type of device is being used. From desktops to mobile, video should be high quality and look like it was designed to be delivered to the device in question with no glitches or lag.

 

  1. Easy to use without downloads or installation

Patient engagement in healthcare is all about overcoming barriers for patients. This means any patient engagement solution you implement must be easy to use. This means no software to download or install. A single click should be able to get your patients where they’re going.

 

  1. White label branding

To keep patients focused on their health and care, you don’t want to distract them with other brands and products. Patients just want a high-trust experience that reassures them they are communicating directly with their doctor’s office or another medical provider. For this, white-label branding – which allows you to customize your platform to match your organization’s look and terminology – is essential.

 

  1. Availability of captioning

Accessibility is a key part of patient engagement in healthcare. For this reason, captioning should be part of the solution you choose. This is particularly helpful for medical providers who work with older populations, but truly benefits all patients, who may be encountering some medical terminology for the first time.

 

  1. Availability of translation

Much like captioning, translation options are essential if you want a patient engagement solution that can reach all of your clients and their families. Translation helps information be available to everyone. It also builds trust and highlights that you understand that there is always a cultural context component to healthcare.

 

  1. Interactive features for a lean-forward experience

While studies have shown that people of all age groups prefer learning through video, it’s also important that you make that video engaging. A video-focused patient engagement in healthcare solution should be effective at holding the attention of your patients. Options like choose-your-own-path videos can help patients learn about their conditions in a way that’s most interesting and comfortable for them. Tools like in-video quizzing can help you verify a patient understands how to use a medication or how to prepare for an upcoming surgery.

 

  1. Live and recorded video options

Sometimes, your patients will be best served by learning and researching on their own. But you may also wish to reach them live and directly, whether for a telemedicine call or a webinar with multiple participants on a health interest or issue. With options to provide both live and pre-recorded video, your patient engagement solution will address the needs of more or your patients more often.

 

  1. Ability to share content in other formats during video

Video is great. But sometimes patients need information in other formats. Make sure you’re using a video platform for your patient engagement solution that also allows you to share documents and presentations so that patients can read and review materials after your video communication.

 

  1. Video email

Sometimes patient engagement in healthcare is as simple as getting patients to open their email. But let’s face it, we’re all swamped with email, and messages can and do get put aside for later. You can make sure your emails make more of an impact but using video email. Video email allows a patient to receive a message just like they normally would, but instead of text to read, clicking in the message results in a short video playing. Highly personalized and more memorable, this solution also allows recipients to reply via video using the camera already present in most of today’s computers and mobile devices, building trust and connections between patients and medical care teams.

 

  1. Analytics

To have a truly effective patient engagement platform and to be able to assess its benefits, analytics are essential. You’ll want to know which health information videos your patients are watching and how often. You’ll also want to know if patients stop watching videos in certain locations (perhaps it’s boring, or too long) or repeatedly review specific content (is it extremely useful and encouraging? Or is confusing, requiring multiple watches to understand). Analytics are key to refining your patient engagement in healthcare solution for maximum success.

 

  1. Security

Keeping patient medical information private is essential, and your patients probably already trust you to do that. But they’ll want to know that your patient engagement solution also respects their privacy and won’t share the topics they are researching – whether they’re related to a diagnosis or not.

 

Kaltura Video Solution for Patient Engagement in Healthcare

If you’re looking to get started in boosting patient engagement in their own care, look no further than Kaltura. With an easy-to-use video platform and video creation tools, Kaltura has the solutions you need to connect to your patients. Available on all platforms and devices and with no advance installation needed, Kaltura is both simple to use and a powerful communication tool. From video emails to webinars to creating a library of healthcare information, Kaltura can help you meet the needs of your patients today and tomorrow. With options for captioning and translation, no one is left out. And with finely-sliced, recently upgraded analytics you can see what your patients are most interested in and where they might need additional support. Kaltura’s security is also robust — to protect both the health information content you create and to safeguard patient privacy. Finally, regardless of whether you are looking for patient engagement in healthcare for a small practice or a multi-city hospital system, Kaltura’s solutions are scalable to the size and features you need.

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