On social media and at events like HIMSS, we hear a lot of discussion about this new trend called patient engagement. While there are certainly new tools to help an organization engage the patient, I don’t think it’s fair to say that patient engagement is a new strategy. Patient engagement has always been considered a good thing in practices and healthcare organizations.
The challenge is that we’ve never rewarded those who actually did engage the patient. Healthcare reimbursement has actually discouraged patient engagement despite providers natural desire to want to engage the patient. Every doctor I know would love to sit down with a patient for an hour and really engage them in their health. Unfortunately, we don’t pay them to do this.
While I don’t think we’ll see an over night transition to hour long visits with our doctors, the move to value based reimbursement will finally start rewarding providers who engage deeply with their patients.
The next question doctors should ask is where to start when it comes to patient engagement in this changing landscape. This whitepaper on 5 Elements of a Successful Patient Engagement Strategy would be a good place to start. It provides a realistic strategy for your organization to consider.
The whitepaper also has this great quote from Leonard Kish:
“If patient engagement were a drug, it would be the blockbuster drug of the century and malpractice not to use it.”
Those practices that choose to not have a patient engagement strategy are going to fall behind. This won’t be an issue right away, but it will catch up to many practices who don’t see the coming change.