A healthcare traveler engaging with a patient

Patient Engagement Strategies for Providers and Travelers

Apr 20, 2023

The healthcare industry is complex, and it can be intimidating for patients and their families. Many struggle to obtain, process, communicate, and understand the information given or services offered because they lack health literacy or a proper understanding of their medical conditions. However, like most things in life, scary things can become less overwhelming when you feel supported.

When we talk about actively prioritizing patient engagement, we’re discussing the broader approach to patient care where patients are engaged in the treatment process by practicing preventive care and other activities like following drug regimens and exercise. Involving patients in gathering information to make decisions regarding their symptoms, conditions, and treatment procedures can significantly affect their overall recovery. So, the question becomes, “how can healthcare providers and their travelers engage patients more?”

What providers can do to increase patient engagement

1. Automate where you can

Automating patient education, referrals, appointment reminders, patient surveys, etc., using chatbots and other AI-powered tools can be a very potent way to boost patient engagement. By letting patients have more control over managing their scheduling, information gathering is more reliable and straightforward. Automation can also help your staff, as they will no longer be slowed down by repetitive tasks, helping combat staff shortages and burnout.

2. Provide accessible resources for patients

A single access point, like a patient portal, where patients can obtain information and solutions about their conditions, symptoms, recovery, and treatment procedures can lead to better patient engagement. When people are better informed about what’s happening to them and how to navigate it, they can be more motivated to take an active role.

Provide readily available resources like educational videos, brochures, and demos through various channels and languages to educate patients. To simplify things further, it is wise to utilize automated notifications and reminders that can give insights into why their pending appointments or procedures are essential.

When patients know what and why they have to do things, they can be more inclined to go through with the appointments because they become invested.

3. Encourage shared decision making

Encouraging shared decision-making respects patients’ rights to have a say in the decisions made about their healthcare. Though this might be against standard healthcare practices, this technique involves educating patients about all the details of their illnesses and treatment options. It creates autonomy for them when they may feel helpless, which can be encouraging. 97% of patients prefer providers who engage in shared decision-making.

4. Ask for feedback

Like any customer service field, the experience should be at the center of any patient engagement strategy. So, to improve and enhance the patient experience, the best tool is feedback. Conducting feedback exercises will help identify an organization’s strengths and gaps that need to be addressed. Even taking individual input and acting on it can go a long way toward improving patient engagement. When patients see that a facility takes suggestions and thoughtfully works to strengthen those areas, they will likely be motivated to follow through on their health plans with said organization or facility because they trust them.

What travelers can do

1. Increase family participation

Everyone wants support. Research shows that family engagement in an older individual’s health care can help improve a patient’s mental health and motivation to continue with a course of care. For example, a patient facing multiple chronic conditions might fall into a cycle of depression. Someone close and trusted to them can ensure that they’re eating well, exercising, and taking their medications as prescribed. These actions can go a long way toward preventing and managing their illnesses— and potentially keeping them out of the hospital.

2. Prioritize patient advocacy

Every patient has a different background, medical history, fears, cultural beliefs, and experiences that have shaped their impression of medical care. Understanding and respecting these influences can prove vital for patient engagement. Because nurses and other healthcare professionals are typically the first points of contact, they may rely on your expertise and support to help navigate their experience. Advocating for your patients also means helping them feel safe.

3. Ensure confidentiality

To further be an advocate, patients should feel confident enough in their nursing staff to maintain their rights and give information regarding their health status.  Nurses must understand when they should step in and help the patient accept or understand information and when it’s more appropriate to provide patients the space to make decisions about their well-being. Knowing which instances are appropriate for emotional support will help patients become more empowered in their health literacy without becoming overwhelmed.

How GetMed can help with patient engagement

Whether you are a traveler or a provider, your experience with GetMed will be unlike many other staffers. Our core values of integrity, excellence, and quality shine through every interaction because we know the power of community engagement.

Looking for a healthcare staffing partner that can help you grow? Contact GetMed today to learn more.