Datica Blog

Patient Engagement: Healthcare Organizations vs. Healthcare Consumers

Mohan Balachandran
Mohan Balachandran

Datica Alumni — Former Co-Founder

August 31, 2015   Engagement

There are two broad classifications facilitated towards patient engagement: organizational and individual. Organizational-level engagement implementations are executed by means of change in policies, processes, systems, procedures, or structures. On the other side, individual-level engagement tactics are enacted to reshape knowledge, demeanors, or skills through various tools for educating and engaging the individual. These two ranks are not mutually exclusive though. Individual-level tools can support organizational-level interventions and individual characteristics can be aided by organizational support.

Organizational Engagement can be categorized into four main groups:

  1. The Team. Engagement tactics utilized with patients and family members by the healthcare team can include bedside rounds, patient/family facilitated response groups, efforts to encourage familial participation, and granting access to medical record information.
  2. Enabling Open Dialogue. Knowledge of the staff members that are involved in a patient’s care and a strategy for guiding clinician-patient interactions are examples of ways to facilitate communication between patients and providers.
  3. Patient Education. Strategies to strengthen engagement can include establishing systems for care coordination, creating systems for patients/families to track medications and health records, clinician communication, and allowing access to PHI.
  4. Management Input. Family advisory councils can be implemented at the healthcare enterprise level, but also simply allowing opportunities for patients to be involved and elicit feedback can prove to be a powerful engagement tool.

There are four classifications for engagement at the individual level as well:

  1. Active Involvement. Majority of engagement tools fall into this category and address patient safety, provider communication, care coordination, and infection prevention.
  2. Partnerships. Individuals can become part of councils to advise organizations so their voices can be heard while providing guidance for healthcare entities as to what consumers desire.
  3. Professionals. Almost all engagement tools are focused towards clinicians vs. the broad range of healthcare professionals. These tools are almost always applicable to solely physicians and nurses.
  4. Leadership. Most of these components can be narrowly focused on steps and tips for organizations to promote and support internal change.

Overall, there is a lot of room for improvement in the world of patient engagement. More tools need to be created to measure effectiveness, feasibility, and efficacy. In addition to that, an environmental scan needs to be sought to identify gaps and to target appropriate audiences.

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