5 Compelling Ways to Ensure Telemedicine Patient Engagement

Key Takeaways

  • Surge in digital health during the pandemic not only tackled a shortage of around 54,100 physicians but also marked a significant rise in telemedicine patient engagement, owing to its flexibility and convenience factors.
  • An effective strategy to improve patient engagement is to ask for feedback and surveys, as a majority of people approach a clinic or hospital based on this feedback or reviews.
  • Allowing patients access to medical records under HIPAA guidelines promotes engagement via applications such as patient portals.

According to CDC, in 2021 37 percent of adults used telemedicine, and its usage was seen higher in women as compared to men. Satisfactory engagement with patients through high-quality care and convenience are major factors driving the usage of telemedicine.

Further, enhancing patient engagement is essential for any telemedicine application. Enabling patients to improve their care, lifestyle, and conditions not only ameliorates the outcome but also increases telemedicine patient engagement.

5 Ways to Ensure Telemedicine Patient Engagement

1. Virtual Care

Providing care through virtual appointments increases the efficiency of care delivery and curbs hospital transportation costs. Virtual care puts patients at ease and offers them convenience and flexibility to check in with doctors. This eventually increases telemedicine patient engagement.

Furthermore, from healthcare providers’ perspective, virtual care is a great way to maintain their work-life balance. According to the data published by the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2020, there can be a shortfall of 54,100 to 139,000 physicians by 2033. Virtual care can be a major solution to counter this shortage as physicians will be able to provide care and treatment to a maximum number of people, irrespective of their geographical location.

Stanford Healthcare was able to augment patient engagement through virtual care during the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 75 percent of video visits were arranged for primary care and 20,000 virtual health visits were conducted by Stanford Healthcare.

2. Patient-Centric Care

Patient-centric care engages not only the patient but also family and caregivers in providing the best possible treatment to a patient. Successful family and patient engagement involves listening, being respectful, understanding, and allowing to take decisions freely.

Patients’ feedback and surveys are effective strategies in determining the quality of care offered and to improve patient engagement. According to a research, posted on NCBI, analysis of patient feedback gives direct insight on what’s working and what needs improvement in the way care is delivered.

There are three key ways to assure patient-centric care and they are as follows:

a. Educating Patients about their Conditions

Educating patients about their health, including care management strategies is an effective way to help them achieve their ultimate wellness goals. Patient education enhances engagement as people are curious to know about their conditions and how to best tackle them.

Giving a prep talk about a certain procedure, diet, lifestyle, and routine helps patients to take care of themselves better. Implementing blog features on a telemedicine app or FAQs can educate people who are looking for knowledge or want to know more about their illnesses.

b. High-Quality Care

High-quality care is the extent to which health services are provided to attain positive outcomes. Quality healthcare is defined and measured in several ways such as it should be effective, safe, and people-centered.

Further, high-quality care attracts people and it helps in patient retention as well. With good care, people are likely to increase their interaction with physicians and caregivers only to stay connected and to enhance their overall wellness.

Six domains of healthcare quality to keep in mind are:

a. Safety: Providers must take all precautions to protect patients from harm.

b. Effectiveness: This refers to how well treatment is provided to patients.

c. Equity: This defines that all groups of people will receive equal care.

d. Patient-Centered: This aspect emphasizes care that a patient truly needs.

e. Efficiency: This measures on how well an organization uses resources for better outcomes.

f. Timelines: Providing health services as soon as possible, as this keeps patients safe and allows them to receive the best possible care.

c. Meeting Patients’ Needs

Every patient is different and needs a unique patient strategy. What one patient needs for their care are likely to be different from others. Telemedicine applications can be customized for each patient to fit their desired needs. For instance, patients struggling to keep up with medication can leverage the reminder feature, whereas those having issues with understanding their conditions can use the education feature of a telemedicine app.

3. Online Appointment Bookings

Patients are on the lookout to conveniently access, follow, and coordinate their healthcare decisions. Hence, the online appointment booking feature of the telemedicine app helps doctors and patients to effectively manage their schedules comfortably.

Online booking plays a significant role for people who are busy with their work and are unable to make time for booking health appointments. Further, care providers tend to maximize their appointment volume, however, no-shows or last-minute cancellations create appointment gaps and hinder revenue flow too. Hence, online appointment bookings help patients to check up-to-date availability and fill up no-show slots.

4. Give Patients Access to Medical Records

According to the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), patients must be permitted to view their medical records. The patient portal feature of telemedicine is an effective way to make medical records more accessible to patients.

Allowing patients to gain access to health records is a crucial step for increasing patient engagement. Patients can check whether records are complete and accurate. It also helps to coordinate better with multiple care providers and meet wellness goals speedily. Further, at times physicians may or may not remember full details of patient’s medical conditions, hence if patients are provided with medical records then they can fill in the details too.

5. Enhance Patient-Doctor Communication

Trust between doctor and patient is earned and maintained. Interpersonal and communication skills are key aspects of building trust in one another. Doctors who are ready to listen to their patients, treat them as individuals and not just patients. These all characteristics help to build a lasting trust and bond between provider and patient.

Patients return to doctors who are open, discuss treatment options with them as equals, allow patients to direct their self-care, and educate them. Telemedicine features such as chatbots and video calls are vital to maintaining doctor-patient interaction. Texting is also a popular tool for providers who are unable to attend calls or just answer small queries from patients.

To build a robust communication channel, it’s essential for healthcare providers to be more emphatic, show honesty, and grasp what’s being said by patients without judgment. This not only builds bonds but increases patient retention in hospitals or clinics as well, eventually increasing patient engagement.

Patients who are engaged in their healthcare decisions are likely to experience positive outcomes. Building the right features in telemedicine apps for increasing patient engagement is crucial for all healthcare facilities and Arkenea has just the right telemedicine app development strategy. So, get in touch with us to get a telemedicine app developed that matches your organization’s standards.