Keeping your patients engaged is more important in today’s health environment than it has been in previous decades. High deductibles mean that more patients are paying out-of-pocket expenses. In turn, they want to feel as if they are a decision-maker for their own plan of care. Patient motivation to return for care and keep their health as a priority is essential for their quality of life. It’s also essential for the fiscal health of your practice.
According to APTA research, 87% of physical therapists find that patient engagement improves their patient outcomes. 70% of health care leaders think engagement should be a priority. You would think that every clinic would have implemented a patient engagement framework! But research states that only 35% have discovered (or acted on) the importance.
So, how do we engage patients?
Those who are involved in their own care tend to adhere to their care plan. For physical therapy patients, that means completing their home exercises and remaining in therapy for the duration of their injury. However, If a patient doesn’t feel connected, they are more likely to have unmet health needs and delay their treatment. The following are three crucial pieces that should be the core of your patient engagement framework.
1. Customer Satisfaction
Put a list together of strategies to improve patient satisfaction. Make sure it includes talking to your patients warmly and thoroughly about their care and their financial responsibilities. This will help them feel as if you care about them as a whole. Also include a format to educate clients on why their treatment is important. This will give them a sense of involvement, and assign meaning to their therapy so they keep working hard toward meeting their goals.
2. Patient Perception
Engagement starts from the moment the patient walks through the door. The entire team is responsible for supporting a patient in having an exceptional customer experience. When you have achieved favorable patient perception – of your clinic and your staff’s expertise – that perception will differentiate your clinic from others. Patients will remain loyal, and recommend you to their friends. On average, happy patients will advocate for your practice and promote you on their social media accounts.
3. Value-based care
As the industry moves toward value-based care versus fee-for-service care, optimizing your patient’s performance in and out of the office will be essential. Having your patients complete their home exercise plan will significantly improve their outcomes and lower clinic costs.
Use this time to raise awareness in your practice of the importance of patient engagement. Educate yourself and your therapists on strategies to improve patient satisfaction, perception, and motivation.
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