Patient engagement is a critical part of any health care program but especially virtual care. Experts suggestthat greater patient engagement leads to better health outcomes. With the rise of virtual care, patients are still hesitant due to concerns about lack of engagement.
How can remote healthcare ever be as engaging and real as an in-patient visit or hospital stay? The fact of the matter is, in the virtual world there are more opportunities for engagement. With the right program like VitalCare, virtual care improves patient engagement rates.
VitalTech offers personal healthcare technology that makes it easier for patients to engage and connect with providers. Here are five tips for providers to maximize patient engagement.
Tip #1 Provide Patients with Devices They are Likely to Use
Although an increase in technology has made it more readily available for mostAmericans over the last decade elderly individuals are still hesitant about technology. Equipping patients with devices they are more comfortable using will result in an increase of device engagement.
VitalTech offers two options to utilizethe VitalCare platform. Patients have the option to use a VitalTech provided tablet or Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD). No matter which device is chosen the VitalCare app offers the exact same functionalities. VitalCare is a simple software and easy to use despite patient age or technology literacy. VitalTech also supplies ready to use out of the box peripheral devices which help remove barriers surrounding technology literacy.
Having patients comfortable with the device(s) they will be using increases patient engagement. The onboarding process will allow patients to feel even more comfort with the program and support staff in the event any issues arise.
Tip #2 Focus on Onboarding and Continuous Support
The VitalCare onboarding process allows patients and providers to become familiar with the software. Beyond the onboarding process providers are given the capability to upload educational materials to educate patients on their condition and treatment, and/or share friendly reminders to patients about the advantages of RPM, including better access and communication, allowing for continued support to their patients using VitalCare.
One study found that patients who receive medication counseling or disease-specific education have lower readmission rates.2 Patient education gives the patient an empowered experience, reduces the health literacy barrier and provides continuous support.
Beyond educational materials, VitalCare Care Pathways is a feature offered through VitalCare Admin that allows administrators to create pathways, announcements and thresholds based on a patient’s disease state.
Patient engagement will increase if the provider is there supporting, encouraging, and giving feedback to the patient. Having real, true conversations between providers and patients is what creates an engaging model and builds strong relationships.
“The evidence from the organization’s classic behavioral interventions shows that the more often staff engage patients, the better the patients do.”3
Tip #3 Build Strong Relationships
Developing consistent and structured communication techniques helps facilitate the delivery of quality care. Strong relationships are created from a balance between technology and human connection, whether it be audio or video calls. Routine interaction and customized care give patients a personal experience while building trust and healthy habits. Providers should treat each patient individually and create care plans based on their specific needs.
To keep patients engaged providers should be responsive and strive for daily contact. Beyond audio and video calls a provider can send personalized messages to their patients, medication notifications and surveys. These capabilities can all be automated so that a provider does not have to take extra time out of their workday to communicate with patients. Having automated communication does not interrupt workflow and can help decrease staff burnout.
“In healthcare, there is such a focus on seeing patients in the office, but we’ve learned we can provide better patient experiences by engaging patients outside of the office in a way that isn’t captured by an appointment.” – Dr. Jamy Ard, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist4
Tip #4 Create Patient Specific Goals
Setting specific goals for each patient is a crucial part of the care process. Having set goals helps patients stay on track with their treatment but also gives them a way to be active and involved with their healthcare plan. Providers need to maintain and multiply success. SMART goals5 are a great way to position patients for long term success by establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and trackable goals.
The VitalCare platform gives patients a way to track data to work toward their goals. It also gives providers a way to routinely check on the progress being made. For example, if a patient suffers with obesity from a chronic disease such as Congestive Heart Failure (CHF), a physician can monitor and evaluate blood pressure, activity, weight loss, and nutrition. Surveys can also be sent to the patient to help the patient and provider see the progress and make changes as needed.
Tip #5 Family Involvement
Involving patients’ families in the program makes patients feel more comfortable and supported, while keeping families informed and better able to help keep patients on track. VitalCare Family is an app, accessible on any smart device, allowing family members to connect with the patient via audio and video calls. VitalCare Family provides views of patient health data including vitals, nutrition inputs and medication adherence. Notifications of alert thresholds are also available. Families can give gentle reminders of doctor’s appointments, medications, and vital sign readings to help them stay on track.
VitalCare Family can help your patients improve compliance and clinical outcomes. With the support of loved ones, patients are better engaged in their care plans.
Engaging patients in their virtual care treatment is one of the most important parts to receiving quality care. High levels of patient engagement lead to better outcomes. VitalTech offers easy to use devices and platforms for patients, providers, and families to connect with each other in many ways to increase engagement.