Patient Engagement Keys to Success
There are 3 keys to success when developing a patient engagement program:
- Focus on the patient
- Invest in qualified health coaches
- Leverage innovative technology
For now, I’m only going to highlight the first key to success – focusing on the patient. In future blogs, I’ll drill down on the other two.
Focus on the Unique Patient Journey
Every patient is unique and every patient’s journey is unique. That’s why it’s important to allow the patient to drive the topics and the cadence of the engagement based on what’s happening in that patient’s journey at that particular time. Patient journeys evolve based on a number of factors such as how recently they’ve been diagnosed, how they’re doing on the therapy and how they’re feeling.
A successful patient engagement program focuses not only on the product/medication, but supports the patient holistically during their treatment journey. You can’t separate the patient’s feelings, disease state and symptoms from the medication they are taking.
Factors Influencing the Patient Journey
Many factors influence the patient’s ability to successfully manage their treatment and that individual journey. The following four categories highlight the factors that influence the journey and often drive the framework of an engagement program:
- Demographics: Demographics greatly influence how a patient will interact with an engagement program and how well he/she will do during their therapy. For example, older patients may need more assistance with logistical support, such as transportation or medication management, while younger patients may be resistant to long term treatment, especially if they’re asymptomatic. Those who have family support and caregivers who are deeply involved in their treatment may not need as much support as individuals who are alone.
- Disease State: Disease State influences both the individual patient journey and the framework of the patient engagement program. If the disease is life threatening or chronic, patients will likely need more support. Newly diagnosed patients often have more questions about the treatment protocol and they may be anxious or upset, requiring more psycho-social support. If a disease is progressive or has periods of remission a patient may need support in varying degrees at different points in their journey.
- Patient Preferences: The preferences of the patient must be taken into account. He/she should have the ability to engage in a variety of channels and dictate the frequency of the interaction. For example, a patient utilizing a tracheostomy (trach) tube will be better served by a live chat feature than a phone conversation. Conversely, an elderly or very ill patient may not have access or ability to engage through internet based tools. More importantly, the patient should be driving the topics covered during the engagement and the frequency of contact.
- Health Literacy: Patients who understand the treatment plan and have confidence that they can manage that treatment are able to gain a sense of empowerment, and have a voice in their therapy and in the management of their health care. That makes health literacy one of the key drivers of patient engagement and ensures that the program provides value to the participants. By identifying a patient’s level of health literacy, a patient engagement program can assist patients in becoming better prepared, more confident and more empowered.
Engaging patients is a complex effort. Let C3i Solutions help. Our full suite of patient engagement services includes dynamic coaching programs staffed by qualified healthcare professionals. Contact us today.