Patient engagement is a key topic in the healthcare industry today but what does that mean and why is it so important now? Generally speaking this term is simple a dialogue created between doctor and patient. Changes in the healthcare world such as Meaningful Use are requiring that specifications be met in attempt to make healthcare easier for patients. One of these changes is to make a patient’s entire health history available, easy to access while still being secure, to the patient and to every doctor the patient sees.
This access to information is an attempt to involve the patient more with their own care. Access to information is the first step of making informed decisions, after all. This is an important trend as of late. Healthcare professionals are taking the initiative to get their patients involved in their own healthcare because the patients that are more actively involved experience better results and are more satisfied with their healthcare experience.
How is this accomplished?
This is a newer movement in the healthcare world. For this reason there are many different ideas, some successful and some not, about how to accomplish this. Patient engagement needs to be approached from all different angles. Everything from in person visits, to social media, to outside tools and information must all be geared towards getting the patient invested in their health. Since we are a tech company I will delve into the more technology based ways of increasing that patient/doctor dialogue.
As mentioned above Meaningful Use plays a huge part in this. To catch up on the basics of Meaningful Use please read our previous two blogs on the subject.
Briefly however, one aspect of Meaningful Use is to compile and store all aspects of a person’s health electronically. The idea of allowing not only the ease of transferring doctors and easier access during times of emergency but also engaging the patient is rather ambitious. Using certified and secure electronic means, a patient will one day be able to access the entire history of their health from their visit to the doctor for chest pain to an entire list of previous and current medications.
This access to their own information along with the multitudes of information online is the first step in getting patients involved. When patients are better informed of the “Whys” of healthcare (I.g. why am I taking this medication? Why am I choosing medication over surgery, etc) they are better able to make their own decisions regarding their health.
AANEM provides an overview of the patient engagement framework created by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009. This is a helpful resource that explains the different steps created in the framework.
This framework stresses the critical importance of technology in engagement. Tools such as health encyclopedias, guidance and prevention links, articles and blogs, and easy access to forms are all part of Phase one. Inphonite believes that access to information is essential in gaining and keeping happy customers which is why we have created faq documents, a knowledge base, whitepapers and this blog to keep customers and readers informed. We believe that it is absolutely imperative that this kind of information is available in the healthcare industry.
Phase three is where we come in.
“Providers in this phase demonstrate advanced patient engagement activities through substantive use of health IT. Attributes of this phase include use of secure messaging between patients and providers….”
Secure messaging is what we do best. We believe that this is an important part of patient engagement because it shows patients that you care and are making every effort to provide quality care. It is this care that is going to ultimately make or break a practice.
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