What are the best ways to improve patient engagement and increase their involvement in their care?

We know from research that active participation in patient’s care (read: patient engagement) yields better outcomes than passive receipt of care. The first step to improve patient engagement is increasing access, such as using a platform or patient portal for direct communication between clinician and patient. This could be asynchronous video communication, secure chat messaging, emails or even texting – anything that improves the flow of communication. Bypassing bureaucratic mess like phone trees can make patients feel more connected and improve active engagement in their care. ️️

The second strategy involves empathy and active listening – humanizing healthcare by building an entire course of care around the individual rather than just focusing on diagnosis alone. In this bottom-up approach, we start with what’s important to them; goals they hope to achieve from receiving medical attention; any current limitations or reasons why they’re seeking help; aspirations for one year down the road etc., giving both parties involved an understanding of where each other stand regarding treatment plans which helps gain trust & cooperation.

This makes the patients feel listened to thereby increasing their desire to actively participate thus contributing more towards plan-of-care discussions. These two methods- increased access through improved avenues of Communication & starting from a bottom up approach where we construct our plan based on individuals needs rather than fitting them into pre-existing frameworks might help us greatly enhance our Patient Engagement strategies.




The Importance of Active Patient Participation

Research indicates that active patient participation in their care yields better outcomes than passive acceptance. Rather than patients simply receiving medical advice and treatments, the trend is shifting towards engaging them in their healthcare journey – but how do we achieve this level of engagement?


Improving Access: Direct Communication

Firstly, it’s crucial to improve access. This involves facilitating a direct line of communication between the clinician and patient through platforms or patient portals. It could be an asynchronous video communication platform, secure chat messaging or even secure emails and texts.

This approach fosters a real relationship rather than a formal interaction where patients have to navigate through complex phone trees just to leave a voicemail message for the clinician who might return the call hours later.

The ability to send messages directly into a portal which can then be screened by support staff before reaching the clinician bypasses all bureaucratic hurdles and makes patients feel more connected with their caregivers. This connection translates into improved active participation as they develop relationships with not just individual clinicians but also with healthcare organizations.


Patient-Centered Care: Empathy & Active Listening

The second part of achieving high levels of engagement has everything to do with empathy and active listening, elements that humanize health care significantly.

Rather than following traditional methods built around diagnoses (a top-down approach), consider adopting a bottom-up strategy that begins with understanding each patients unique circumstanceswhat are their goals? What limitations are they facing? Why did they seek out treatment? Where would they like to see themselves one year from now, two years from now?

Taking these factors into consideration gives you insights about what your patients expect from their treatment plan while making them feel heard and valued. When this happens, patients are more likely to buy-in on proposed treatments because it aligns closely with what matters most for them individuallythey become proactive contributors during discussions regarding plans-of-care resulting in effective outcomes based on personalized solutions rather than cookie-cutter approaches tailored around generic diagnoses.



Improving access via technology-based communications channels combined empathetic dialogue focused around individual needs instead broad diagnosis lays foundation needed facilitate meaningful interactions leading higher levels patient engagement throughout entire continuum care process. It helps improve patient engagement, leading to better clinical outcomes, higher levels of patient experience, and improved business metrics. 


What strategies have you found to improve patient engagement?


For more content like this, check out our Insights Page and check out The Better Outcomes Show. Or if you want to humanize healthcare through your business or organization, learn how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help here! You can also schedule a call with Rafi to discuss your company’s positioning strategy and brainstorm a business development plan here. Check out Rafi’s latest book, Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare, on Amazon!

Rafael E. Salazar II, MHS, OTR/L (Rafi) is the Principal Owner of Rehab U Practice Solutions and the host of The Better Outcomes Show and the author of Better Outcomes: A Guide to Humanizing Healthcare. His career trajectory includes 12+ years of experience in healthcare management, clinical operations, programmatic development, marketing & business development. He even spent some time as an Assistant Professor in a Graduate Program of Occupational Therapy and has served on numerous boards and regulatory committees. He has worked on projects ranging from patient engagement initiatives to marketing communication campaigns to a multi million dollar project assisting the State of Georgia's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities transition individuals out of state institutions to community residences. His work on Telehealth has been discussed in Forbes.

Today, Rafi helps innovative healthcare companies like technology startups, platforms, SaaS companies & innovative healthcare organizations develop effective positioning strategy and business development plans through his consulting work. He also leverages his experience as a professor and academic to speak and train on the topics around humanizing the healthcare experience & healthcare innovation. In addition, Rafi also owns and operates ProActive Rehabilitation & Wellness, a multidisciplinary outpatient clinic treating patients with musculoskeletal pain.

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Medical Professionals RafiIf you are an innovative healthcare company looking to humanize healthcare through direct service delivery, technology, a device, or software, then reach out. We'd love to talk with you about how Rehab U Practice Solutions can help.

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