In today’s fast-paced, technology-driven world, patients have rising expectations when it comes to their healthcare. They want to be included and feel empowered by being part of the decision-making process. For practitioners to meet these expectations, they must transition from being reactive to proactive and move towards a more patient-centred approach and realise the value of ‘partnering’ with patients to improve their health outcomes.
Every patient is unique and has their individual needs. For practitioners to provide predictive, preventative, personalised and participatory care they need to understand that when it comes to healthcare, one size doesn’t fit all.
Patient-centred care is about seeing the patient as a partner and as an individual, placing them at the centre. By partnering with patients and allowing them to take an active role in their healthcare, practitioners can provide a more holistic approach and gain access to a wealth of information that can help improve the outcome of their health, such as personal circumstances, goals, values, and background. This approach enables the practitioner to make more informed clinical decisions and provide better care, which in turn empowers the patient, increases adherence to treatment and most importantly enhances the patient experience.
Creating effective patient partnerships:
It takes certain skills when it comes to forming effective partnerships with patients. Skills that aren’t necessarily learned at university. Personality traits, life skills and experience will determine how easily a practitioner can form genuine partnerships with their patients. There are four key areas for practitioners to consider.
Listening to patients:
The first step towards a successful patient partnership is listening to patients. Sounds easy and obvious, doesn’t it? However, issues such as practitioner cognitive overload mean that often practitioners might spend much of their appointment time searching for useful patient data through a set series of questions that they are accustomed to and not actually finding it amongst an excess of data being collected. This allows them little or no time to listen and digest the valuable information a patient can contribute towards their care.
Many patients are already nervous going into their appointment and feel that they are being talked at in an authoritarian way, which strips them of their confidence to ask questions or to contribute. Listening to patients and allowing them to talk, helps them feel more comfortable, which can lead to a more thorough and comprehensive assessment of their health.
Engaging the patient:
Practitioners can motivate patients to engage in their care by empowering them with education, tools, and the desire to better manage their health. Partnering with patients allows the practitioner to better understand their individual, unique needs which results in more personalised and tailored care. This means that patients are no longer receiving passive care but have become an active participant in their healthcare journey. Motivating patients to take this active role is also a positive step towards preventative care.
Easy and secure access to health information is still a work in progress in the health industry. However, choosing a patient management system that reduces the technical barriers for data sharing, allows practitioners and patients to safely share medical records with real-time data through a Patient Portal, also known as a Digital Front Door. This Digital Front Door allows patients to have easy access to their records, which not only drives engagement but provides them a sense of control, an important emotion for an effective partnership.
This might be the most challenging for practitioners but trusting and enabling patients to take ownership of aspects of their care will assist practitioners in sharing responsibility with patients. Tools such as patient portals and apps that encourage engagement and gamification means patients share the responsibility of providing data and adhering to treatment programs.
How can health technology promote a patient-centric care model?
A successful digital solution should put the patient at the heart of every decision. As mentioned, patient portals provide a solid foundation for a Digital Front Door strategy. The Digital Front Door is not just an app, but instead a connected ecosystem of features that create a cohesive patient experience across touch points.
For a more seamless and engaging experience, patients should be able to easily access information and self-service tools to better manage their health at every step of their healthcare journey – from finding a practitioner to booking appointments and filling out forms, to accessing pathology results and receiving automated push notifications. The Digital Front Door is an intuitive virtual strategy that embraces all the ways that patients can interact with their practitioner through digital channels.
The goal of a Digital Front Door is to provide patients with a single-entry point to access a suite of self-service tools, health information, and virtual care. Consumer-facing apps found in industries like retail, banking, and ride-sharing provide a convenient and seamless customer experience, which has led patients to expect the same flexibility and autonomy when it comes to healthcare apps. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in this industry since patients have had to settle for less than optimum digital solutions consisting of a disjointed set of apps, websites, and portals, each with their own function, and usually with their own login.
HealthBank.io was designed with all of this in mind. We know that patient experience and engagement is more than just a patient portal. It’s about how the practitioner is providing a front door to their business and expertise through the integration of seamless and relevant digital tools that mutually benefit the practitioner and patient resulting in empowerment, adherence and sustainable health outcomes.
Robbie Co-Founded HealthBank with the aim to put patients at the heart of their healthcare journey, keeping them engaged, on track and supported. The features of HealthBank helps patients to become empowered through personalised, value-based care that is conveniently accessed and delivered through one platform.
– Robbie is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Exercise Scientist and Co-Founder of HealthBank.io. He has worked in private practice and corporate health consulting for over 10 years and is a digital health advocate and educator.