Driving Good Health Care: A Report on How Healthcare Executives Approach Patient Outreach Post-Discharge
Patient outreach and patient engagement are two themes that are driving numerous initiatives across the healthcare industry. But what do those terms really mean? As the healthcare industry shifts from a volume to value-based payments, understanding what patient engagement and outreach truly mean is a key step in achieving both short and long-term goals.
Individual providers may have different definitions and visions for programs meant to drive positive patient behaviors and greater engagement levels in their own care. Understanding common trends, ideas, and beliefs, will help unify systems around goals and can help move the industry towards achieving success. For this reason, Modern Healthcare and CipherHealth partnered to better understand how, where, and why hospital leaders are reaching out to patients post hospital visit.
Nearly 250 healthcare leaders were surveyed on the methods used to engage patients and their outcomes expectations. The results showed trends in provider expectations around the percentage and types of patients they would like to engage. Additionally, the survey results highlighted the types of technology they hope to leverage in their outreach and engagement efforts.
Patient Engagement Post-Discharge
Patient engagement post-discharge can take many forms, apps, emails, phone calls, and more. After a patient leaves the hospital, ensuring they are following care plans can help identify and prevent potentially adverse events. The key is finding scalable and effective programs to engage patients.
When engaging patients, success typically means finding ways that meet individual needs. For example, while direct mail has been a popular engagement tool, many providers find the number of patients who take action to be lacking. Meanwhile, text messages have increased in popularity and will work for certain demographics.
Addressing individual patient needs at scale proves to be a challenge for all types of providers. Technology solutions with multiple modalities for engagement can considerably help in reaching more patients and engaging them in their own care and help organizations meet their original goals.
Understanding the Challenges Providers Face with Patient Engagement
Resourcing is the major challenge for most providers, becoming an impediment to efforts that to keep readmission rates low, deliver preventive care, or help improve patient satisfaction metrics. Although efficient outreach and engagement enables providers to streamline workflows and reduce the amount of time, money, and employees needed to support program, many executives have limited experience in exploring the right solutions.
“As providers are held accountable for patients outside of the hospital, leaders are relying on their own resources to make calls to patients. Over time, they find these tactics are largely unsuccessful and resource-intensive. The first step in addressing these challenges is to find an efficient, consistent workflow.” Said Alex Hejnosz, co-founder or CipherHealth, a leading patient engagement technology company.
Scaling for Future Success
As the report highlights, providers are looking to engage with the majority of their patients in an effort to improve outcomes and experiences. Although many are unhappy with their current programs, they are unsure of solutions available beyond call centers.
Leveraging technology solutions, especially coupled with a centralized follow-up process, can help providers achieve results quickly and scale engagement programs without requiring huge personnel investments.
Hejnosz states, “We see most success at hospitals and health systems which implement an automated follow-up solution that helps triage the higher risk patients for follow up by dedicated and qualified resources. This model seems to be the key to achieving the best results and return on your investments.”