What is Patient Engagement software?
Patient engagement software can be broadly defined as software that can be operated from any computer device and used for better patient-doctor communication and increased patient education about their disease. With several companies designing and selling their versions of this software, its use is rapidly increasing in the healthcare community.
Patient Engagement Software or Platform is basically an application for patients that are connected to their electronic medical history and data. It doesn’t only help a single hospital but all healthcare organizations of varying sizes. Best of all, it’s HIPAA-compliant. With just one click, it helps the organization access medical history, health records, insurance details, updates, and new messages all in real-time.
Patient engagement software adds educational resources for patients to a patient portal system, allowing the patient to communicate with their doctors and other healthcare staff at any time. Furthermore, patient engagement software also has a medical billing feature to help create better communication between hospital administration and patients.
Patient engagement is commonly mistaken as the patient experience but it’s more than that. In fact, it includes all features required to implement the triple aim of healthcare: improving the health outcome of the patient, improving patient care, and lowering the cost of medical care.
In simple words, PES allows patients to know about their healthcare, resulting in happier, healthier, and overall, more satisfied patients.
Benefits of Patient Engagement Software
PES, as mentioned above, has many benefits. It has revolutionized patient care and satisfaction with a web interface that connects patients and doctors. Furthermore, PES is customizable according to the practice, helping hospitals and doctors connect to their patients on a deeper level.
- HIPAA Compliant
Also, PES is HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant and provides a secure messaging portal between the patients and doctors, allowing only the authorized personnel to access this portal. Encrypted two-way communications provide a secure messaging service to both sides.
- See Medical Reports
With PES, patients can send pictures of their wounds or scars for their healthcare provider’s inspection. Patients can also download, view, or forward their lab reports and medical imaging results. After the lab tests, the samples will write up a report, which is then directly uploaded to this interface, allowing the patient to be immediately updated.
Furthermore, all thanks to this software, patients who were discharged can access their discharge summaries on their app. Any report on this software can also be shared by the patient with other doctors in the future to update them on the patient’s past history.
- Better Prepared For A New Doctor
Additionally, when a patient wants to see a new doctor, the doctor can fill the patient with their paperwork, insurance cards, and forms online using this software.
This helps save time in the clinics as the patient can enter the facility already prepared. And, their healthcare providers can easily access this information together with their entire past medical history.
- No Recall Bias
Uploading a person’s medical information on this interface has significantly reduced errors associated with recall bias or bad memory. Thus, doctors no longer need to rely on patients’ memory of what drug they might or might not be taking. This is because all the information regarding past medical issues and the medications prescribed for them are available on the interface.
The use of this software has also reduced incidents related to an allergy to certain medications. If a patient doesn’t remember what medication they’re allergic to, it won’t be a problem since the interface highlights that information for the doctors and nurses.
- Assess Own’s Condition
Furthermore, the patients can self-assess their condition or symptoms by using the plethora of online education resources on the interface. Patients can go through them, then contact their healthcare provider via email or call, explaining their findings.
The educational resources are available on the interface to help patients understand their condition better. This understanding is associated with better compliance with medications and better health outcomes.
The physician may then encourage them to come to the hospital for on-site treatment of their condition or symptoms. When the patient arrives at the hospital, all of their medical data will already be available to the healthcare staff, improving workflow.
- Easily Book An Appointment
If the patients need to visit the hospital for further evaluation, they can personally book an appointment using the interface. Their appointment can be on any day and time of their choosing, based on the available slots that they can see using the software. The appointed date and time are then confirmed by the healthcare provider.
Moreover, patients will get notified in the form of an email, text message, or recorded message, depending on the patient’s preference, reminding them of the appointment. This results in reduced amounts of no shows, helping the hospital run more efficiently and in a timely manner.
- Better Patient-Doctor Relation
Instead of a hospital visit, the physician may recommend lifestyle modifications or dietary changes and schedule a patient for a follow-up. Regardless of the outcome, most patients, when engaged on such personal levels, will feel well-taken care off, resulting in better patient-doctor relations.
A good patient-doctor relationship is important for the health of a patient because if a patient doesn’t have a good rapport with their doctor, they’re more likely to not follow the doctor’s instructions. This can be detrimental to the patient’s health.
Moreover, taking charge of one’s own medical care can make patients feel heard and taken care of, resulting in patients’ loyalty to one healthcare provider or facility. This eventually translates into financial gain for the healthcare facility.
All of these helps increase the healthcare team’s efficiency while also increasing the patient satisfaction rate. By automating the data collection process, it also reduces the staff time and increases workflow.
- Reduced ER Visits
It’s also important to note that patient engagement, even if via the interface, results in increased interactions between healthcare personnel and patients, resulting in increased healing and, overall, improved recovery time.
The use of patient engagement software has resulted in overall reduced ER visits since patients can directly contact their healthcare providers and schedule appointments. A follow up with patients has also been made easier using PES, resulting in reduced numbers of readmissions.
- Financial Gain For Healthcare Facilities
Furthermore, the automation of data has saved staff time and increase patient satisfaction which, as mentioned above, is related to increased loyalty to a specific healthcare provider. All of these directly lead to financial benefits in the form of reduced costs for healthcare facilities.
The patient satisfaction rates indirectly help grow the market share value of the hospital or the healthcare facility, leading to a financial benefit for the facility.
Overall, patient engagement software is improving the healthcare facilities and patient care by not only personalizing care for each patient, resulting in better treatment and quicker recovery but also by increasing the financial benefits for the community.
The Benefits Proved: A Case Study
This case study follows an optometry clinic. It’s run by an owner who strongly “believes in the power of the doctor-patient connection.” In the spirit of the connection, she and her staff usually send out birthday wishes to all their patients. On top of that, Starling also sends out surveys to all her patients regarding their satisfaction with the care they received.
To do this and maintain the connection she built with her patients, she hired a staff member. The staff member was responsible for scheduling appointments and reminding patients of the appointment. However, calling patients proved to be a hectic task. Sterling, then, decided to email the patients instead. But even that was time-consuming, too.
Among the problems that she faced were the following:
- Maintaining an excel sheet that contains details of all their patients was a tedious and time-consuming job.
- Writing and mailing the birthday cards took too long and too much manpower.
- Sending out surveys was a high-cost but low-reward job since not all surveys were filled out and returned.
In an attempt to stay up-to-date and engaged with her patients, she decided to invest in the Relatient patient engagement software for her clinic. The results were tremendously positive–with better patient satisfaction rates and lesser manpower and time consumed.
In her testimonial, she said, “the engagement software has freed up my staff and I am able to see more patients. We also have fewer no-shows due to the automatic text and email reminders my patients receive. We get a fantastic return rate on the post-appointment surveys… things that were taking up a lot of staff time to do manually are now done automatically. We have had a great return on our investment.”
That being said, healthcare facilities need to invest in patient engagement software because it not only increases the efficiency of the healthcare staff but it also provides better medical outcomes for the patients. The reduced cost associated with reduced manpower and increased market growth rate, patient loyalty, and lesser no shows is an added advantage of the patient engagement software.
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