Mastering patient engagement for primary care physicians

Patient engagement is a key part of a primary care physician’s role and there is always room for improvement, especially with the technology we have access to nowadays.

Research has shown that a patient’s engagement in their care can lead to significant progress in healthcare safety and quality. Being more informed about your own health gives you more control over it and the engagement with your primary care physician keeps you more connected to the care you are receiving.

Resources used to increase patient engagement efforts

Patient engagement goes hand in hand with patient management, meaning making appointments, referrals, prescriptions and refills, lab exams and tests. These are all part of your patient management duties. To be able to do all of these things more efficiently making it easier to engage with your patients, you will need an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. EHRs make it easier to manage your administration duties while engaging with your patients.

Using tools such as OpenNotes, which gives patients access to their medical records so they can read their doctor’s visit notes; can help your patients stay up to date with their health care goals. Patients can access the visit notes online through the patient portal or in hard copy from a printout.

Using team-based care is a transformative method of delivering care that focuses on teamwork. In addition to the patient and family, a patient’s care team may include a doctor or nurse practitioner, RN, care team coordinator, and even a pharmacist or social worker. Having all of these healthcare providers involved in a patient’s care can improve patient engagement, safety and quality when appropriate care coordination is being exercised.

Having a messaging system within your EHR allows patients to connect with you if they have any questions or concerns about their health, appointments, lab results or prescriptions. Having this feature makes physicians more accessible to their patients which creates more patient engagement.

Using a tool such as Elation’s Patient Passport gives patients a way to connect with their physicians and be able to see their critical health information without having to visit the doctor’s office. The Patient Passport is integrated with a messaging system, as well as giving patients access to their critical health information such as allergies, problems, history, visit summaries, current medications, immunizations, legal and specialists. This information is here for any patients who want to be more informed as to what is going on with their health and so that it can be shared with other clinicians who would find it helpful to facilitate care.