Value-based healthcare is focused on the quality rather than the quantity of care provided to patients. Outcomes are more important than the number of office visits in the value-based model. One of the most effective ways to improve those outcomes is to engage your patients so they are more involved in their own healthcare.
When your patients are engaged and active in their healthcare, they are more likely to listen to your advice and to follow through on recommended screenings and diagnostic tests. They will make more of an effort to understand any conditions you may have diagnosed and will be more willing to make an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. Engaged patients are also more likely to believe that the primary care services you provide will make a difference in their lives.
How do you, as a primary care physician, effectively engage your patients? Start by trying these five strategies in your practice:
Ask questions to start a conversation. Make the effort to learn more about what challenges your patients may face in managing their health and in following your instructions for treatment plans. Find out more about any social determinants of health that may be impacting your patient population. Use communication tools such as emails and secure messaging to follow up and keep the conversations going. You will be able to develop stronger relationships with your patients through your continued dialogue with them and that will lead to increased satisfaction and improved outcomes for them.
Empower your patients by putting them in charge. Empower your patients to manage their healthcare by providing a portal through which they can monitor test results, schedule appointments, and stay on top of any necessary preventive screenings. Convenience and a sense of control will go far in engaging your patients in their healthcare.
Offer mobile options. Your patients can access virtually every aspect of their daily lives via an app on their phone. You can offer the same option for your patient portal, to make it even easier and more enticing for your patients to become engaged in their healthcare. When they can check their health records and access lab results with the click of a button, they will be more likely to stay involved in collaborative care.
Take advantage of social media. You can provide general information about primary care services, recommended preventive screenings, and updates on health-related research through social media channels. Generic educational materials, links to credible resources, and the opportunity to interact virtually will keep your patients’ engagement levels high.
Be proactive. As a primary care physician, you can help motivate your patients to adopt healthier habits, including exercising, following a proper diet, and adhering to preventive care guidelines. Make the effort to educate your patients about the importance of following your evidence-based healthcare recommendations. Follow up and continue to connect with them after the office visit to increase engagement. Consider developing personalized care plans or offering access to wellness programs and health coaching as proactive ways to help your patients stay engaged in their healthcare, promoting positive behavior change and improved outcomes.