Turning Patient Engagement into Collaborative Care

Turning Patient Engagement into Collaborative Care

In an era where digital behavior has been continuously evolving, patient engagement is now a hot topic that’s directly impacting healthcare providers. Patients have more choice than ever in the healthcare marketplace, so providers are needing to up their game in terms of quality of care, accessibility, and the patient experience — and the type of digital engagement they offer can serve as a key differentiator.

Kicksaw’s Healthcare and Life Sciences (HLS) practice has been supporting providers that are looking for modern and innovative digital engagement strategies and solutions that set them apart. We’ve seen notable value in solutions that address communication challenges between patients and providers like:

  • Removing communication and information barriers
  • Personalizing interactions and outreach
  • Improving collaborative care
  • Enabling self-service
  • Simplifying and automating processes for patients and providers

So, if you’re just getting started on the path of delivering personalized, relevant, and timely communication to your patients in their preferred digital channels — we’ve got your back. 

In this blog we’ll be sharing what we’ve learned about how patient engagement is evolving, provide an overview of the digital engagement trends and use cases we most frequently see, and give insights to help any provider organization out there wanting to find the right kind of digital engagement to empower both themselves and their patients.

Engagement and Collaborative Care: How Patient Engagement is Evolving

If you haven’t seen an article about consumer and workplace expectations changing due to technology or generational differences while scrolling through the news, hold on to your seat — those expectations have changed — and the expectations patients have of their healthcare providers continue to change right along with them.

“They (Gen Z) are increasingly moving away from conventional methods of seeking health information as technology advances quickly and becomes more widely available, resulting in a more digitalized health care system.”
  • But wait, there’s more; don’t count the 65 and over crowd out when it comes to digital patient engagement either, as their technology adoption rates have also increased.
“…adoption of key technologies by those in the oldest age group has grown markedly since about a decade ago, and the gap between the oldest and youngest adults has narrowed…”

What does this mean for providers? You guessed it, empowering patients to engage on their own terms is becoming increasingly important and has contributed heavily to what’s being seen in the industry:

  1. Offering flexibility and choice in communication, scheduling, and interactions goes a long way toward attracting and retaining patients and improving patient outcomes. Mobile-friendly communication with providers via things like pre-existing social media apps have been shown to contribute to collaborative care, outreach, and modernizing operations.
  1. Digital communication is being used to personalize, enhance, and bridge gaps in the patient experience before, during, and after provider interactions. We’ve seen examples of this, including medication reminders and care instructions sent using a patient’s preferred method of communication — for everything from primary care practices to long-term care facilities, to specialty clinics that want to provide a higher standard of service.
  1. The need for self-service and automation has become vital when it comes to eliminating the barriers and friction associated with outreach. With convenience, transparency, and access to information topping the list of what most patients are looking for when they are seeking care, solutions that help meet those needs without extra costs or resources (think patient portals, virtual visits, and online scheduling) serve as both a differentiator and a way to meet patient expectations.

Modern Patient Engagement: Use Cases and Solutions 

As far as solutions that are dynamic enough to keep up with evolving expectations and adapt to industry trends (while meeting business demands), our HLS team has helped provider organizations find efficiency and success with the Salesforce Health Cloud platform. A lot of use cases for patient engagement also incorporate Salesforce Digital Engagement for additional tools and functionality.

Recommendations aside, regardless of what solution you choose, remember to:

  • Prioritize solutions that are efficient, without adding unnecessary operational overhead that sabotages the goal of elevating the patient experience.
  • Ensure that you’re improving support through digital engagement without increasing tasks or stress for both patient and providers throughout the solution selection, design, and implementation process.

If you’re wondering what that looks like in practice, you can find some solution examples and use cases below.

Omni-Channel Functionality: Engagement that Meets Patients Where They Are   

What is omni-channel patient engagement? Check out our resource section at the end of this blog for more details — but it generally breaks down to enabling patients to communicate with providers using their preferred channels (e.g., asking a care coordinator a question via SMS, a social media notification about a new therapy or treatment, an email with information about a new location/facility, etc.). 

  • Data from omni-channel interactions is automatically integrated into the appropriate patient database records and connected systems.
  • Various levels of personalization for communication are available based on known patient information (e.g., sending them details about a new clinic that opened near their home and selecting SMS to send that message because they’ve indicated it’s their preferred channel).
  • Although omni-channel engagement gives patients more options for interaction, it can be used to reduce pressure on providers by streamlining engagement in a scalable way. 

For patients this means:

  • Bi-directional contact with providers that’s more convenient.
  • An easier way to access and contribute information.
  • A more consistent provider experience and engagement model.

For providers this means: 

  • An easier way to send messages or information via a patient’s preferred channel.
  • Faster case resolution and higher satisfaction rates. 
  • More impactful and collaborative care.
  • Ways to communicate directly with prospective patients at the top of the funnel.

It’s ideal for outbound engagement and messaging that is proactive, targeted, and timely.

Patient Portals, Chatbots, and Self-Service Appointments: Improving Accessibility Without Increasing Resource Demands

Patients value the flexibility and control that self-service options offer, and this type of engagement greatly contributes to lowering work volume and costs for providers. It can simplify and improve inbound patient service processes for providers, while also enabling patients to be more efficient with their care or service requests.

Salesforce has an easy way to add secure patient portals via Experience Cloud, HIPAA-compliant chatbots, and website integration capabilities for patients to make and manage their own appointments. 

  • Self-service is incredibly important for many patients, including those managing long-term treatment (i.e., rehabilitation, chronic illness, etc.), and for care coordination that involves multiple people or requires collaboration across multiple providers. 
  • Chatbots and access to information via secure patient portals reduce the need for provider resource interaction (helping scale communication) and enable patients to access that type of support 24/7, from anywhere — for example, allowing a patient to get answers about an upcoming surgery protocol after office hours.
  • Prospective patients can use self-service functionality to better research and gather information about a provider’s relevant services.
  • Offering a consolidated way for patients to manage their journey from appointment booking to payment and feedback means less work for the patient (and provider) and a more inclusive patient experience.

Automation Through Salesforce Flows: Personalizing the Patient Journey and Eliminating Low-Value Tasks 

Automation and personalization aren’t on opposite sides of the spectrum, and if you’re looking to use digital communication before, during, and after provider interactions to personalize, enhance, and bridge gaps in the patient experience — Salesforce Flows can achieve that in an automated and personalized way.

Flows add process automation functionality that can be combined with other Digital Engagement and Salesforce platform capabilities to eliminate repetitive tasks, save time and resources, and establish a consistent patient engagement strategy. These processes can be scheduled or triggered and enable timely and relevant communication through digital channels.

Examples of what this looks like in action include automated: 

  • Appointment reminders and directions to decrease no-shows/keep appointment slots filled and maximize resource management.
  • Instructions on how to prepare for an appointment or procedure.
  • Payment information and reminders to accelerate revenue cycles.
  • Long-term care or patient-specific reminders to take medication or schedule a follow-up to maximize treatment adherence.
  • Patient surveys and feedback to measure and increase NPS scores.
  • Announcements, updates, and test result alerts.
  • Triage assistance and redirection to a provider when one-to-one interaction is needed.

Finding the Right Digital Engagement for Your Patients and Organization

What does getting patient engagement right in the real world look like? Our work with Oma Fertility to measurably improve the patient experience using automated NPS surveys and Salesforce Digital Engagement is a great place to start. 

If you’d like more information about what might work for your own patient engagement strategy or solution, reach out to our team. We’d love to have a conversation about patient engagement strategies that can help your provider organization scale and deliver an elevated patient experience.

You can also check out our list of additional resources for more information about the digital engagement solutions and the topics discussed in this post:

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