Patient engagement in healthcare refers to the patient’s active role in their journey. Engagement can happen before, during, and after an office visit–it takes the form of asking questions, making comments, emailing, and any other interaction between medical staff and patient.
Telehealth refers to a wide range of technologies used to exchange medical information between distant sites. Live video conferencing, digital medical records and information, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health apps (mHealth) are all forms of telehealth.
4 Ways Telehealth Can Improve Patient Engagement in Healthcare
Telehealth encompasses a wider range of technology used to improve healthcare in various ways. Although we worry about losing the human element in healthcare, telehealth enhances communication opportunities. In the end, telehealth saves time for quality, organic engagement within the office. Here are 4 ways telehealth can enhance engagement:
1. Telehealth Increases Access to Healthcare
With improved access to healthcare, we create more opportunity for engagement. Patients living in rural areas without access to transportation can more easily obtain clinical services. Remote hospitals can communicate with patients in emergency and intensive care situations no matter the distance. Where rural people never engaged in healthcare, now they can. Some patients can’t afford gas let alone healthcare, staying overnight at the hospital, or being transferred between medical facilities. Telehealth reduces healthcare costs by enabling at-home monitoring systems.
2. Empowering Patients
Consumer-centered telehealth tools empower patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Patients can keep track of progress and celebrate when they reach goals. With real-time data on bodily conditions such as heart rate and blood pressure, patients gain knowledge–and with knowledge comes power and responsibility.
3. Telehealth Can Improve Healthcare Outcomes
The earlier the discovery and diagnosis of a condition, the sooner treatment can begin. When ICU’s (Intensive Care Units) involve telehealth tools, mortality rates decline. Patients who require intensive care can communicate with medical professionals off-site. Telehealth can be used to ask questions outside the office; physicians can ensure that patients understand treatment plans, and patients can ask questions. With better healthcare outcomes, comes better patient experiences. With better patient experiences, comes better relationships and the likelihood of communication.
4. Telehealth Improves Organizational Productivity
The more efficient the medical organization, the more time for engagement. Telehealth can help complete nursing tasks, taking the pressure off nurses. Employees can avoid work ‘absences’ by working remotely. Home monitoring reduces hospital visits and transfers–both timely experiences. A more efficient organization might take the stress away from medical staff, laying the grounds for quality patient experiences and improved engagement.
Telehealth can improve medical organizations by enhancing the patient experience. A quality patient experience lays the ground for increased engagement. How are you using telehealth to improve patient engagement in healthcare?