- Posted by Leslie Shamion
- On January 18, 2016
In an insightful paper by the Center for Advancing Health entitled “A New Definition of Patient Engagement: What is Engagement and Why is it Important?” engagement is defined as “Actions individuals must take to obtain the greatest benefit from the health care services available to them.”
These actions include not only the obvious goals of adherence to prescriptions, treatment plans and lifestyle recommendations, but also the less talked about healthcare-related tasks: willingness to take the dive into the paperwork, follow-up with specialists, chase down second opinions, etc.
The problem? The same paper offers well-documented evidence that people who need to be engaged the most are less likely to do so:
When Electronic Health Reporter asked leaders in healthcare tech to weigh-in on the subject, most agreed that they could see a great motivation for providers to improve engagement: pay based on outcomes, rather than services rendered. But it’s agreed that motivating patients – even those who know they need to change their ways to remain healthy – is a trickier task.
Of course, patients want to be well. So how can we help them become invested in their health?
According to a recent survey, 35% of Americans think they’d improve their ability to follow their doctor’s orders if they were reminded to do so during the many days in-between doctor visits.
The demand for interaction is there.
With an ever-increasing patient to doctor ratio, though, it’s clear that motivation for patients to fully engage in their wellbeing can’t come from face-to-face interaction. So it’s fortunate that now, nearly everyone carries a smartphone that is laden with potential for use as a tool of engagement.
Sounds great. All we need to do is use patients’ smartphones to remind them to take their meds and eat right, and all will be well, right?
There’s no shortage of gadgets designed to remind… yet engagement remains low.
People want to make well-informed decisions about matters that are important to them – and methods of helping people achieve their goals have been the subject of much study. Scaling these methods to serve patients seems like a logical next step.
Next IT Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Morrow, M.D., that by aligning scalable, smartphone-based interactions with psychological models proven to drive behavior change, it’s possible to help people see that deep down, they really want to make healthier life choices. He also points out that bringing about this type of change requires more than some sort of advanced reminder. More often than not, barriers to adherence include more complex factors like a person’s upbringing, competing priorities and how well informed they are about their treatment. By taking these factors into consideration, a virtual, personalized health coaching plan will help people overcome obstacles that stand in the way of living a healthier life.
Check out this video to see Next IT Healthcare’s vision for using technology to provide personalized, engagement-boosting health coaching. View now