The previous blog in the series covered the overall scope of patient engagement and what it entails. In this blog, I will discuss some of the key factors that are must-haves for a winning patient engagement strategy.

Design a well-thought out patient engagement strategy

The healthcare IT landscape is ever-evolving. The nature of the business is such that you can never quite prepare for what’s to come. These are a few important considerations for healthcare IT vendors in their patient engagement strategy:

It’s all in the vision

Let me get this out of the way right at the beginning -patient engagement is not a one-size-fits-all journey. The journey you undertake should be unique to what you stand for, as an organization, who your customers are, and most importantly, the unique needs of your customer’s customer – i.e., the patient. This calls for an optimized approach that takes into consideration, not only the technology needs as they stand today, but having a good foresight of how you want to evolve as an enterprise, in terms of technology adoption in an increasingly digital world.

Bridging the gap

Now is a good time to stop and ask “How is my technology readiness for patient engagement solutions?” As we saw in the previous blog, the 360-degree patient journey encompasses a variety of solutions that start even before the patient visits the clinic. Before embarking on the journey to implementation, it’s essential to take stock of the current state of your IT infrastructure –  what does your system already support and what do you need to plan for in order to prime your IT environment for these features? Are the current systems capable of handling double the volume of users? The gap analysis will put you in a stronger position in terms of deciding which patient engagement features make sense in terms of ROI, offer more value to your customers, and bring sustainability to your business. The analysis will also determine how you position against competitors in terms of the strategic vision that drives patient engagement adoption.

The question of integration

Two hotly debated topics in the healthcare IT circles today is interoperability and integrations. Implementing patient engagement solutions will require working with multiple vendors and hence the ease of integration should be one of the key considerations. At the outset, it would help to chart out the list of potential partners you intend to work with on your patient engagement journey and compare features offered by them versus the technology environment and the integrations they support.

High usability index

Usability should rank really high on your list of factors to consider before embarking on the patient engagement journey. This involves employing design thinking and optimizing the system in a way that is simple and easy for everyone to make the best use of. Training plays a key role here, as does awareness generation among customers. Apart from this, it’s also important to consider the scalability and adaptability of the solution to take care of the changing business needs, technology advancements, and the need for data visualization to create actionable insights.

Map it to the patient journey

A critical factor that will decide the outcome of the patient engagement strategy is without a doubt how satisfied the patient is. The strategy should revolve around supporting the patient in their journey – i.e., the 360-degree patient engagement approach we discussed in the previous blog. To do this, vendors can work proactively with the providers to choose the solutions most useful to their patients. By prioritizing the solutions in this way, the providers will be able to ensure higher patient satisfaction scores, and this, in turn, will help drive their business.

With inputs from Rakesh Dharwadkar, Delivery Manager, IT Services

Ganesh V. Anand

Ganesh is a FHIAS- and PAHM-certified healthcare expert with special interest in patient engagement platforms and digital healthcare-related solutions. Has extensive experience in the US healthcare payer, provider, and PBM landscapes across different healthcare systems.
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