- Despite strong commitment to patient engagement, healthcare leaders report difficulty getting consumer input on organizational changes to advance that goal, according to a new study by the Health Care Transformation Task Force.
- Executives surveyed by the industry group reported a wide array of platforms for involving consumers in governance and system design efforts, including patient and family advisory councils, patient advocate offices, shared decision-making systems and portals. Nearly 92% said the number of structures has increased in recent years.
- Barriers to more meaningful engagement include difficulty identifying and onboarding consumers, staff and resource constraints, poor interoperability across disparate IT systems and resistance to change.
As healthcare attempts to become more consumer-driven, providers need to think about how to engage patients and improve their care experience. That’s not just the right thing to do for the patient; Hospitals are rated on their CMS patient satisfaction HCAHPS scores and a low score can mean lower Medicare and Medicaid payments. Including patients and consumers in designing care delivery models that increase engagement improves the odds that they will succeed.
While the shift to value-based care has forced all organizations to consider patient engagement, some have embraced the patient-centered care model more than others. For example, while 61.5% of leaders said their organization’s mission statement includes patient engagement terminology, 38.5% were unsure if such language is included.
Respondents also varied on how effectively their organization involves consumers in value system initiatives, with those reporting strong involvement crediting leadership commitment, the study says.
The study identified four opportunities for improving consumer and patient engagement: consumer recruitment, consumer training, operational structure to support consumer engagement, and breaking down “silos of patient engagement” within organizations.
“There is a realization that consumers need to be engaged not just as patients but as participants in the value model design and governance of our delivery systems,” Jeff Micklos, executive director of HCTTF, said in a statement. “Providers clearly have an opportunity to better involve consumers.”
Sarah Thomas, managing director at Deloitte, recommends that healthcare organizations develop best practices to guide their efforts on patient engagement and management. Her favorites include increased transparency, centralized registration and open access scheduling. “It’s not just amenities,” she told Healthcare Dive in an interview last year. “It’s really improving the patient experience in ways that will improves the outcomes, too.”