Just as healthcare is making the shift from volume to value, the concept of Patient Engagement needs to be reimagined in several important ways:
View patients as healthcare consumers with varying levels of engagement in their own care…
Some patients will actively choose how, where and when to access healthcare based on cost, quality data and other patient’s reviews. They expect personalization and patient-centricity from their healthcare providers, and make decisions based on being directly responsible for healthcare costs.
Other patients may feel overwhelmed by managing their health and will require a more guided and supportive approach to understanding, monitoring and potentially confidently managing their conditions at some point.
Acknowledge the impact of factors such as behavioral economics in decision-making…
The reality is people often don’t make rational decisions – in fact, many irrational factors influence thinking such as:
- Status Quo bias: “This is what I’ve always done…”
- Complexity Aversion bias: “Too many factors to consider…”
- Present Time bias: “Going to the gym now is too hard…”
- Peanuts effect: “It was only 1 donut a day (for 10 years)…”
Important health-related behavior changes need to be framed for patients in recognition of these biases – the long-term impacts of old habits can be re-framed relative to current goals, incentives can be created to establish more immediate payoffs for difficult changes and seemingly overwhelming tasks can be broken into a series of smaller, achievable wins that build confidence and belief that “Yes, I can do this.”
Health goals and behavior changes must be made relevant to each patient by relating them to individual, personal priorities:
For behavior change to occur, care has to fit meaningfully into patient’s lives. Patients are motivated more by personal goals rather than potentially overwhelming healthcare metrics. Patients care more about spending time with their grandkids or being able to walk their dog rather than controlling blood glucose levels or lowering blood pressure. By understanding these priorities and reaching patients with relevant, personalized messages at the right time outside of the care setting, the likelihood of successfully triggering positive health-related behaviors increases dramatically.
For success in population health management to be achieved, Patient Engagement must evolve from being a non-essential, ‘nice to have’ function to a critical driver of success. By clearly demonstrating the value and ROI that patient engagement can bring to the management of populations, the role that patients play will finally be recognized – for the impact it can have in their own success and that of care teams. When patients are truly activated to participate in their own care and own the management of their health, the industry will be transformed.