It’s no doubt that AHIP 2018 was an incredible success. With so many talented and intelligent speakers, this year’s event, to me, seemed to have some of the highest caliber sessions that I’ve seen in previous years.
As we unwind from a busy week full of exciting healthcare innovation, I can’t help but reflect on the biggest challenge I see healthcare organizations of all shapes and sizes struggle with: patient engagement.
Everyone wants to see a healthcare system with improved outcomes, better patient experiences and lower costs. It’s hard to imagine our reaching the “triple aim” without successfully engaging patients in their care.
As a physician, this is my number one concern. We clearly can’t always control what people do outside the doctor’s office or hospital. However, we can find ways to initiate small changes to patient behavior that actually stick and lead to big lifestyle improvements. Focusing on what resonates, one patient demographic at a time, will eventually create a healthier overall population.
While there’s no “one size fits all” approach to engaging your population, here are small steps organizations can take to initiate increment behavior changes that will eventually lead to big improvements:
- Grab their attention with information that’s relevant: Organizations need to adapt their communications to their audience’s geographic needs and social demographic. For example, content about the dangers of smoking and savings from smoking cessation may resonate best with some segments of the populations you serve, while other segments might benefit most from advice on colorectal cancer screening options.
- Provide access to resources beyond the doctor’s office: A staggering number of people don’t see their physician on a regular basis - Fierce Healthcare recently reported that 28% of men and 17% of women don’t even have a healthcare provider. This number increases in rural areas where access to care isn’t always convenient. With this in mind, focus on bringing elements of the care experience directly to patients. Nurse lines, for example, give members instant access to a healthcare professional without leaving their home. Further, health coaches available via phone help members feel empowered to achieve lifestyle goals and provide support in navigating the complex healthcare system. These free services often reach patients who neglect getting needed care due to affordability concerns.
- Recognize and reward success: Creating incentives for reaching various lifestyle goals is a great way to further engage your population and keep them tracking toward individual milestones. Whether it’s a large goal, like running a marathon, or a smaller one like getting up and walking every day, people often respond best to challenges to set small achievable goals and appreciate having choices of various health challenges. .
See how Health Dialog can help you engage your population with targeted outreach, 24/7 nurse line support and personalized health coaching: https://www.healthdialog.com/population-health-management-solutions