Confidence in patient engagement technology’s (PETs) potential remains high as health systems continue to invest in a more digital health care experience – focusing on connecting with, communicating with, and monitoring patients outside the walls of the health system. While it’s encouraging to see health systems being proactive by embracing the growing demand by consumers for a more digital health care experience, successful patient/health system adoption is much more than investing in and implementing new technology.
Successful adopters of PET have started with buy-in at the senior leadership level, redesigning the organizational strategy to become more consumer/patient-obsessed. This obsession must be built into every company initiative and job description.
Success is more than excellent technology
The broad attraction of PETs is improving efficiency, patient safety, and diagnostic ability. A growing number of health systems use and want to use more digital tools. And there’s certainly no lack of patients demanding these tools. A recent report from the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) proposes that organizations with a priority on PETs are more likely to achieve patient/health system adoption. The greatest drivers for implementing PETs are to improve access to care, help patients monitor and manage their health, and achieve greater patient satisfaction.
Many health systems are only in the early stages of implementing PETs, so it’s not a surprise that we’re seeing patient adoption lower than we’d like. But the vision is clear…PETs are long-term investments that will net great returns. Health systems note that patient portals are pivotal to their patient engagement strategies.
Organizational barriers such as misaligned priorities in terms of the governance, budget, and speed of their patient engagement strategies are known to be common. Other barriers organizations face when implementing new technologies include internal staff members unwilling to change their workflow to accommodate patient engagement. Organizational size and structure also produce unique challenges. Large and mid-sized health systems perceive integration with current tools and technologies as one of the biggest challenges to adopting PETs. Small health systems note that patient and provider interest in shifting to digital tools as their top challenge.
Digital health encompasses a broad scope of tools that engage patients for clinical purposes; collect, organize, interpret and use clinical data; and manage outcomes and other measures of care quality. Having patients play an active role in their health gives them more necessity, encouraging feelings of empowerment when it comes to making healthy decisions, and reaching out to the healthcare team with questions and concerns. The most efficient way for providers to get their patients involved and drive adoption is to engage with them often and enable them with information not only about adherence but about the value of prevention. No matter the PET solution/s implemented, the blend of digital tools and the human touch will result in much easier implementation and adoption.