The process of moving patients from casual awareness to becoming self-advocates is an essential step in helping patients recover from an illness. Much is written about patient engagement, which is a broad set of tactics and a process largely focused on the healthcare professional and how they connect with patients to ensure recovery and well-being. In reality, a powerful engagement program should also include a focus on patient activation, which strives to develop a patient’s confidence and focus to become more involved in managing their own health plan. Sometimes confused with compliance, which is in simple terms “following doctor’s orders”, activation emphasizes a patient’s understanding of their role in the care process.
While some patients may become “activated” on their own terms, many patients need the help of their doctors and nurses to develop such confidence. Some key strategies to activate a patient is patient education, shared decision-making and follow-ups outside the hospital doors.
With patient education, the caregiver must ensure that the patient understands his/her condition and the related treatment. A 2018 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Open Network showed that even moderate clinician-led patient education can drive activation levels. Reiteration is also key which can simply be done by a follow-up phone call or an educational letter. This ensures that the patients understand all the parameters of their condition what their role is.
Shared decision-making opens up conversation between the patient and caregiver and ultimately gives the patient more input into their treatment plan. Discussion allows the patient to begin the self-management process with the help of a professional making the strategy a useful gateway to patient activation. Additionally, shared decision-making has proven to yield higher patient satisfaction and creates a closer bond between the patient and caregiver.
Patient follow-up can also jump-start patient activation. It is important to keep communication channels open between the patient and caregivers so that the patient can utilize professional help just as much outside the hospital as inside.
At PREMEDEX, our focus is on patient follow-up to help patients feel comfortable with their healthcare plan after a hospital stay, and to give them confidence to becoming activated in participating in their go-forward regimens and therapies. Our experienced team connects hundreds of patients every day, and captures patient interactions on our market-leading technology to ensure every aspect of their care plan is progressing as intended.
PREMEDEX can help activate patients. Contact us today to learn more.