At a Glance
- Empowering patients in healthcare involves giving them digital tools, offering online scheduling, and delivering clear, actionable information about their health and care plans.
- Wearables allow patients to actively engage with and manage their own health data, fostering greater understanding and motivation to achieve health goals.
- With the shift towards consumer-centric healthcare, practices that focus on patient empowerment can enhance patient loyalty and retention in an increasingly competitive landscape.
It’s no secret that healthcare is changing rapidly. Today’s competitive healthcare landscape is informed by emerging technology, shifting patient expectations, and the rise of private equity-backed practices and hospitals. With patient loyalty at an all-time low, practices must find creative ways to engage and empower patients.
Tebra’s 2023 Patient Perspectives report found that aside from quality care, patients most want available appointments and quick responses to questions and concerns. Patients also want digital access: digital communication for appointments, reminders and confirmations, and the ability to access their own medical records digitally with an EHR.
Practices eager to empower patients during their healthcare journey need to adopt the right technology and tools that allow for patients to take an active role in their own care in these various ways. For practices curious about how to empower patients, consider these 4 tips.
1. Embrace the internet
An easy-to-find website that appears near the top of search results is the foundation for patient empowerment. Since 3 in 4 patients head online to find providers, according to Tebra’s Patient Perspectives report, having a modern website that serves as an information hub and point of contact is essential.
2. Provide convenience through online scheduling
When a patient wants help, they want it as soon as possible. Knowing how to empower patients often means meeting patients where they are. Since the number one patient desire is available appointments, practices must implement online scheduling that allows patients to select a convenient time. Embrace telehealth for a truly empowering experience.
Automating scheduling also means that practices can showcase their most up-to-date availability, as cancellations automatically free up those time slots for others to book. Practices may benefit from better resource allocation with online scheduling, as the front-office staff are able to channel their efforts into other practice or patient needs.
3. Create clear information and actionable plans
The answer to how to empower patients doesn’t start and stop in the exam room. As plenty of patients are comfortable turning online to self-diagnose their symptoms, it’s never been more important for providers to create clear and achievable step-by-step plans.
It’s also important for doctors to share their medical knowledge with patients through the patient portal, via a website blog, through a weekly newsletter, or on social media to stay top of mind. Giving patients the right information helps them to develop the confidence to overcome any health issue, no matter how complex.
And just as providers share their own advice, they should solicit patient feedback, too. Send a post-visit follow-up survey to empower patients to share feedback on their visit and care plan.
4. Encourage wearables or other tracking methods
Your patients aren’t homogenous: some are healthy, others are not, and most are somewhere in between, adjusted for age and other social determinants. But regardless of health situation, patients are likely to become more engaged and empowered in their health journey once they begin to measure unique health data, like blood sugar levels, body fat percentage, or steps per day. Information is power, and armed with the specifics of their health, patients are more likely to feel empowered to make changes. Wearables give patients a digestible way to care about their health and achieve small wins that add up to huge changes over time.
To be successful in today’s consumerized healthcare marketplace, practices must reconsider how to empower patients. Regardless of the reimbursement model, empowering patients to take the lead in their healthcare journey is a sure way to boost patient retention.