According to An Empirical Study of Chronic Diseases, nearly half (approximately 45%, or 133 million) of all Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, and the number is growing. These diseases, including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obesity, among others, can lead to poor patient outcomes, often resulting in hospitalization, long-term disability, poor quality of life, and even death.
If you’re in the healthcare industry, chances are your organization is trying to answer these important questions:
Improved patient engagement in healthcare is the answer to these questions. As the healthcare industry transitions into a value-based care system, providers strive to enhance patient engagement. Being the linchpin of Healthcare Organizations (HCOs), patients should drive engagement and improve operational strategy. Patients engaged in their care tend to be happier, healthier, and experience better health outcomes. Published evidence proves that patient engagement improves health and clinical outcomes, drives preferences, and reduces health costs.
An intuitive patient experience focuses on building trust, helps identify chronic disease risk early, promotes awareness and behavior change, and improves outcomes. Despite advances in the patient experience, patients, payers, providers, and device companies continue to face challenges managing chronic diseases like diabetes.
Patients are unaware of the dangers payers and providers face when tasked with directing the right amount of effort for chronic conditions. Payers and providers must create maximum impact for patient care and savings for the organization.
Let’s take a closer look at why it’s difficult to manage a chronic disease like diabetes. Patients with chronic diabetes can experience:
Therefore, a new patient engagement approach will provide the support required to enhance patients' overall experience, identify key data points, and engage the member on a new level.
Engaging patients increases satisfaction, increases retention rate, and enhances care quality with fee-for-service and value-based care models. Yet healthcare organizations have a long way to go to build a comprehensive strategy that can strengthen their existing infrastructure and support patient care.
However, as the healthcare landscape changes and specific market drivers get implemented, companies can begin to create patient engagement. There are different levels of engagement and each payer, provider, and device company are at a different maturity level when it comes to creating value out of patient data and engaging with them.
If an organization is at level one of two, there is business value that can be unlocked by leveraging patient engagement. Organizations that are at maturity level three and above can identify high-risk population groups and take preventive action. They are thus more into proactive wellness than reactive care. A high-level patient maturity platform tracks the dynamic risk profile for all patients/members by monitoring all data sources, including wearables, Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), and consumer data and marrying them with clinical and claims information.
A level three patient engagement platform leverages autonomous engagement strategies to drive efficiencies and high-touch service to avoid high-cost episodes. A patient is supported with timely and relatable engagement to keep him or her at the lower risk tier. Any changes in his or her condition, physiological, and psychological parameters are recognized, and the engagement strategy is modified.
As companies move to level 4 and 5, they offer deeper interactions with their customers and ultimately, at level 5, create a rewards-benefit situation. At level 5, patients receive tangible rewards, that span beyond the benefit of good health. What’s in it for me (WIIFM) is crystal clear resulting in stickiness for the programs.
Patient journey and personalized engagement with the above model will help payers win when it comes to patient care. This is the time to engage in the digital world and integrate solutions to make your care management and monitoring efficient and effective.
The maturity platform engagement is a foundational approach, where payers should design a comprehensive strategy to close the care gaps depending on automation tools and cognitive therapy. Insurance companies can witness dramatic improvements with the maturity approach to increase patient engagement using:
The patient engagement model creates opportunities to fundamentally change the relationship of payers and members to help them improve their length and quality of life. With effective patient engagement, every penny invested results in cost savings. As per industry research, higher engagement leads to higher patient satisfaction, estimating that about a $1 investment leads to $5 in returns.
The new engagement model is focused on proactive care with early identification and intervention to manage healthcare costs. Implementing the right model by investing at the right time, to use intervention, messaging, channels, and rewards can influence patients' ability to engage more with the healthcare system, leading to better patient experiences and outcomes. According to the Assessing the Financial Value of Patient Engagement study, it also reveals that health systems/hospitals with better performance invests more in patient engagement.
Creating a better provider-patient relationship and giving patients the ability to manage their health increases engagement.
Engaged patients can:
Fostering a sense of engagement with patients/members can provide multiple benefits for your organization. The increased patient retention alone is enough for companies to take notice. Take time to determine which maturity level you fall under and leverage patient engagement effectively.
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Senior Director - Medical Devices Industry Solutions Head
Ram heads the medical device and diagnostic industry solutions at Virtusa. He uses strategy and tactics to deliver on value-added solutions via in-house expertise, partnerships, and shared objectives. He is responsible for developing innovative strategies to expand the life science business at Virtusa.
Senior Director-Client Services
With over 27 years of experience in patient care, IT integration, operations, and financial leadership, John is a healthcare industry expert specializing in finding unique approaches to solving complex clinical and operational challenges. John began his career with four years as an ICU nurse in Academic Medical Centers. He has spent the past 23 years as a consultant driving business outcomes for payer, provider, and life science clients.
Principal Data Architect – Healthcare and Life Sciences
Vinoth Srinivasan has over 15 years of experience specializing in data platform modernization, big data and analytics, data lakes, AI/ML, data engineering, master data management, and data governance with a strong focus on customer success. In his current role, he is helping our healthcare and life sciences clients on their strategic data initiatives, transformation programs, and data solutions to run businesses at scale.
Associate Manager-Business Consulting
Antriksh is a healthcare consultant with over 11 years of experience in process mapping and design, gap analysis, and design thinking. At Virtusa, he belongs to the business consulting practice, assisting top executives in creating Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies and solutions for healthcare and life science clients.
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