The healthcare landscape has transformed in many ways over the last several years, including placing more focus on patients as consumers. As patients demand more personalization, convenience, better service, and easier ways to navigate the complex health systems, hospitals are scrutinizing how they manage that experience and keep patients engaged with their care plans. Those experiences include “everything from customer service to patient-centeredness and care coordination among providers” and beyond.
Having the right staffing solutions goes hand in hand with boosting patient engagement and driving a patient-first culture. Healthcare leaders are increasingly leveraging the power of professionals who work behind the scene of patient care to drive such an experience.
Let’s explore how some of those professionals can boost your organization’s patient engagement strategy.
Patient engagement 101
Looking for ways to increase engagement isn’t limited to healthcare. Better service and personalization are what we have come to expect across consumer-facing industries.
But healthcare seems to come with the highest stakes. Recent research shows there are still challenges to accessing quality healthcare despite a “growing number of tools that can help engage consumers at each stage of the patient journey.”
Different patients are seeking different benefits and will engage with different tools in their journeys. Undoubtedly, patients and healthcare organizations can benefit across the board by adopting the right mix of diverse options.
1. Teams focused on creating a patient-first atmosphere
Healthcare organizations have long relied on the idea of having a built-in audience. While this still may somewhat be the case, patients now have more choices than ever for where they take their business. They also have access to apps, online groups, and the rapidly growing industry of virtual care.
Behind the scene teams are key in creating a consumer-driven experience. Those teams can include:
- clinical documentation improvement specialists: the work of these professionals is “at the core of every patient encounter” and helps to improve the quality of care through optimized documentation and coding tools as well as simplified workflow
- coding professionals: they can “translate a patient encounter into the languages used for claims submission and reimbursement,” a critical step toward ensuring patients have billing statements they can understand
2. Teams focused on protecting billing integrity
Billing in healthcare has long been complex. Patients continue to worry about shouldering costs, so moves to make pricing more transparent are significant to unraveling the process. Engaging patients in their journeys to improved health outcomes also means ensuring they have easy access to documentation and payment options among other things.
Having staffing solutions in place that ensure patients receive upfront information can lead to an increase in patients meeting financial responsibilities and in satisfaction and loyalty. Such solutions include:
- audit professionals: these experts can help protect billing integrity as well as drive population health initiatives
- revenue cycle management experts: they can create a patient access strategy to better engage patients at the point of service, a strategy that can reduce risk and increase collections
- finance and accounting professionals: their work helps organizations meet financial goals and outcomes consistent with priorities for compliance, quality care, and patient satisfaction
3. Teams focused on engaging through technology and data management
Patients who are engaged often have better outcomes, a significant consideration for today’s value-based care environment. That engagement often begins with technology.
The experts who lead digital initiatives and protect data for healthcare organizations help engagement strategies by providing better communication, patient portals, EHR optimization, integrated workflows, and tools to improve the patient experience. Whether in staff or leadership roles, the work of those in HIM can unburden physicians’ time, allowing more focus on quality of patient care. It can also:
- help organizations recognize its strengths and opportunities
- redefine how health information is collected, processed, used, stored, and retrieved
- create systems and methods to improve collaboration and performance as a team
- provide departments with the tools and insight needed to adapt with the industry’s evolving best practices
4. Teams focused on case management
Case management professionals guide patients while ensuring their needs are met in cost-effective ways. From coordinating care to providing education on the injury/clinical/disease process and beyond, these professionals are improving patient engagement and helping patients feel at ease each day. Having these experts in place in your organizations means you have experts who can:
- take a holistic approach to engagement and deliver the personalization necessary for a patient-centric culture
- reach patients where they are in their individual health journeys and develop individualized plans of care
- support departments across healthcare organizations to enhance quality of clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction
While patients have always had choices, they are now more aware of just how much freedom and purchasing power they have. This presents a pivotal opportunity for healthcare organizations to stand out from their competitors.
Creating meaningful patient engagement doesn’t have to be difficult; it simply needs the right experts and the right strategies. We stand ready as a trusted partner to healthcare organizations across the country to provide professionals in diverse behind the scene specialities to activate such strategies for your organization today.