Digital health care is a top priority for consumers. Online patient engagement tools, such as self-scheduling and online payment options, can help health care organizations recruit new patients. Moreover, consistent communication, monitoring, and follow-up can help retain more existing patients.
Successful digital health patient engagement tools are those designed to keep patients engaged in their own health across the care continuum while improving access to care. In this article, we’ll delve into digital health and its benefits and features, then unpack the design specifics that patient engagement platforms need to be successful.
What Is Digital Health?
Digital health refers to the use of technology in health care to exchange medical information, track symptoms, prevent disease, monitor progression, manage healthy habits, and provide treatment and programming. It also promotes the well-being of people who provide care and support to your patients.
As a result of COVID-19, digital health has taken off, but many organizations invested in innovative technologies long before the pandemic. The use of digital health tools will continue to gain popularity in the post-pandemic era as it serves patient needs and provides more convenience. Some of these digital tools include:
- Telemedicine including telebehavioral health
- Mobile health (mHealth)
- Patient portals
- Enhanced communication tools (email, text messages, chat)
- Peer support groups
- Care plans
- Digital billing and online payments
- Unified electronic health records (EHRs)
- Social media-like experiences
- Mobile applications
Digital Health Patient Engagement Benefits
The research is clear: Patients who are engaged in their health have better health outcomes, use fewer health care resources, and incur lower costs. Through patient engagement, health care providers better position themselves to convey important health information, formulate effective treatment plans, and foster trust.
Patients are more open to virtual care than traditional in-person care according to a recent Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) report. Additionally, young adult consumers are more comfortable with digital communication and have come to expect the convenience it offers. The use of digital health technologies or digital interventions can fill in treatment gaps and help providers deliver high-quality health care to patients living in remote or underserved communities.
Patient Engagement Digital Health Platform Design
In addition to innovating the digital health space, life sciences organizations must continually improve how they design patient engagement tools to better serve, support, and engage patients. In order for new technologies to be used by patients, they must be effective and easy to use.
ContinuumCloud’s patient engagement platform, the CaredFor app, meets compliance and oversight standards set by the government and is thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of all potential users. Here are some of the notable design components of the CaredFor app.
Creating a digital patient engagement tool with the user in mind is one of the keys to its success. The more user-friendly an interface is, the more likely your patients will use it. ContinuumCloud understands the behavioral health care market, including patient preferences and their pain points. Our digital health tools are built to ensure consistency and long-term efficacy.
There’s a lot of regulatory oversight in behavioral health, and in particular, over the digital tools used to store protected health information and provide communication, education, and patient engagement.
People from all backgrounds and abilities should be able to engage with patient engagement platforms. Software should be accessible to people of all ages, cultures, economic situations, education levels, genders, locations, languages, races, and ethnicities.
CaredFor’s inclusive design also accommodates the needs of people with disabilities, supports multiple languages, and meets HIPAA, HITECH Act, and COPRA regulations.
Many positives come from having a strong support system, according to experts. Better coping skills, better well-being, and longer, healthier lives are some of the benefits. Depression, anxiety, and stress can also be reduced.
Having support is particularly beneficial when patients cannot manage their own care due to chronic conditions or disabilities. Despite this, there are few efforts made to engage and support the well-being of families and caregivers.
Patient engagement isn't static. Rather, it’s constantly evolving. Hence, even after the patient has completed their treatment program, targeted patient engagement can help prevent future complications, avoid risks, and encourage participation in peer support.
Extending the continuum of care doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. ContinuumCloud has designed the CaredFor app to appeal to and engage multiple users, including family members, caregivers, alums, and patients.
A component of value-based, patient-centered care is providing your patients with the care they need where they are. This means having technology that functions with every operating system and every digital platform.
To be flexible in your approach for communicating, sharing treatment and health information with your patients, and ensuring consistent access, you need a partner like ContinuumCloud that understands both behavioral health and technology. The CaredFor app works across all platforms, devices, and operating systems. All you need is access to an internet connection.
The Office of the National Coordinator for health information (ONC) published the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule to encourage interoperability between online records systems, improve patient access to data, and prevent data silos. The goal is that through smartphone apps, patients and providers will have access to structured electronic health information that is secure and easily accessible. The digital patient engagement solutions provided by the CaredFor app can help accomplish this.
Digital Health Patient Engagement Tools
Today, behavioral health patients are actively seeking technology-enabled solutions to improve their health and well-being. In fact, according to research, around 60% of health care consumers want to use online platforms or mobile apps to communicate with their providers and health care teams, access health information, and manage all aspects of their care.
The CaredFor app provides a suite of tools for meeting patient expectations, differentiating your practice, retaining patients, and scaling growth.
Researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) have demonstrated that therapeutic support or “digital interventions” delivered via patient engagement platforms may cause less stigma and reach more individuals. The potential of digital interventions equates to earlier diagnosis or even prevention of mental health challenges. Through a smartphone app like CaredFor, clinicians can provide care, enhance self-management, and improve patient outcomes.
Peer Support Community
One way to encourage long-term recovery and prevent relapse is to connect patients with support systems. People experiencing similar situations can interact with each other using the CaredFor app's peer community. The peer community is a vital part of ContinuumCloud's patient engagement platform as it serves as a virtual support group. Through the use of social media-style tools, patients, alumni, and their families are able to communicate with one another as well as give and receive advice and support from any connected device. Providers can create virtual and in-person events and schedule telehealth visits using this feature as well.
It’s costly and frustrating when a patient misses an appointment. To increase engagement and decrease no-shows, around 90% of today’s practices are using some type of digital reminder system to make patients aware of scheduled appointments. Use the CaredFor app or ContinuumCloud’s comprehensive EHR solution to create automated appointment reminders ahead of time so that no one forgets.
Curated Content Library
Having reliable information is crucial for patients to make good decisions. Finding health information on the internet is easy, but inaccurate or outdated information can negatively affect a patient's health. When using the CaredFor app, patients have access to current and accurate patient education materials. Our team will work with you to create a content library that meets your high expectations and supports your programming style.
Personalized Behavioral Health Care Journeys
Clinicians can create and deliver Care Journeys, which are digital versions of the traditional care plan, using the CaredFor app. A personalized patient experience meets people where they are and fosters better engagement. With Care Journeys, you can effectively communicate with patients and improve outcomes by addressing their behavior changes.
Choose a Technology Partner With Digital Health Patient Engagement Expertise
There’s no denying the importance of digital health patient engagement. Patient engagement improves health outcomes while the use of mobile digital health platforms like the CaredFor app enables behavioral health care providers to tailor patient care, extend the continuum of care, and reach a broader group of patients at scale.
ContinuumCloud's digital health solutions include a unified EHR system and patient engagement platform that were specifically designed for behavioral health professionals and patients. For more patient engagement strategies from ContinuumCloud, connect with us today.