Today's behavioral health leaders place a high value on patient engagement: ContinuumCloud's 2022 Executive Trends Report noted that 40% of respondents rated it as their top priority. And with good reason, since high levels of patient engagement have been linked to improved outcomes and better experiences with health care, including behavioral health. Despite this, many organizations still struggle with the concept of patient engagement and using it to their benefit — and to the benefit of their patients.
In this article, we’ll clarify the definition of patient engagement and talk about what tools providers can use to engage patients effectively. We’ll also discuss why it's important to choose patient engagement software designed specifically for behavioral health.
Patient Engagement Improves Quality of Care
You can think of patient engagement as the dynamic that occurs when a patient is interested in, actively involved in, and accountable for their own care. Research shows that effective patient engagement can lead to improved health and lower health care costs. By investing in the right patient engagement software, you can give your patients the tools they need to feel empowered and succeed in their care.
For instance, studies show that engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions because they are more knowledgeable about their condition and treatment. You can encourage your patients’ health literacy by providing educational materials from sources you trust.
Other research shows that when patients feel like a full partner in their care, they are more motivated to take ownership for their well-being, and they are more likely to follow treatment plans. Similarly, patient satisfaction increases when they are more informed and better prepared for their care experiences. The use of patient outreach tools can help providers bridge communication gaps between sessions and keep their patients focused on their treatment goals.
For behavioral health practices, it's important to find patient engagement solutions that meet your patients' needs. Support from peers in similar circumstances and those who have had success in treatment is crucial. Find ways for your patients to interact in a safe virtual environment by providing them with a moderated social media alternative.
CaredFor: Patient Engagement Software Designed for Behavioral Health
In behavioral health, patients should be engaged at every step of the process. According to a report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 70% of patients leave treatment either before or after the second visit. For these patients to be successful in continuing their treatment, many require additional support.
They may need education to learn more about their diagnosis or information to follow treatment plans. Furthermore, to engage in self-care and make informed decisions, your patients need to have particular skills — and they may need help to build those skills. From the technological skills needed to access their health information to analytical skills required to compare the risks and benefits of treatment, your patients can greatly benefit from having a network. When the stakes are this high, selecting a patient engagement software vendor that understands this is crucial.
The CaredFor app from ContinuumCloud is an interactive mobile app designed by behavioral health IT experts to help you build lasting engagement with your patients and alumni. Our cloud-based platform includes digital tools known to create, boost, and maintain patient engagement in the following ways:
Encouraging peer support
Due to the stigma surrounding behavioral health, patients often feel isolated. According to the report from NAMI, a desired engagement outcome for patients in behavioral health treatment is social inclusion with a like-minded community. Furthermore, patients may be more likely to continue their care if they have the opportunity to engage with a supportive community.
Behavioral health patients report benefits from interacting with peers online. By sharing personal stories, milestones, and achievements, patients may feel a greater sense of social connectedness and group belonging. When patients are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or unwell, they can turn to their peers for strategies to cope with the challenges of living with illness.
CaredFor patient engagement software features a peer support community that encourages positive feedback and real-time interactions between patients, alumni, and families. Through this safe, social media alternative, patients can participate in moderated interactions 24 hours a day.
Engaging between sessions with messaging and reminders
CaredFor’s text messaging feature can help care providers streamline workflows and engage with patients more frequently and efficiently. You can send text message reminders for upcoming appointments, as well as follow-up surveys — which decreases the number of appointment no-shows and the rate of patient attrition, while improving patient participation in self-scheduling. CaredFor uses direct channel HIPAA-compliant secure messaging that is safer than regular texting or email. The same secure direct channel is also available for telehealth.
Educating patients and alumni with content you trust
Engaged patients want to learn about their condition, care plan, and treatment options. And opportunities for ongoing healing and growth don’t have to end when a patient’s treatment plan is completed. With a curated content library, you can engage current patients as well as alumni. The CaredFor app promotes better health literacy by providing access to behavioral health-related content that is tailored for your organization and aligned with your approach to patient care.
Increasing two-way participation with micro-interactions
The CaredFor patient engagement platform allows behavioral health care providers to continually engage with and support patients and alumni through brief surveys. However, unlike conventional forms that require lengthy responses, CaredFor sends micro-interactions. These are quick, pulse surveys created to trigger an immediate response. Micro-interactions improve patient participation and enhance the patient experience because they’re a quick way to get feedback from patients without being intrusive, like a phone call or email.
Patient Engagement With EHR Tools
To make the most of your patient engagement software investment, partner with a technology vendor that offers compatible systems. ContinuumCloud’s electronic health record (EHR) system supports patient engagement by improving your patient’s access to their health information.
Using our EHR solution, a patient can view their health records via a secure patient portal. The cloud-based EHR includes mobile functionality and secure messaging, just like the CaredFor app. Additionally, ContinuumCloud’s EHR platform optimizes engagement by giving your patients the opportunity to communicate with staff via secure video conferencing and chat. Self-service options like online scheduling, remote check-in, and referral requests are all available in the mobile application.
ContinuumCloud’s EHR system also includes practice management tools that help your health system streamline tasks like revenue cycle management including medical billing, new patient onboarding, appointment scheduling, and patient registration.
Choose CaredFor for Complete Patient Engagement
Patient engagement in counseling, behavioral health services, and addiction recovery has been associated with improved health outcomes through better communication, as well as improved quality of care. These are the reasons why promoting it has become a top priority for industry leaders. Patient engagement software can help with keeping your patients connected. However, to be effective, the software must be designed with behavioral health patients in mind.
The CaredFor mobile app from ContinuumCloud is a patient engagement solution designed by behavioral health IT experts especially for behavioral health patients. It includes features that create, increase, and maintain engagement at all levels of care. CaredFor helps mental health and addiction recovery programs reach their patients with timely messages, prompt responses, self-evaluation surveys, communication tools, and a peer support community.
To discuss ContinuumCloud’s digital patient engagement and EHR solutions with a behavioral health industry IT expert, contact us today.