As the health care industry transitions to a value-based care model, there is a growing need for providers to engage patients throughout the continuum of care. Patient engagement is an essential component of effective communication between patients and health care providers. Studies show that increased patient communication and engagement improve patient care and lead to better health outcomes.
One way to get started is by incorporating a mobile patient engagement platform into your practice. Mobile patient engagement platforms are a great way to boost patient engagement, as they minimize barriers to care, provide education, and ensure accessibility to continuous care.
This article explores the goals of patient engagement solutions in behavioral health care and explains why such a solution is so important for your organization's success.
What Does Patient Engagement Look Like?
Patient engagement refers to the degree to which patients are motivated and empowered to take part in their own health care, including knowledge acquisition and decision-making, as well as adherence to treatment plans and medication regimens. Engaged patients will be more likely to follow through on health recommendations because they feel like they have a vested interest in their own health outcomes — and because they trust in and know what to expect from their health care providers.
Benefits of Patient Engagement Solutions
Patient engagement platforms include internet-based tools with the functionality for tracking and managing personal health information, mobile apps for managing illness symptoms and appointment reminders, and social media platforms that allow patients to share experiences with others facing similar challenges. The benefits include:
- Increased telehealth adoption: Digital patient engagement supports patient recovery and well-being by creating a platform for communication between patients and their providers (through mobile apps and online portals), allowing for more convenient access to care. It also helps decrease stigma by normalizing the experience of receiving behavioral health care.
- Peer support: Patient engagement solutions can create a sense of community among patients who are going through similar experiences and who may experience similar challenges.
- Improved efficiency in practice management: Patient engagement solutions help health care providers manage their patient data more efficiently, for example, through the use of electronic health records or software applications that track patient appointments. These improve workflow in health systems and also allow providers to coordinate care across multiple facilities and physicians' offices.
- Enhanced security: Patient engagement solutions can help health care providers protect themselves against cyberattacks by providing secure platforms. Medical information can be exchanged safely over the internet or through other networks by encrypting all information sent to and from patients.
The Ultimate Goal of Patient Engagement for Behavioral Health Care
The primary goal of patient engagement solutions is to help people manage their own health while they are receiving treatment or after they've left the hospital. Patient engagement solutions improve patient health outcomes and lessen costs by reducing hospital readmissions, increasing medication adherence, and helping to prevent emergencies.
Ultimately, patients who are engaged have a better patient experience and higher overall patient satisfaction. Patient engagement solutions help behavioral health care providers keep their patients engaged.
Your engagement program should be sure to address your specific patient engagement objectives. For instance, you may want to support communication with caregivers, encourage patient self-management of symptoms and conditions, and facilitate referrals to other providers. The more clearly you can define the objectives of your engagement program, the more easily you can identify the best patient management software to facilitate practice management.
7 Key Features of Patient Engagement Software for Behavioral Health
An effective patient engagement solution should:
- Enable patient access to their health care providers
- Facilitate task management by reducing manual tasks
- Provide appointment scheduling functionalities
- Manage interactions between the provider and the patient
Patient engagement solutions such as patient portals provide an opportunity for patients to interact with their providers in order to receive timely treatment. Providers can also receive valuable feedback that can improve care processes and meet patients’ needs.
Here are the key features that make up an effective patient engagement solution.
1. Real-Time Communication Tools
One feature that most portals include is a communication tool like secure messaging between the patient and clinician. Having the ability to send messages directly through the HIPAA-compliant portal helps improve communication with patients by eliminating overlooked emails and missed phone connections. Care providers can communicate securely with their patients, alerting them of upcoming appointments or changes in medication.
2. An Appointment-Booking Feature
Clinicians can use the portal to help schedule appointments with their patients, ensuring timely treatment. Allowing patients to access this information on their own allows them to manage their health independently, improves patient satisfaction, and reduces appointment no-shows.
3. Easy to Use
No patient should have to spend hours learning how to use software, so it’s important for the system to be intuitive and user-friendly. The system should also be flexible enough for providers to customize it for their own needs.
4. Allows Integration With Other Systems
Patient engagement software in behavioral health should be part of an integrated, holistic care system. Your patient engagement solution should connect with your EMRs or EHRs and systems that capture patient-generated health data, such as wearable technology or mobile apps. With an integrated system, both patients and providers can benefit from electronic health records interoperability.
5. A Patient-Centered Resource Library
Evidence-based educational resources and engagement tools help patients understand the link between their lives and their mental health. These resources can encourage patients to adhere to their treatment plans and make healthy lifestyle choices.
6. A Peer Support Community
Studies have shown that online support groups can be beneficial to patients, reducing feelings of isolation and helping them to better manage their health. Private support groups monitored by clinicians are preferable to social media, as members can receive advice and support from a trusted and certified source.
With this type of solution, patients can interact with each other in a closed environment where they may feel more comfortable asking questions and talking with others who have similar conditions or concerns. Patients may greatly benefit by sharing information about their condition or treatment plan with other patients.
7. Follow-Up Care
It is important for organizations to understand that the patient engagement journey does not end once a patient completes their treatment plan. Behavioral health care professionals have the responsibility of ensuring that their patients stay on stable treatment regimens and continue to make progress in their recovery, which can be difficult when patients are not consistently engaged.
To prevent regression, organizations need to engage patients at every stage in their journey from initial registration to follow-up patient outreach.
ContinuumCloud’s patient engagement solution encompasses these features and more.
ContinuumCloud’s Patient Engagement Solution Can Help
Digital health solutions are a critical part of the growing arsenal of treatment options available in today's world. ContinuumCloud’s CaredFor app is an enhanced patient engagement platform that strengthens existing care team structures and provides significant benefits to both patients and providers in the behavioral health care system. The CaredFor app is easy to use and bridges gaps in outpatient care.
Behavioral organizations can use this mobile software solution to:
- Improve patient engagement by providing secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging
- Streamline the process for self-scheduling appointments with clinicians, including making it easier for patients who are new to your organization's services
- Reduce no-shows by providing reminders about upcoming appointments, as well as reminders about medication refills and other important events
- Generate customizable assessments and surveys to provide opportunities for micro-interactions with patients
- Create and monitor an alumni network for a continued sense of community and evidence-based research
The CaredFor app is part of an integrated suite of applications that serve as a complete behavioral health management platform for behavioral health organizations. The app helps streamline patient education and enables two-way communication across all stages of care, from new patient intake to post-treatment check-ins.
Contact us today to find out more about how we can tailor our patient engagement solution to meet your needs.