The Impact of Patient Engagement: 10 Metrics to Know

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
This post was written by Patricia Donovan

A formal patient engagement program elevates patient satisfaction, care plan adherence and overall quality scores, say three-fifths of healthcare organizations.

While more than 60 percent of healthcare organizations report their patient engagement programs have elevated patient satisfaction, care plan adherence and overall quality metrics, populations with low health literacy or behavioral health conditions are more resistant to efforts to engage them in self-care.

These findings were among the benchmarks identified by an inaugural survey on Patient Engagement by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. The August 2015 survey also determined that 79 percent of respondents are striving to improve patient engagement, employing an arsenal of tactics and e-tools.

Asked to identify some hurdles of engaging patients, half of the survey’s 133 respondents reported that the behavioral health population is the most challenging to engage. And “high utilizers”—individuals with frequent ER visits or hospitalizations—are top candidates for engagement efforts, say 52 percent of respondents.

Today’s value-focused healthcare models theorize that engaged patients not only are healthier and more satisfied but may incur fewer costs than the non-engaged, which is why many programs make patient engagement a priority, such as Medicare’s mandate that accountable care organizations (ACOs) develop processes to promote patient engagement.

Patient and caregiver education is the top strategy deployed to engage patients, say 72 percent of survey respondents. In this area, technology plays a pivotal role, the survey found.

Whether patient engagement translates to good business remains to be seen. In the meantime, the HIN survey found that organizations are testing the impact of health coaching, embedded case management, a team-based approach and telephonic follow-up, among other tactics, on overall population health engagement.

Here are five more metrics from the 2015 Patient Engagement Survey:

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents have a patient portal, whose top use is education.
  • Almost half of respondents—48 percent—possess an electronic health record (EHR) that helps to identify patients most in need of engagement.
  • Low health literacy is the top barrier to patient engagement, say 20 percent of respondents.
  • The case manager has top responsibility for patient engagement efforts, say 28 percent of respondents.
  • Of those respondents with no formal initiative to foster patient engagement, 65 percent will launch an effort in the coming year.

Download an executive summary of the 2015 Patient Engagement survey results.

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