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Patient Engagement

Why Patient Engagement Should Be Your Practice’s #1 Metric

Key Takeaways

  • Engagement can be achieved when the right processes inspire patient participation and involvement, activation, and empowerment.
  • Providers who consistently generate high levels of engagement see higher revenues, better patient outcomes, and get more personal time back in their day.
  • Investing in the right tools and processes is critical to creating a truly engaged patient population.

Are you truly engaging patients in your practice? Or are you wasting time trying to reach them and just not getting through?

Patient engagement has always been a buzzword in the healthcare space, but many providers don’t know how to measure it or how it truly benefits their practices when they create an engaged community of patients. In this article, we’ll take the mystery out of patient engagement and provide practices with actions they can take today to increase engagement and, ultimately, get time back in their day.

What exactly is Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement can be tough to understand because it is both a process and a behavior. Researchers at Columbia University break engagement down into three main behavioral areas:

  • Participation and Involvement: A patient’s actions to take part in care
  • Activation: A patient’s confidence and skills to engage in care
  • Empowerment: A patient’s increased desire and ability to participate in care

Each behavioral state leads the next, and all must be present for a patient to be considered highly engaged. Patients who are highly involved build confidence in their ability to achieve the desired health outcome, thus entering the activation stage. As activation behaviors increase, so does the patient’s desire to achieve their end result, resulting in empowerment.

How can practices create these behaviors? This is where Patient Engagement also becomes process driven. Practices must devise and employ the right processes consistently across the patient’s treatment journey to inspire the three stages of behavioral engagement. We will show you exactly how to do that below.

Why should Patient Engagement matter to me?

Patient Engagement can only be achieved when providers and patients work together toward a shared goal of improved health. And, when consistently prioritized, practices can see tremendous results.

In a study of over 200 oral surgeons consistently using WUWTA’s patient engagement roadmap, practices stated that they saw:

  • Decreases average consult time
  • Decreases in patient complaints about staff communication
  • Increases in case acceptance
  • Increases in positive patient outcomes
  • Increases in 5-star reviews
  • More personal time back in their schedule every day

What would you do with an extra hour of personal time every day? Spend more time with your family and friends? Pursue hobbies and passions you have been missing? Spend it seeing more patients and increasing your revenue? When you create engaged patient populations, the possibilities are endless!

5 Ways to Create and Measure Patient Engagement

Deploying the right processes in your practice that inspire participation, involvement, activation, and empowerment can be easy with the right tools and team members in place. Here are 5 ways you can quickly begin implementing and measuring these processes and generating a result.

Utilize Digital Referrals

Utilizing digital referrals allows you to shorten the time between referral and scheduling, and provides a unique opportunity to make the first connection. Practices utilizing WUWTA can immediately begin communicating with patients as soon as the referral is submitted by the dental office. Patients receive a text message right away, beginning the participation and involvement stage before they ever speak with your team.

Establish Front Desk Scripting

Your team should set the standard in the first conversation, and proper scripting ensures patients get the right information at the right time to inspire action. Practices that leverage the prescriptive power of the doctor in this scripting are even more successful in creating engagement. When “it is so important to Dr. Thomas that you follow these instructions so you feel fully prepared for your visit with her,” the likelihood of compliance increases significantly.

Invest in Video-Based Education

Extend the amount of time that patients get to spend with their doctor by investing in custom video content that walks the patient through every step of their treatment journey. Not only does the patient get all the information they need in a format they can easily digest, but patients also feel like they get more time with their provider. This builds a stronger relationship and a greater feeling of trust. You also gain critical analytics such as the number of times the video was watched and how long they watched it, so you can understand if a patient is truly participating in their care and take the appropriate actions if they’re not.

Leverage the Right Communication Tools

Our busy lives make it difficult to call practices during business hours and sit on hold while we wait to be helped with a quick question. Providing patients with the ability to text with your practice can eliminate the need for long phone conversations, provide faster responses to short-form questions, and free up your staff’s time to focus on scripting and providing a stellar in-office experience.

Implement a Scoring System

How are you tracking engagement? WUWTA makes it easy by tracking all the important metrics to generate a single engagement score. Are patients opening messages from the practice? How long are they watching your videos? Are they completing registration in advance? Did they review the online care instructions? These factors and more can tell you how engaged a patient is AND can help you determine how much time you need to spend with a patient.

I’m ready to start engaging my patients!

When practice processes meet the desired patient behaviors, patient engagement can be achieved. Hundreds of surgeons worldwide are utilizing WUWTA to implement the 5 strategies outlined above and create engaged patient populations. Even better, WUWTA’s practice management system integrations can automate the entire process for even greater time savings.

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