Why Is Patient Engagement So Important And How Can It Be Achieved?

by The DermEngine Team on Nov 16, 2018

Recently, 49% of surveyed medical industry personnel indicated that patient engagement is a major priority over the next five years.Although clearly identified as an area of great importance, a snapshot of the current healthcare industry demonstrates that this unfortunately fails to be the case. This article summarizes the key reasons behind the importance of patient accessibility along with the consequences of disconnected communications and care.

Patient engagement is comprised of several factors: personalized communications, accessible and easy-to-understand care plans, helpful knowledge resources, and medical record accessibility. The latter is the point that this article will discuss in greater detail.

The Status Of EMR Accessibility
Evaluations of the healthcare industry indicate that an inadequate number of patients have access to their records, and the ones that do are often faced with an incomplete profile. For example, research shows that:

  • 1 in 3 users lack easy access to medical records 2

  • 3 of every 10 tests are reordered because the results cannot be found 3

  • Patient charts cannot be retrieved on 30% of visits 3

  • 70% of the specialists rate the patient referral information they receive from other providers as fair or poor 3

Doctor showing patient their electronic health record for enhanced engagement-1

Although widely unavailable, this does not mean it is without demand. ~75% of patients confirm that if they could easily access their personal healthcare data it would improve their understanding of their care plan along with physician communications.2 What would change if patients had access to their healthcare records?

Patient Engagement Through Information
Electronic medical record (EMR) accessibility is important for a number of reasons for both doctors and the patients themselves. In addition to promoting education and clearer communications,  studies demonstrate that:

  • Patients who receive quick access to their medical notes are 60% more likely to follow their medical plan 2

  • ~80% of patients who can access their electronic health records (EHR) use the information towards their care 4

Building on this concept, healthcare professionals are adopting patient portals designed to directly connect with their patients while providing access to key health information. In doing so, research indicates that increased communications through apps can improve engagement rates by a minimum of 60%. 5

MoleScope interchangeable contact caps for mobile dermoscopy

Only one example from the dermatology industry is the use of teledermoscopy services. For example, the MoleScope app allows patients to capture images of their skin and set helpful reminders for their monthly skin check. Additionally, users have the option of purchasing a mobile attachment (known as a dermoscope) which allows them to take magnified images to better analyze their skin spots and even send them to a dermatologist in their area for consultation. As a result, patients are able to receive valuable feedback in a matter of days rather than months.

Conclusion
Although recognized to be a major priority towards continued care, patient EMR accessibility and engagement fail to meet criteria across all digital health industries. Without a single catch-all solution, certain fields such as dermatology are turning towards equipping patients with dermoscopy tools for in-home care management supported by a patient portal. Taking advantage of advancing communication technologies and increasing rates of smartphone usage, patients are able to securely access their dermatologist and quickly receive their results through the use of a mobile dermoscope and its associated app. This both increases the patient-doctor relationship, but promotes confidence, the early detection of skin cancer and other conditions, and empowers the patient to take their care plan into their own hands for increased engagement.

-The MetaOptima Team

Would you like to remain connected with your patients & colleagues while providing streamlined care and receiving a new source of income? Experience a free 30 day trial of DermEngine's dermatology EMR platform today.

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Sources:
  1. https://www.duethealth.com/ 
  2. https://getreferralmd.com/
  3. https://www.prnewswire.com/
  4. http://go.nationalpartnership.org/
  5. https://www.forbes.com/ 

Topics: EMR Solutions EMR System Electronic Medical Records Electronic Health Records Patient Engagement Connectivity Teledermoscopy Software Teledermatology Services MoleScope patient portal Dermatology