According to a report from Grandview research, the market for patient engagement solutions is expected to grow by 4x between now and 2026, reaching $56.92 billion USD. Patient engagement has become increasingly important in recent years, driven by a number of factors. First and foremost, you have two young and tech-savvy generations (millennials and Gen Z) coming into adulthood and expecting more personalized online options from their care providers. At the other end of the generational spectrum, there is the last of a large aging population of baby boomers entering their later years, many of whom desire to “age in place” without losing the personal touch they’ve come to expect from their care providers. In response to the surging demand these factors have caused, the healthcare industry is experiencing a boom in patient engagement solutions.
The following statistics from both Google and Pew Research Center illustrate how years of exposure and access to online technology have had a permanent impact on patient behavior when it comes to healthcare:
- 1 in 20 of the average 4.7 billion daily Google searches is for health-related information
- 80 percent of Internet users have sought out health information online
- 77 percent of patients have used an online search prior to booking a doctor’s appointment
- 66 percent of Internet users look online for information about a specific disease or medical problem
- 44 percent of Internet users search online for information about doctors or other health professionals
What Patients Expect
A report from KLAS Research offers some interesting insight as to how patients feel about healthcare, as well as what they have come to expect from providers. For example, the study found that 56 percent of respondents felt they had a “detached” relationship with their healthcare providers. The study also found that more than half of respondents (52 percent) believed technology was either “somewhat helpful” or “very helpful” in supporting their interactions with healthcare providers. The survey also offers some very insightful information when it comes to which patient engagement technologies are most impactful for patients as well as what patients expect from these technologies in the future.
The top five technologies that were most impactful for patients in the survey are as follows:
- Patient Portal (58 percent)
- Provider Communication (24 percent)
- Appointment Reminders (12 percent)
- Self-Scheduling (12 percent)
- Self-registration/Check-in (6 percent)
The top five technologies patients in the survey would like to see focused on in the future are as follows:
- Consolidated patient portal (38 percent)
- Telehealth (22 percent)
- Provider Communication (16 percent)
- Self-Scheduling (16 percent)
- Comprehensive Mobile Apps (11 percent)
Patient Engagement Best Practices
The importance of patient engagement goes beyond simply acquiring the technology. Even with the right patient engagement technology, if it is poorly used or inconvenient, it can lead to a bad patient experience that could harm your practice’s reputation due to negative online reviews. According to one article, there are three patient engagement principles that should always be followed:
- Convenience – Prioritizing convenience and ease of use is essential to effective patient engagement. For example, if telehealth visits are too complicated then patients are unlikely to use them. If it is as simple as clicking a link, however, they are far more likely to adopt it.
- Empathy – Patients need to feel they have a connection, a relationship, with their providers. Therefore, it is important to focus on showing empathy and respect to patients, especially in connected care situations.
- Insight/Connectivity – Try to foster a feeling of belonging among patients and staff, giving the sense of being a part of a community instead of just a client. Encourage feedback and take actions to address it.
As the demand for patient engagement solutions continues to grow over the next few years, practices that fail to adapt risk being left behind by patients who expect these options to be a part of any healthcare service. To learn how Nextech’s suite of solutions can help your practice with patient engagement, fill out this form and a member of our team will be in touch!