Patient engagement has been a popular buzzword in the healthcare landscape including Physical Therapy in recent years. There is mounting evidence, countless blogs, and articles which highlight the benefits of patient engagement in improving quality of care and reducing healthcare costs. Ultimately all of this engagement needs to be supported by outcomes and data to continue to validate its use and growth. Here, we define what patient engagement is, the benefits and challenges of patient engagement, and finally how aggregating this patient data through engagement will lead to an effective practice.
What is patient engagement?
Patient engagement refers to the use of tools and actions taken by patients, caregivers, and health professionals, promoting informed decision-making and better outcomes. Patient engagement is not a new concept in healthcare, however more recently technology, particularly personal mobile devices are playing a significant role in patient engagement – especially in Physical Therapy.
What are benefits of patient engagement?
A growing body of evidence has shown that individuals who are more engaged in their health are likely to experience better outcomes. Additionally, there are benefits for Physical Therapists to use engagement technologies, which include:
- Reduced operating costs
- Improved workflow and time efficiency
- Enhanced patient-physical therapist communications
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Enhanced professional image
What are the challenges of technology-enabled patient engagement?
Despite the benefits of technology-enabled patient engagement solutions, a cultural shift is needed in order to overcome the status-quo. Physical Therapists will need to overcome:
- Influencing behavioral changes at the clinic staff and patient levels
- Understanding communication preferences
- Operational and business management challenges
- Choosing the right technology that suits specific clinical workflow needs
Example of patient engagement tools
Providing patients with information and programs to help them achieve desired results and clinical goals is critical. Here are a few tools that can make engagement possible:
- Home Exercise and Program Prescription
- Patient Education
- Outcomes data gathering and tracking
- Video Telehealth
Physical therapy is traditionally conducted through in-person or in-clinic environments. With the addition of engagement technologies, treatments conducted in these settings can be enhanced and expanded for the benefit of the patient. By making the above tools available for physical therapists in easy to use technology, the reach of the physical therapist’s influence in the continuum of care will expand. You, the clinician, can be your patient’s primary resource for educating them about their condition, explaining the importance of adhering to prescribed exercises and providing more generic health-related information.
The benefits of patient education are extensive and can result in higher levels of engagement to help patients make better-informed decisions about their own health. If applied effectively, this has the potential to translate to better health outcomes, which is a positive development for your practice and the physical therapy profession as a whole.
Additionally, gathering those patient outcomes systematically in real-time can help the clinicians keep patients on track with the programs, leading to a faster recovery. With the objective gathering of patient progress data, the clinicians are able to further study and assess the efficacy (or lack of) of the care and advice being delivered.
So how can this be done?
With today’s high-level adoption of mobile devices, patient expectations of healthcare have changed rapidly in the last few years. Where paper handouts used to be the norm, patients of all ages nowadays expect more engaging content that can be read or viewed on the go – on any device.
To engage, educate, and track patients during and in-between visits efficiently and to provide optimal patient experience, it’s important to combine exercise prescription, outcomes tracking (including outcome measures), patient education and Telehealth video calling in one platform. For this, drchrono has partnered with Physitrack and integrated their solution to provide a seamless Physical Therapy EHR experience.
Regardless of which way you engage your patients, it is recommended that you tailor your delivery methods to the way patients consume information, in order to deliver an optimized patient experience. Physitrack’s exercise video content ranges from neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiac exercise content for children, adults and as well as the elderly. Their extensive and easy-to-use solution makes engagement simple and fast, while giving patients access to prescribed content and outcome measures on the free PhysiApp patient companion app.
Physical Therapy technology is ever changing and evolving. In order to provide the best possible patient experience, while working to deliver an optimized patient outcome, it is vital for both the patients and physical therapists to utilize solutions such as drchrono EHR, integrated with Physitrack.
Physitrack is an integration partner that further contributes to drchrono’s robust All in One EHR platform, ideally suited for Physical Therapists.
If you have any questions regarding drchrono EHR for Physical Therapy or Physitrack integration, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or to enhance your practice today.
|Article by Michael Sloniewsky, General Manager, North America, Physitrack
Michael Sloniewsky is Physitrack’s General Manager for North America and has been a healthcare strategy and operations leader for almost 20 years. Michael heads up the company’s partnerships and development across North America, from the company’s US base in Houston, Texas.