Today it is relatively easy to acquire medical knowledge through health portals, hospital sites, social networks, blogs and even scholarly publications. Study after study confirms that individuals are actively consuming information about diseases, drugs, therapies and treatments. They are hungry for insights that will help them manage their conditions and lead better lives. For patients the biggest challenge isn’t lack of information, it’s their inability to discuss what they find with those they want to trust most — their physicians.
Hence a Patient centric approach is the need of the hour. By being patient-centric one needs to understand the different points of patient’s journey within the specific disease state and what patients/caregivers seek for at each point. Once the requirement has been fulfilled, next endeavour should be focused on providing them with the relevant content to meet their needs, whether it’s information, the ability to connect, patient/caregiver support, financial assistance or something else.
Content and interpersonal relationships are clearly the most important aspects of patient-HCP communication and are known to have varied positive implications with fulfilling patient satisfaction being the prime one.
It is always advisable that HCPs need to integrate the transfer of information with emotional support and interpersonal connection when they communicate with patients
It also important to note that, patients are always eager to be participants in their care and not simply recipients of the directives from healthcare providers.
Role of Technology – #GoDigital
There are dozens of ways technology can improve doctor-patient communication and amongst them our favourites are:
- Healthcare patient portal
- Patient Education Portals
- Health Apps
1) Healthcare patient portal is one of the most effective ways to promote engagement and improve treatment outcomes; it clearly acts as a direct line of communication between the patient and physician. Furthermore, this line remains open and accessible even between visits.
Healthcare patient portal helps medical practices accomplish this by providing a secure messaging platform that patients can access at any time.
These portals can be used by patients to communicate with their physicians about relevant health information. For example, these portals also encourage patients to become more active participants in their health by making care plans accessible, in addition to patient education resources and tools.
Patients can use the portal to document health tasks and track progress meeting their goals. If there is a question or problem, an answer is never more than a few keystrokes away.
After all patient engagement is all about actively involving patients in their health outcomes by promoting collaboration, education, feedback and understanding. Healthcare patient portal makes this possible and is a tool that all healthcare and Pharma organizations should invest in to, not only improve engagement but to provide a better patient experience and positively impact patient care.
2)Patient Education Portals
A key barrier to healthcare access is often a lack of health knowledge — patients do not recognize symptoms or delay the long, expensive journey to see a doctor.
Role of Patient Education Portals should be to:
- Educate patients
- Raise disease awareness
- Review therapeutic options
- Highlight the importance of keeping to a prescribed treatment regimen
There is no downside to doctors incorporating visual snippets from these patient education portals into their patient education materials. Not only will this improve patients’ comprehension of their health and treatment – this may even increase compliance as well.
Effective patient education ensures that patients have sufficient information and understanding to make informed decisions regarding their care.
In order for Information Therapy to be effective, the patient education materials used must be both accessible and understandable.
3) Mobile devices and Health Apps
Mobile devices and apps are proving to be highly beneficial for effective and healthy patient-HCP engagement and education, perhaps most significantly increased access to point-of-care tools, which has been shown to support better clinical decision-making and improved patient outcomes.
Despite the benefits they offer, better standards and validation practices regarding mobile medical apps need to be established to ensure the proper use and integration of these increasingly sophisticated tools into medical practice.
Many believed that the only way many of the direct-to-consumer health tools available in the market would have an impact was if physicians had a way to prescribe or recommend them to their patients. So now would it wise for a number of companies to step up and take on health app “prescribing”.
These measures will raise the barrier for entry into the medical app market, increasing the quality and safety of the apps currently available for use by HCPs.
If you would like to know how to drive an effective patient-HCP engagement program for a specific disease area, write to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org