4 Strategies for Improving Patient Activation and Engagement

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Patient activation and engagement – You’ve likely heard the terms being used, but have you stopped to think about what they mean? And why each is important? Let’s break down the basics:

Patient activation, as defined by Judith Hibbard, Ph.D. of Oregon University is, “the patients’ knowledge, skills, ability and willingness to manage his own health and care.”

Patient engagement is defined by the Center for Advancing Health as, “the actions we as consumers take to support our own health and to benefit from healthcare.”

Why is activation and engagement important? Research shows patient involvement in healthcare decision-making and self-management drives improved post-transition outcomes, reduced risk for rehospitalization, and enhanced ability to self-manage. There is no question that the emerging healthcare economy demands that providers focus as much time and effort on increasing the capacity for patients to successfully self-manage after discharge as they do on reaching recovery goals during their stay.

So what can you do to enhance activation and engagement for your patients? Here are four strategies to get you started:

1. Leverage what you are already doing well.
Principles of patient-centered care have been around for quite a while. Continue to apply those principles in activating and engaging patients in their transition planning.

2. Ask your patients to define not only their goals, but also what they need to do to achieve them.
This exercise will encourage patients to think about how they are responsible for each desired outcome.

3. Identify patient knowledge gaps.
It’s clear you can’t fully activate or engage a short stay patient that is only with you a few days. However, what information is going to be most critical to their post-transition success? Focus on that and make sure the patient has the information needed to actively care for themselves once out of your care.

4. Rather than be the problem solver, work with patients to help them solve their own problems.
You’ll directly contribute to how they think through challenges and make decisions on their own behalf.

The bottom line: Investing the time needed to increase patient activation and patient engagement will yield positive results for you and the patients you serve. I encourage you to adopt strategies that build these principles into your day-to-day activities starting now.

To enable more senior patients to take an active role in their health by leveraging devices that they’re already comfortable with using. Check out our infographic to learn more.

Or, learn more on how to build strong patient transition programs by clicking here.

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