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Patient Activation and Engagement: The Pillars of Virtual Care Excellence

Updated: Apr 19

In recent years, virtual care programs have challenged traditional healthcare delivery, offering patients greater convenience and access to care while enabling healthcare providers to monitor and manage chronic conditions more effectively. At the core of these programs lie two critical components: patient activation and engagement. Together, they form a duo that plays a significant role in the success and effectiveness of virtual care programs. In this article, we explore the intricacies of patient activation and engagement, exploring their significance, challenges, and the synergies they create in driving positive health outcomes.

Patient Activation

Understanding Patient Activation

Patient activation refers to the process of empowering patients to take an active role in managing their health. It involves providing patients with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to make informed decisions about their care. In any healthcare setting, it is important to ensure a patient is informed about their healthcare journey. This not only provides the patient with the information to make informed decisions but also encourages self-advocacy, increasing a patient's involvement with the program.

What is Patient Activation?: John, a patient, who enrolls in a remote patient monitoring program. Upon enrollment, John receives a welcome call from a care coordinator who explains the program, provides him with a blood pressure monitor, and guides him on its usage. This initial engagement empowers John to actively participate in managing his health.

The Importance of Patient Activation in RPM

  • Improved Adherence: Activated patients are more likely to adhere to their treatment plans and monitoring routines, leading to better health outcomes. This is very important for programs that are billing CPT codes.

  • Enhanced Communication: Activated patients tend to communicate more effectively with their healthcare providers, leading to better-informed decisions and personalized care. Patients that feel comfortable vocalizing questions and concerns are more likely to receive quality care at all steps of their healthcare journey.

  • Empowerment: Patient activation empowers individuals to take control of their health, leading to a sense of ownership and responsibility for their well-being.

Challenges in Patient Activation

Despite its benefits, patient activation can be challenging to achieve. Factors such as lack of motivation, health literacy, and access to resources can hinder patients from actively engaging in their care. Healthcare providers must address these challenges to ensure that patients are adequately activated to participate in RPM programs effectively. In the context of virtual care and remote patient monitoring, patient activation is crucial as it sets the stage for patients to actively engage with their health data and participate in their care plans.

Addressing Patient Churn: One common issue is patients churning when they aren’t activated in a program quickly enough. This can happen if they do not receive devices promptly or are not officially activated, such as with a welcome call. To solve this, programs should ensure timely activation and comprehensive onboarding to keep patients engaged from the start.

The Role of Patient Engagement

While patient activation focuses on empowering patients, patient engagement emphasizes building long-term relationships between patients and healthcare providers. Engaged patients are actively involved in their care, participating in decision-making and taking steps to improve their health. In virtual care programs, patient engagement is crucial for maintaining patient interest and participation over time.

The Significance of Patient Engagement in RPM

  • Sustained Participation: Engaged patients are more likely to remain enrolled in virtual care programs and actively participate in monitoring their health.

  • Improved Outcomes: Patient engagement has been linked to improved health outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations and better overall health status.

  • Enhanced Patient Experience: Engaged patients report higher levels of satisfaction with their healthcare experience, leading to increased trust and loyalty to their healthcare providers.

The Synergy Between Activation and Engagement

Activation and engagement are closely interconnected and both add value to one’s healthcare journey. Activated patients are more likely to engage in their care, and engaged patients are more likely to stay activated. By focusing on both elements, healthcare providers can create a comprehensive approach to patient care that drives positive health outcomes and enhances the patient experience.

Impilo's Approach to Patient Activation and Engagement

At Impilo, we recognize the importance of patient activation and engagement in RPM programs. Our approach is centered around personalized care, where we work closely with patients to understand their motivations and goals. We provide patients with the necessary tools and resources to actively participate in their care, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. We also leverage our platform to facilitate communication and monitoring, making it easier for patients to stay engaged and connected with their healthcare providers.

Measuring Success: Key Metrics and KPIs

Measuring the success of patient activation and engagement efforts is crucial for evaluating the effectiveness of RPM programs. Key metrics and KPIs that can be used to measure success include activation rates, patient retention rates, and the impact of patient engagement on health outcomes. These metrics provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of RPM programs and help healthcare providers identify areas for improvement.

Patient activation and engagement are critical components of successful virtual care programs. By empowering patients to take control of their health and fostering long-term relationships, healthcare providers can improve health outcomes and enhance the patient experience. The synergy between activation and engagement creates a guide for delivering personalized care and driving positive change in healthcare. As virtual care programs continue to evolve, patient activation and engagement will remain essential pillars in delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

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