How new tools for patient engagement are transforming post-acute care

September 10, 2021
Categories: Home health, Hospice, Palliative care
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Finding the right tools for patient engagement is a crucial part of success in virtually every care setting. Yet it’s more difficult to achieve in some places than in others—particularly in the post-acute hospice and in-home care settings.

The reasons for this are clear enough. Providers in these settings aren’t always in the room with the patient, like they would be in an ambulatory acute setting. Communications happen via telephone, email, or other external methods—all of which aren’t always as cohesive as they could be for the patient, or as informative as they should be for the clinician.

2 key tools for patient engagement

These traditional methods of communication provide little motivation for patient engagement. However, new tools and capabilities entering the market are changing this, giving home and hospice care providers new solutions to an age-old problem. They begin by addressing the two key aspects of engagement: Ease of communication and availability of information.

Better communication between staff and patients is always a good thing. We all know that the less time folks spend chasing down one another to get the info they need, the better. Additionally, an engaged patient is more likely to stick to prescribed exercises, med regimens, or other patient-driven care initiatives—leading to better outcomes.

Engaging patients also means making the information they want more accessible. But in the home health space, that goal remains elusive. Tech advancements are helping by providing tools to communicate in real time. The popularity of apps for both providers and patients attests to this. App-based interaction that’s integrated with your EHR system can give patients instant access to communications and information tools that aren’t just convenient, but also secure and fully integrated within your records systems.

In addition, the advancement of patient-access mechanisms through nationwide networks like CommonWell Health Alliance lays the groundwork for patient health records and portals to show a longitudinal view of care, rather than being restricted to a given provider. As this trend evolves, patients can expect unrestricted access to their health records through the market solution of their choice in the coming months and years.

The benefits of automating and integrating patient engagement tools

True integration with your EHR doesn’t just give you these key tools for patient engagement, it also connects access and communication to information within a larger context that makes outreach easier and more secure. It also makes it possible to automate these processes in a way that can represent a key operational improvement.

So much information is still manually exchanged in post-acute settings that automating these channels will simplify access to information for patients while continuing to promote engagement. It also improves the management of the entire process, which allows nurses, clinicians, and other caregivers to provide better-informed and more focused care.

Think of the downstream efficiencies that could be achieved if admission packets could be signed electronically and securely before the skilled clinician arrives for the initial visit. That wouldn’t just save time for staff, but it would also ensure that all patient notes and requests could come through your medical records team in the future.

Tools are also not restricted to sharing documents and sending reminders; the innovation is going on up and down and that includes commodified technology like office phone systems. Imagine a scenario where a patient or caregiver can call a provider, and be routed directly to the case manager, clinical manager, or clinical support staff to get the answers they need without playing phone tag. This kind of engagement solution, and others like it, drives patient satisfaction and ensures that the provider continues to be the choice destination for patients.

With the right toolset to route calls or quickly and easily engage, providers and patients can communicate on the same level, helping to clarify the often-opaque visibility into post-acute care.

Using patient engagement tools to achieve more coordinated care

We’ve seen over and over again that when the level of engagement within an organization increases, there’s an increased likelihood for positive outcomes. As noted, engagement generally means happier patients and caregivers. It can also mean a better reputation, and a setting in which patients are less likely to refuse care.

Patient engagement isn’t just good for overall outcomes, but also for day-to-day resiliency. Should there be any unexpected downturn or major medical crisis—no longer a hypothetical event, unfortunately—everyone can better communicate and coordinate a reaction.

As we’ve seen, software management tools can help enable these fixes to patient engagement, while also adding in some lucrative extras. You’ll be able to set up call routing paths based on triaged processes that you’ve created within your own organization, for instance. You’ll also have a more effective and timely way to respond to after-hour requests and inquiries.

In the big picture, utilizing the right tools for patient engagement doesn’t just help with communication and the sharing of information. It also helps provide a more informed staff, a more satisfied patient, and helps you deliver more targeted and coordinated care.

Request a demo to see how MatrixCare EHR solutions can help you engage patients and drive better outcomes.

Chris Pugliese
Chris Pugliese

Chris Pugliese is a Senior Product Manager of Integration and Interoperability for MatrixCare. Chris has spent the last decade working with post-acute technology and EMRs, and the last 5 years focused on interoperability. His strength is enabling technology, as well as educating on the growing importance of interoperability and its benefits to the post-acute care settings. In a short time, Chris has become a leader, spearheading integration and interoperability initiatives within and outside of MatrixCare. Recent industry committee roles and responsibilities include: Leadership Team Member for the Post Acute Interoperability Work Group (PACIO), Technical Lead for the Functional Status Subgroup for the PACIO initiative – developing FHIR Profiles for Functional Status, CommonWell Health Alliance Use Case Committee member, CommonWell Health Alliance Specification Workgroup member

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