Patient Engagement and Goal Setting

Engaging patients in their healthcare has become the latest trend in the medical industry. Patients are becoming more and more cautious, educated and careful about their medical data. They are also engaging that much more frequently with their physicians, taking control of their health through patient portals. It is allowing them to make online appointments, contact their physicians, give them feedback and even have their prescriptions revisited by the physicians.

So how important it is to have the patients engaged in their healthcare and have clear goals for their healthcare? The answer is simple. Physicians these days are listening to their patients and are recognizing their individual needs as part of the care process. They are customizing the information for particular patients and aligning care to patients’ unique circumstances. Patients are requiring information related to their conditions, treatments and consequences. If this information is being transferred from the care team to the patient and he/she is truly engaged, chances of reviewing handouts, remembering conversations and action on therapies will greatly increase.

In case this is not happening, the patient may seek answers elsewhere and might be inclined to shift physicians.

It is very important for an EHR software to clearly identify goals for patient healthcare. Those goals can be mutually agreed upon and must be updated at every visit in order to make sure the plan is on track and no milestones are being missed.

Even under the Meaningful Use program, physicians are being called upon to use patient-specific information to enlighten the patients about their conditions, treatment importance, treatment options and the significance of adhering to or dangers of non-compliance.

Physicians can use patient portals to send all of this important patient-specific data to them. Technology can help them address many issues and reduce the amount of time they spend on phones.