In its National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports, “Nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using the everyday health information that is routinely available in our health care facilities, retail outlets, media and communities.”
The fallout on patient engagement is evident. With low health literacy skills, patients are less likely to assume a proactive role in their healthcare, which can lead to unnecessary treatments and hospitalizations, resulting in health outcomes that are less than ideal.
Now, more than ever, clinical practices must reevaluate their patient engagement strategies in healthcare to empower patients and improve health literacy across the board.
Why healthcare providers need to prioritize patient engagement
A patient is the single most important stakeholder when it comes to their healthcare. The onus is on them to lead a healthy lifestyle, follow their treatment plans and commit to follow-up wellness visits and preventative care.
Healthcare providers are partners in that journey. This partnership starts with prioritizing patient engagement in clinical practices.
Keep information accessible
Making relevant medical information inaccessible to your patients isn’t just about a lack of transparency or withholding treatment options. Inaccessibility in patient care can also come from other barriers to access, like a lack of understanding. Accessibility prioritizes presenting medical information in an innovative way so patients can understand it and make informed decisions.
Further, accessibility is also the availability of a trusted medical professional to provide clarification and field questions a patient may have. Patient engagement suffers when patients don’t understand information or can’t seek answers to their questions.
Mitigate risk and improve patient outcomes
Gone are the days of “doctor-knows-best” and other paternalistic healthcare models. Today, patients and their healthcare teams are collaborative partners from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and post-care wellness.
Healthcare providers can create an active partnership to improve patient outcomes and health literacy by:
- Offering accessible communication channels in their clinic and during off hours, such as via a patient after-hours chat, email address or a patient-to-patient social media community where they can follow up or seek clarification from their peers.
- Fielding questions from their patients without rushing them.
Healthcare providers can also prioritize patient engagement and, at the same time, sharpen their patients’ health literacy skills by focusing on innovative ways to improve patient education through patient-care technology.
Effective patient education involves providing resources your patients can understand. Instead of offering them a pamphlet or packet chock-full of medical jargon they likely won’t comprehend, consider giving them access to an educational video or podcast.
Reduce patient anxiety
Patient anxiety can serve as a barrier to achieving desirable health outcomes and improving patient health literacy. Healthcare providers interact (directly and indirectly) with their patients across several touchpoints, starting with their waiting rooms.
To reduce patient anxiety, health clinics and hospitals can leverage patient engagement strategies in unique ways across each of those touchpoints by:
- Creating a welcoming waiting room with entertainment options, educational materials and more.
- Ensuring patients have access to their medical records via a patient portal.
- Keeping patients abreast of any changes in any in-clinic services or providers and any other important announcements.
Patient engagement strategies that are sure to impress
Patients can’t engage in medical decisions if they don’t have the health literacy skills to understand their condition or what they need to do to achieve the health outcomes they want.
Healthcare providers can rope cutting-edge patient engagement strategies into their clinician-patient partnerships to outfit patients with the tools and resources they need to become the healthiest versions of themselves.
Create channels for patient communication
How easy is it for patients at your clinic to communicate with your practice or their healthcare team? How many of those methods are accessible and convenient for everyone?
Recent research proposes that using multiple communication channels (and the ability to integrate them via an omnichannel approach to patient-provider communication) “implies a flexibility for personalization,” which can boost patient engagement and the quality of care and health outcomes.
UPshow Health is the leading on-premise marketing cloud, enabling healthcare facilities to transform their screens into educational and engaging displays, affording them innovative communication channels to reach their patients in new and exciting ways:
- By using QR-code technology to solicit pre and post-treatment feedback to improve the patient experience.
- Directing their patients’ attention to the facility’s social media accounts.
- Keeping them updated on government guidance involving COVID and more.
- Linking them to their patient portal and more — all from their cellphones or personal devices.
- Encouraging patient-led educational communities and Q&A forums for common issues will empower patients and sustain ongoing patient-to-patient and patient-to-provider dialogue.
Command attention with informational displays
Patients don’t need to be face-to-face with their healthcare team to learn more about their health and wellness or engage in their healthcare journey.
You can use UPshow Health on all of your screens — those in the waiting room, triage, treatment areas and short and long-term patient-care rooms to:
- Create a customized, educational content playlist loaded with videos, tutorials, at-home remedies and more.
- Display interactive content, such as medical trivia, to entertain and educate your patients while they wait.
- Provide access to mobile-friendly landing pages for your clinic, patient portal and more to sustain patient engagement from the convenience of their devices long after closing.
- Fixed panels and multipanel displays will allow your facility to promote health and wellness products, announcements and more.
- Introduce the newest members of your team to familiarize patients with them.
Elevate your patient care displays with UPshow
Empowering patients to engage in their health and wellness and improving their health literacy doesn’t need to be a complicated undertaking. You can use your existing TV screens and other digital displays to supply them with the educational information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their health.
UPshow’s digital signage solutions will equip your healthcare team and their patients with patient engagement strategies that will simplify provider-patient communication, reduce patient anxiety and aid in helping patients reach the best possible health outcomes. Sign up today for a risk-free demo and join ongoing efforts to help patient health literacy turn a corner in a positive direction.