5 Ways Healthcare Technology Helps Improve Patient Engagement 

Patient engagement is the cornerstone of modern healthcare. 

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the engagement equation by offering new and innovative ways for providers and patients to connect. 

This article will put the relationship between technology and patient engagement under the microscope. It will define patient engagement and examine its significance. Then, look at the many different ways specific technologies can improve engagement efforts and get tips you can leverage today. 

This guide will set your practice up for success in the fast-evolving healthcare landscape. It’s an exciting time to be operating, and positive patient outcomes have never been more accessible. 

The Importance of Patient Engagement in Healthcare 

Patient engagement is a gold standard in healthcare delivery. 

Engaged patients participate in their care by working collaboratively with providers to make informed decisions about their treatment. 

They don’t tune out. Instead, they commit to achieving a positive result, whatever that looks like for them. 

Why does this matter? Engaged patients experience better health outcomes, driven by several factors: 

  • Engaged patients understand the reasoning behind their treatment, motivating them to continue. 
  • They are informed about their condition. They know the likely outcomes they can expect from treatment, encouraging them to adhere to their provider’s recommendations. 
  • They are aware of their progress. They might identify, and voice changes in how they feel or seek alternative treatments if one has undesirable side effects. 

According to a 2022 study, more active patient engagement results in “fewer complications, minimizing unnecessary visits, and emergency admissions in the hospital.” 

The benefits of patient engagement extend beyond health outcomes. They include: 

  • Improved resource allocation: When patients are engaged, healthcare resources are used more effectively. Engaged patients make more informed choices, which aligns resource use with patient needs. This alignment is more cost-effective and improves the sustainability of healthcare systems. 
  • Increased patient satisfaction: Patients engaged in their care decisions tend to be more satisfied. They feel heard and understood. 
  • More mutual accountability: Engaged patients share responsibility for their health outcomes with their healthcare providers, helping nurture a more cooperative relationship, and leading to better communication and understanding. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: What Is Patient Engagement? 

The Relationship Between Technology and Patient Engagement 

Technology has long contributed to improved healthcare outcomes in various ways. Today, the relationship between technology and patient engagement is deeply intertwined. In fact, technology is now integral to engagement. Providers simply cannot keep pace with patient needs and expectations without it. 

One type of technology that encapsulates this connection is telehealth. 

RELATED ARTICLE: The Top Features and Benefits of Telemedicine Technology 

Telehealth is the use of digital communication technologies for remote healthcare services. Patients and doctors can chat in real time via phone, video, or text message. 

The goal? Healthcare becomes more accessible and convenient. Patients can receive necessary care in a way that causes minimal disruption to their lives. They don’t have to travel long distances or spend time waiting in a busy clinic. Connecting with their provider is as quick and easy as checking their email. 

There are so many use cases for telehealth services. Everyone can use them—even those with convenient access to in-person consultations.  

For some specific demographics, this advancement is particularly beneficial: 

  • People living in isolated areas may not have local access to healthcare professionals. Telehealth enables them to connect with specialists without the cost and time demands of travel. 
  • People with mobility challenges can consult with their providers more easily and conveniently. 
  • Patients and caregivers can speak with their providers in a way that supports their responsibilities. 
  • People with less common conditions can connect with leading specialists, even if those specialists reside in another city or state. 
  • People who require frequent appointments—such as those with chronic diseases—can maintain a high level of care without compromising other areas of their lives. 

Increased access, convenience, and time efficiency go a long way toward improving patient-provider communication. This, in turn, boosts patient engagement. 

5 Ways Healthcare Technology Helps Improve Patient Engagement 

The global healthcare IT market was valued at $663 billion in 2023. It is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8% from 2024 to 2030. 

This incredible growth in digital services means providers have access to new technologies that can uplift patient engagement. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the technologies engaging patients. 

1. More Accessibility Through Virtual Consultations 

Virtual consultations use video conferencing tools. They aim to replicate the personal connection felt during an in-person visit. 

This technology has seen a significant uptick in adoption since the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth visits comprise between 14% and 17% of all consultations. This is a sharp increase from about 1% in February 2020. 

As mentioned, video conferencing software and other telehealth approaches increase care accessibility and decrease the risk of missed appointments. They also increase the likelihood of patient follow-through. 

The potential is astronomical. However, there is room for improvement. 

Current data shows that patient segments with limited access to in-person care attend fewer virtual visits, including those in rural areas and with lower incomes. Structural barriers may be at play, such as poor internet connectivity and lack of digital literacy. 

The virtual care models of the future must overcome these roadblocks. By enhancing telehealth access in your practice, you do more than increase patient engagement. You pave the way for a more equitable, responsive, and inclusive healthcare system. 

2. Greater Trust with Direct Communication 

Video consultation may show great potential, but providers can also leverage various other digital communication platforms to improve communication. This includes SMS messaging, web-based patient portals and appointment scheduling, and instant eligibility verification. 

These technologies enable more direct communication and accurate account information compared to traditional methods. 

Consider this scenario: A patient wants to schedule an appointment. They phone the clinic and are placed on hold. When they reach the receptionist, they are routed to scheduling and sit on hold again. Scheduling isn’t available, and they have to leave a message. It takes scheduling over an hour to return the patient’s call, and by that time, the patient is frustrated with the entire process. They may forget to write down the date or time of their appointment and have to call back, adding to a complicated experience. 

Messaging systems and patient portals replace this complex chain of events. Patients log on and schedule their appointments online at their convenience, without the tedious waiting. Then, once the appointment is scheduled, automated reminders can be sent through SMS messaging, so they don’t have to worry about forgetting. 

Enhanced communication cultivates trust and encourages patients to take a more active role in their care. 

3. Disease Management with Continuous Monitoring 

Continuous monitoring technologies like wearable devices help patients and providers better manage disease. Devices track health metrics in real time, including heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. 

This data helps patients stay informed and promotes positive behaviors throughout the day. When patients see the impact of their actions on their health status, they are more likely to stay engaged. 

For healthcare providers, it allows for fully informed treatment adjustments, which is particularly important for patients with chronic diseases. 

4. Improved Patient Satisfaction with Automation 

Healthcare staff are busy. Automation can alleviate some of their workload, giving them more time to focus on patient-facing tasks. It also reduces errors and increases productivity. 

For example, automated appointment reminders reduce no-shows and delays. Patients appreciate regular updates and reminders, which help them manage their schedules. 

At the same time, employees have the bandwidth to handle more complex duties. Over time, more resources are spent improving patient care and growing the practice. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Get More Done with Time-Saving Healthcare Technology 

5. Continuous Improvement Using Accurate Reporting 

Advanced data analytics tools and health information systems offer insightful reporting capabilities. 

Healthcare practices can monitor both operational and patient-related metrics. They can track call volumes, appointment durations, and payment cycles. Using this data, they can streamline workflows, invest in new technology, and make other informed decisions. 

Here’s an example: Say data shows that Tuesday afternoons have the highest patient load. The practice might schedule additional staff or encourage patients to book during a slower time window instead to reduce wait times and prevent patient frustration. 

Practices can also use this technology to personalize their patient communication strategy. They can measure how patients respond to different types of communications. From there, they can optimize these interactions to increase engagement rates. 

Continuous improvement through accurate data reporting ensures services are always evolving. Practices can meet the changing needs and preferences of patients. 

FROM ONE OF OUR PARTNERS: Patient Engagement & Its Importance in Healthcare 

How You Can Start Improving Patient Engagement Right Now 

After reviewing the myriad ways technology can increase patient engagement, you may be ready to delve deeper into how to apply it in your practice. There are some preparations you should take to make sure you’re targeting technologies that are uniquely helpful to your patients.    

Here are five steps you can take now to move you along the road to successful patient engagement: 

  1. Set SMART goals. Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Set these goals for different aspects of patient engagement, including increasing appointment adherence or improving satisfaction scores. 
  1. Collect patient feedback. Use surveys and feedback tools after each appointment. Record the resulting insights into patient satisfaction and make note of areas where there may be room for improvement. Platforms like SurveyMonkey allow you to design quick surveys and send them via email or text immediately following an appointment while the experience is still fresh. 
  1. Provide regular training for your team. Invest in regular training sessions for your team, focusing on best patient engagement practices. 
  1. Reach out to colleagues and ask what technology they use. You may have colleagues who have been early adopters of technologies in their practices. If so, ask what types they use and their success rate.  
  1. Analyze and compare different patient engagement software. Software is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Many variations in features, hosting capabilities, integration options, and pricing levels can—and should—influence your choice. Look into what each offers and create a side-by-side comparison to help you narrow down your options.  



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