As our healthcare system continues the transition to value-based care it has become even more imperative that patients are empowered to create better health outcomes.
Healthcare leaders have realized that the only way for value-based care to work is to include the patient and their families in the process to ensure that goals are aligned. Here are six tips we’ve put together to help you empower your patients to improve their health outcomes.
Encourage completion of patient surveys
Patient surveys are a great way for providers to understand what aspects of the care your patient is receiving is working and what needs improvement. This will give you an understanding of where your patient could need more support.
Maybe they have a hard time filling out paperwork due to a language barrier you weren’t aware of. Or maybe they tend to always lose their paper prescriptions which affects their ability to consistent with their maintenance medications.
Whatever the reason, this a great approach to learning from the patient directly what areas they need more help with to be a better champion of their health outcomes.
Ask them to prepare for their visit
How many times have you walked out of a doctor’s office only to remember something you forgot to mention? This used to happen to me all the time until I started preparing for my visits.
Encourage patients to make a note of any concerns or questions they may have leading up to their visit that way they alleviate the pressure of having to remember everything at the moment.
This will help providers better meet the patient’s needs and will help patients feel more in control of their health.
Show patients your screen
I can’t recount the number of times I’ve gone to a provider who was eagerly clicking away on his laptop making notes on the things I’m saying but not making eye contact with me and giving me cues that I’m being heard.
When I switched to a new provider, the first thing they did was turn their tablet screen to me. It was a subtle gesture but it made a world of a difference. As they filled out my face sheet and jotted down other notes, they walked me through their thought process and assured me they were getting the main points down.
If I saw they missed anything pertinent I could point it out right then and there. It made me feel like we were working together and that I was included in the process. Try it out with your patients and see if it makes a difference in how they perceive their quality of care.
Use patient portals
Patient portals are a great way for patients and providers to communicate with one another but also gives patients access to their medical records. Do you believe that once upon a time you had to jump through hoops to get to your provider and get access to your medical records? Now it’s all just a click away.
Patient portals allow patients to stay actively involved in and knowledgeable of their health. They can view everything from lab and diagnostic results, medications, and even billing.
Help them find a healthcare advocate
Navigating the health system can be tricky and often a scary pursuit especially if done alone. That’s why many providers encourage and are welcoming of patients having healthcare advocates.
These can be friends or family (all HIPAA compliant of course) that support or accompany the patient to ensure that they’re safe and heard. This gives the patient the reassurance they need allowing them to be more forthright at their visit.
I have served as the healthcare advocate for my mother for years and have seen a stark difference in the quality of the care she receives in the visits I’m present at and the ones I’m not. My mere presence gets her in a comfortable and relaxed state allowing her to be open and honest with her provider.
I’ve even called into her visits via FaceTime when I’m out of town and her providers have always been supportive of that. Support your patient’s needs by creating a safe space open to their health advocates too.
Keep up the communication
Communication between patient and provider is one of the biggest factors in the quality of care. It’s important that you have multiple different channels that your patient can communicate with you through like a patient portal, email, call, or text.
Be sure to inform your patient of what your preferred method of communication is during emergencies whether that be an after-hours phone call or text.
Patients should be reminded that in cases of emergency if their provider cannot be reached they should go to urgent care or emergency department. Ultimately, you want to let the patient know that you welcome open and honest communication and encourage them to reach out or seek help if needed.
We hope these tips will help encourage you to further carry out a values-based approach to care by including patients as part of the team. Watch how health outcomes improve by simply empowering patients to take the reins over their health and working with their providers.