It is no secret that increased patient engagement can lead to better overall care and more effective treatment. When patients take a proactive role in maintaining their own health and well being, it can make it easier for physicians to collaborate on care and can lower the costs of care. By focusing on ways to improve patient engagement, physicians and other healthcare professionals can work to align themselves with the goals of Meaningful Use Stage 2, improve patient satisfaction, and secure their own relevancy.

Since technology has helped to improve nearly every other aspect of healthcare, including treatment and medical billing, it makes sense that technology could be the solution to the patient engagement dilemma. The following recommendations may help to better engage patients. However, it is just as important as ever for HCPs to actually speak to patients in person to find out how to foster engagement and cooperation.

1. Make EMRs Available Online

Allowing patients to access their own medical records online can instantly make patients feel more included in their own wellness and/or treatment plans. Research has shown that patients who are able to view their own health information take more responsibility when working with their physicians to make health decisions. In surveys, patients have even reported that they would switch physicians if it meant they would have access to their own information.

2. Recommend mHealth Apps

mHealth apps give physicians a way to set patients up with highly intricate care plans and programs that are broken down into fun and easy-to-use programs. There are many different types of mHealth apps that physicians can prescribe to individuals based on their specific health needs. Whether health needs include better stress management, increased physical activity, a change in eating habits, or condition management-there’s an app for that.

3. Forego the Phone in Favor of Modern Communications

While phone calls have long been the favored form of communication for doctor’s offices, many individuals now view phone calls as disruptive and intrusive. Studies show that many individuals prefer communications through text, email, or even social media. While these communication methods may not be the best option for delivering important health news, they can be highly effective for simple check-ins and information sharing.

Communication preferences may vary widely, especially among different age groups, however. Instead of completely outmoding one communication method in favor of another, it may be best for HCPs to ask patients directly what type of communication they prefer. This will have the added impact of making patients feel that their views are valued, while also inspiring engagement.

4. Create an Online Presence

Creating an online presence can help hospitals and medical facilities to improve patient perceptions and foster greater engagement. When patients can visit a HCP’s site and read blogs, browse reviews, and connect to portals that allow EMR access, it can build trust and establish a high quality image. This can help the medical facility to generate new business, as well as improving engagement with current patients.