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What is patient engagement and why is it important?

What is patient engagement and why is it important? In this tech-savvy world, it is time to think about the welfare of the patients and that of the healthcare providers by making the technology a boon to everyone. Though you might have known something about patient engagement in healthcare, let’s know about it in detail.

What is patient engagement?

According to the definition by WHO, "The term patient engagement is used throughout this document and refers to the process of building the capacity of patients, families, carers, as well as health care providers, to facilitate and support the active involvement of patients in their care, to enhance safety, quality and people-centeredness of health care service delivery."

Through the above definition, we can see several characteristics of patient engagement in hospitals. The first one is the benefit to everyone included in the healthcare system, such as patients, primary and secondary caregivers, and the organization. The second important characteristic is bolstering the patients' shared accountability and healthcare providers in the treatment and medication. The third important characteristic highlights the purpose: to increase the easy accessibility, security, accuracy, and a coherent team of healthcare providers by eliminating medication-related safety issues and other patients' problems.

Why does patient engagement matter?

Below discussed are the advantages for healthcare professionals and patients.

Advantages for healthcare professionals

1. Effective researches: As mentioned by Shailendra Sinhasane, "A study says one in 20 million Google searches, which is equal to 4.7 billion, is to seek healthcare information." The information collected by patient engagement in the pharmaceutical industry will also be segregated systematically into various categories, which would make it much easier for the researchers to get the data with the consent of the patient. As we understand the patient data's systematic segregation, we will also comprehend that it will save hours consumed in data management. It is also an eco-friendly system.

2. More time for oneself: When the patients will be co-operative due to the availability of the knowledge, healthcare professionals' work will become easier. They will be able to follow up on the patients efficiently through devices. The frequent visits due to major clarification on the patient engagement system will also save the time of professionals and patients. It will also provide them with time for the implementation of self-care techniques and prevent professional burnout.

3. Better outcomes: Further, it would also help healthcare providers critically analyze and learn by comparing which medication or treatment is more suitable for which age group. It will lead to the best results possible for the patients.

4. In touch with the world: You will also be able to keep in touch with your patients leading to more information and a better understanding of them and their background, which will enable you to aid them in an enhanced manner. The availability of patients due to technology leads them to solve their doubts and queries. Several misconceptions can be busted manageably, leading to higher literacy among laymen regarding their physiology and psychology.

5. Feedback from the patients: Such patient engagement solutions would allow the patients to be vocal about the quality of treatment and effectiveness of the medicine and the co-operative team of healthcare providers and other aspects. It will give you a golden opportunity as an individual and a healthcare organization to be improving by considering their experiences.

Advantages for patients

1. Better health: The knowledge about their condition can help them be aware of their symptoms. It also enables them to make informed decisions. As they have been aware of their symptoms, they are also better positioned to get checked before their condition gets worse. Better implementation of schedule, dos, and don'ts recommended by the doctors and the proper intake of medicine ensures fewer chances of being readmitted. Hence, the finances spent on them would be much lesser. These patient engagement strategies will also lead to a decreased burden on the part of primary and secondary caregivers.

Due to knowledge about their symptoms, they are more likely to consume medications and report immediately in case of side effects or any other kind of alteration in their body due to medicine. They would be in a better position to contemplate whether a medicine is effective or not.

2. Improved emotional and mental wellbeing: Patients would also interact with peers and those who suffer from the same disorder as theirs effectively. It would play a major role in their stronger interrelationships with them. They also gain social support and hence possess better emotional wellbeing.

3. Own voice: The patients would also get to tell their stories across the patient engagement platform, which will provide them with higher self-esteem levels. There are some diseases and issues which are still a matter of shame and taboo. They can normalize it through their voice.

4. Better mental health: There are several myths associated with them, which might lead them to face social isolation, leading to negative emotions. However, they have a great opportunity to shatter them and gain better mental health.

5. Knowledge through fun: The traditional jargon-free language of the healthcare providers would be replaced by games and avatars to help the patients' easy comprehension of their condition, their disease, and issues related to it. It would encourage them to be more interested in their physiology than ever before.

As we see what is patient engagement and why it is important, it has already brought about promising results by bringing about effective solutions to the patients' several hindrances, primary and secondary caregivers. Hence, it is time to grab the opportunity of bringing better systems into your organizational and personal life.

Other ways to enhance the effectiveness of the patient engagement system include education and awareness to the healthcare providers and patients, small trials of it to practically contemplate whether it would work for your organization or not, and further gaining feedback about the experience of both of them.