Patient engagement may seem complicated but is basically how you get patients involved in their own healthcare. It covers a range of topics from providing the essential information needed to keep fit and well to how you communicate directly with patients. Because Patient Engagement covers such a wide range of topics it can be difficult to understand how you can engage with patients through your website.
The most important part of good patient engagement is getting the basics right. Get these things right and you can improve patient satisfaction, lower health costs and improve practice efficiency.
Going back to basics, for a good website you need to provide up to date surgery and clinic opening times. You can even go one step further and advertise preventative care information, letting everyone know when they should pop in for a health check or a cancer screening.
Now that’s sorted for really good engagement you need to provide, high quality well researched and regularly updated content. Which can be tough, you’re busy and updating website content regularly is a big job; this is where you can cheat a little. By linking your website to NHS Choices you can help your patients find up to date information on a number of conditions.
Involvement is easy; patients want to be involved in their own healthcare. Most people don’t want to see a doctor they’d really rather avoid having an appointment and a big part of healthcare for patients is knowing how they can avoid seeing a doctor. Essentially they want to treat themselves as much as possible addition of NHS Choices to your website doubles up as valuable self help information. NHS Choices tells you what you should do to treat the condition and who you should be contacting for help if it gets worse all very valuable information which can help patients to avoid unnecessary appointments.
Communicating with patients is important and your online services can become a useful communication tool. As well as allowing them to book appointments and order repeat prescriptions on the go you can allow them to ask the practice a question. This facility can help patients to ask those little admin questions which need to be sorted but can take up valuable phone or appointment time.
Many sites now also send out eNewsletter bulletins letting patients know the latest news via email. This can be especially helpful when contacting patient groups and sending out notification for health screenings.