shutterstock_317573531Patient engagement is absolutely critical to health care providers. In the last decade, the global health community has eagerly encouraged clinicians and healthcare providers to implement deeper patient engagement to promote health and reduce overall healthcare costs. 

However, the issue of increasing patient engagement hinges on fostering a greater level of health literacy in patient populations. Health literacy is the degree to which a particular patient can obtain and fully comprehend fundamental healthcare information. When levels of health literacy drop too low, patients can start to feel overwhelmed. Patients might also feel resentful or insecure about their own healthcare and treatment options. 

By increasing the health literacy of their patients, healthcare providers can foster an environment where the patient feels like an active participant in their own health.  

The Demand for Streamlined Patient Engagement 

The burgeoning complexity of our healthcare system and the emphasis on preventive care demand richer engagement with patients. Today, millions of Americans are struggling to navigate the healthcare system.

Low levels of health literacy coupled with low levels of engagement can produce lower adherence to treatment protocols. Alternatively, greater health literacy and patient engagement lead to higher levels of patient confidence. This results in a greater willingness from the patient to enact positive behaviors, follow treatment protocols and embrace preventative lifestyle changes. 

The Importance of Tripartite Patient Engagement 

Patient engagement that occurs on multiple levels – direct care, organization design and governance, and policy making – is the surest way of sustainably enhancing both health literacy and patient engagement. 

  • Direct Care Engagement 

At the direct care level clinicians, doctors, and hospital administrators face on a daily basis there’s a pressing need for two things. Greater consultation and greater patient involvement.  Greater consultation refers to ensuring delivery of timely, accurate and relevant healthcare information to patients.  Greater patient involvement refers to engaging with the patient to make them an active participant in their treatment choices. In an effort to encourage engagement, healthcare organizations like implement health risk assessment strategies designed to increase patient engagements and drive patients to the proper service lines.

  • Organizational Design and Governance 

Healthcare organizations and hospitals should continually seek the input of patients and take on patients as advisory council participants to bolster hospital safety and improve medical care. 

  • Policy Making 

To gage the public’s level of understanding, regional and national agencies should conduct focus groups.The aim should be to discover the level of health literacy and preference for particular treatment options over others.

Greater engagement at the community level might also inform community health decisions, funding decisions, and the allocation of resources within the communities’ clinicians serve daily.  At HealthAware we believe that true health starts from within and that patient engagement leads to greater health outcomes. HealthAware works to empower people through digital therapies backed by revolutionary science and data-driven health risk assessments. Be a part of the solution to increase patient engagement through proper health risk assessment.  Contact our experts today for a demo.