Digital Disease Management to optimize care and improve patient outcomes

Category: >> Healthcare Technology

Patients as Partners: 7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

November 20, 2019

Improve Patient Compliance Using Patient Generated Health Data and Patient Engagement

Although most commonly used in reference to medication, patient compliance or adherence is how well a patient follows a prescribed medical regimen or treatment plan as it is intended. The duration, frequency, and complexity of the behavior(s) required of the patient,all have an impact on the level of patient compliance.  

“Patient compliance is “the extent to which a person’s behavior (in terms of taking medications, following diets, or executing lifestyle changes) coincides with medical or health advice.”

Patient Compliance and Health Behavior Models

Patient non-compliance is a huge problem for the healthcare industry with reports of non-compliance costing the US economy between $100 and $300 billion dollars annually, inclusive of costs related to avoidable hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, and premature deaths. Another report places the figure even higher, at more than $564 billion dollars annually. To prevent the burden that non-compliance places on the healthcare industry and the economy, improving patient compliance must be a priority for all healthcare stakeholders.

7 Ways to Improve Patient Compliance

Improving patient compliance requires patients to become engaged in their healthcare, taking responsibility for their well-being, and actively participating in their health decisions. Healthcare stakeholders have begun implementing different patient engagement strategies and tools to improve patient compliance and resultant health outcomes. However, for any of these strategies to be successful, healthcare stakeholders need to work with patients as partners and actively engage them in the process. Healthcare organizations can improve patient compliance by:

  1. Devising and implementing policies and procedures that support patient engagement as well as policies that help identify the non-compliant patients
  2. Leveraging patient generated health data to assist in creating treatment decisions
  3. Utilizing available healthcare technology
  4. Facilitating patient education about their illnesses/conditions and how to manage their conditions, including medication management
  5. Including the patient in the decision-making process surrounding their healthcare
  6. Engaging and empowering caregivers to provide patient-centered care
  7. Measuring progress and making changes where necessary

Simplifying the process surrounding the treatment regimen as much as possible will go a long way in improving patient compliance.

Patient Engagement to Improve Patient Compliance

An engaged patient is more likely to be a compliant patient. Healthcare organizations need to invest in patient engagement strategies to improve patient compliance and health outcomes. Policies must be developed and implemented to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to patient engagement and procedures for all staff to follow in engaging patients must also be implemented. Organizations must alsoensure that patients are treated with respect and that the organization feels welcoming to patients. The way patients are treated impacts how much they value the care they are provided by an organization which may also influence how well they comply with their treatment regimen.

“Engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions about their care options.”


WHO Report

Organizations should also (i) ensure that care providers are afforded adequate time with each patient so that they can really communicate with the patient to find out their health status and how their lives outside of the healthcare setting may be impacting their compliance (ii) make it a policy for providers to ask questions such as “What medications are you taking?” and “How often do you take a particular medication?” Providers also need adequate time to educate patients on their chronic conditions and how best to manage them.

Healthcare organizations should utilize technology for patient engagement which can improve patient compliance – employ electronic health records (EHRs) to simplify the patient registration process, facilitate online bill payments, secure messaging, etc. EHRs can also help providers to easily keep track of and update patients’ medications thus facilitating the smooth coordination of a patient’s medications across all healthcare stakeholders. Healthcare organizations should develop patient portals that provide patients with relevant information and facilitate interaction with the healthcare team, and incorporate technology that can make the medication prescription and dispensing process simpler and faster, such as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) or electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) tools.

Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) can be Used to Improve Patient Compliance

Patients nowadays are generating a tremendous amount of their health care data on their own through use of technologies such as wearable devices and mHealth apps. Patients are also being monitored remotely through registered medical devices such as the pacemaker and blood glucose monitors that monitor data on heart rate and blood glucose levels. Healthcare organizations should encourage healthcare providers to use PGHD to assist with creating treatment regimens for their patients. Utilizing PGHD in this manner can improve patient engagement and by extension, improve compliance as well. It has been shown that patients were more engaged when PGHD were used during their office visits compared to when PGHD were not used. Patients who see and feel that their healthcare providers are invested in their health and value their contributions including their PGHD, are more likely to be engaged and compliant with treatment plans.

In order to facilitate and encourage the use of PGHD in treatment and care, healthcare organizations can also harness and implement Digital Disease Management Solutions that provides a user-friendly environment to identify changes in disease condition, manage medication adherence and enable easy communication between patients and healthcare providers. Improving patient compliance is essential to reducing disease burden, the cost of chronic care and improving patient outcomes. Healthcare organizations need to take necessary steps to improve patient compliance by treating patients as partners and utilizing available healthcare technologies and PGHD.

Learn more about Acuma Health technologies to help you incorporate patient generated health data into your healthcare organizations or begin leveraging healthcare technology today with this guide.


Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

October 8, 2019

Ten Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

Healthcare in the US has moved away from a fee-for-service model and is embracing value-based care largely driven by policies, regulations, and health care reform initiatives including the Affordable Care Act, and Meaningful Use. To maintain sustainability and remain competitive, healthcare stakeholders are developing and implementing new strategies to help them improve patient outcomes and the value and quality of the service they provide. Patient engagement, where providers and patients work together to improve health outcomes, is one such approach being embraced by healthcare stakeholders and has become integral to the success of healthcare organizations.

Here are 10 patient engagement strategies for healthcare stakeholders looking to improve the quality of care they offer:

1. Develop and implement patient engagement policies and procedures

Policies are necessary to demonstrate the commitment of the organization to patient engagement as well as to ensure that all staff and other stakeholders are aware that patient engagement is a focus of the organization. Specific procedures must be developed for all staff to follow to ensure that the policy is adhered to and the goal is achieved.

2. Develop a patient engagement framework

This framework should define the organization’s vision for patient engagement, stating clearly what the organization should look like when the patient engagement strategy is working. It will guide the organization in planning for, implementing and evaluating patient engagement activities across all departments and in all areas that can impact patient engagement. Some of these areas include; personal care and health decisions, organizational program or service design, delivery of service across the care continuum, and incorporating the patient’s family as well as other healthcare stakeholders into the process. Define the goals and expected outcomes for successful patient engagement at the individual level (patients and families), the healthcare team level, and the organizational level. The policies and procedures developed should form part of the patient engagement framework.

3. Create a culture of patient engagement

For any patient engagement strategy to be successful there must be buy-in from all stakeholders. Ensure that the organization creates a culture of patient engagement by involving staff, providers, and patients as much as possible in the creation of the patient engagement vision, policies and procedures, and framework. Creating a strong culture of patient engagement can support high quality health care.

4. Leveraging healthcare technology

Numerous healthcare technologies are available that can support patient engagement for healthcare organizations; implement the technologies that are right for your organization. Some of these technologies include:

  • EMR/EHR
  • Patient portals
  • Telephone calls/SMS/Email
  • Social media
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Mobile health applications
  • Telehealth/telemedicine
  • Digital disease management solutions
  • Patient engagement solutions

Employing the right technology and services is key to successful patient engagement.

When adopting healthcare technologies, it is best to implement cloud-based services and software. You must also ensure that solutions are compliant with the different healthcare regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Meaningful Use mandates.

5. Educating patients and healthcare providers

Educating both patients and healthcare providers is fundamental to the success of any patient engagement strategy. Educational interventions for patients can focus on areas such as preventative health; safety improvement (including medication management); and managing their conditions, especially for those with chronic illnesses. It can take different formats such as holding educational sessions (including food demonstrations) in a hospital, clinic, or the community; pamphlets; brochures; YouTube videos; videos playing in waiting rooms; information on the organization’s website; and sending text messages with information such as medication safety reminders.

Healthcare providers need to be educated on the importance of the role of the patient in their own care and how to engage with patients. Educate providers to use lay language to communicate with patients instead of medical jargon, have open discussions on patient engagement, and include patient engagement in teaching sessions and workshops.

6. Touch points during patient visits

Look for opportunities to engage the patient when they visit the organization. There are many touch points that can be leveraged to engage the patient and improve their experience and satisfaction. Some touch points in a typical primary care setting and how they can be utilized for patient engagement include:

  • Waiting room – TV, print materials, posters
  • Reception area – receptionist (at check-in and check-out), computer kiosk, follow-up email and correspondence
  • Nurse’s examination room – nurse
  • Doctor’s examination room – doctor, posters, print materials

7. Incentives and rewards

Try to engage patients by offering incentives and rewards for active involvement in their healthcare. This can include providing discounts or entries into a raffle for meeting health outcomes set between the provider and the patient such as lower blood pressure or reduced Body Mass Index (BMI). The organization can partner with local gyms to offer a discount on membership to its patients.

8. Engage the patient as part of the healthcare team

Patients will feel more engaged and empowered when they are actively involved in the decision-making surrounding their healthcare. Interact with and enable patients to become involved through methods such as making online payments, viewing test results, scheduling appointments online, requesting prescription refills, and utilizing patient-generated health data.

Healthcare organizations can engage patients in planning committees, patient and public engagement groups, patient advisory committees or in prospective surveys to encourage change.

WHO Report

9. Empower caregivers

According to an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report of 2015, 43.5 million adults in the US had acted as unpaid caregiver to a child or adult in the previous 12 months. With so many persons functioning as caregivers, a good patient engagement strategy must incorporate the caregivers as well. Caregivers play an active role in the healthcare of patients, so empowered with the right education and provided with the proper tools and support, caregivers can have a significant positive impact on the success of any patient engagement strategy.

10. Measure progress and make changes

To ensure the organization’s patient engagement strategy is successful and sustained, it must be continuously measured, and changes made where necessary. Gather feedback from patients, their families, staff, and other healthcare stakeholders who have an impact on the strategy. Conduct surveys and assessments and use all results and feedback to revise and revamp the strategy. Remove what is not working and implement new viable suggestions.

If you are looking to develop or enhance the patient engagement strategies in your healthcare organization and seeking dedicated software tools for improving the care you deliver, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution may be right for you.

Contact Acuma Health and request a consultation today or get started by downloading the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology.


Patient Reported Outcomes Enhance Clinical Care

July 26, 2019

Healthcare Technology to Streamline Patient Generated Health Data Collection to Improve Care

Patient reported outcomes (PROs) are a key patient generated health data source for patient care models that reward value over volume. PROs can add significant value in drug development, clinical care, formulary, and coverage decision making.

Traditionally, access to longitudinal PROs at the point of care has been limited at best. Digital health technology can ease the burden of traditional methods of collecting PROs – tedious surveys or time-consuming phone interviews which were sporadic in nature. Wearable and mobile devices allow for frictionless collection of real-time, actionable PROs to optimize care. For instance, patients can report symptoms or adverse drug events (ADEs) that they may be experiencing from a drop-down list with the click of a button on their wearable or mobile devices. Severity of pain and, bleeds can be reported via an intuitive mannequin interface. Images, videos, and text descriptions can be captured by the patient and uploaded for review by the care team.

Realizing the potential for PROs to improve care quality and value, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) convened a forum of healthcare stakeholders to identify solutions to further the use of PROs and produced a whitepaper, AMCP Partnership Forum: Improving Quality, Value, and Outcomes with Patient Reported Outcomes

Some of the recommendations from healthcare stakeholders were:

  • To streamline the PRO collection and healthcare data management process by using common healthcare technology platforms
  • For PRO data to be integrated with medical records and claims data to provide stakeholders with a better understanding of patient health in real-time and at the point-of-care.

Find out how Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution can collect and leverage patient generated health data to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.