Empowering Patients: Discussing Patient Engagement

It’s a surprisingly sticky problem to get patients to follow everything their doctor tells them. Of course it would benefit their health, but life often gets in the way for some patients.

Empowering Patients

Patient engagement focuses on encouraging patients by combining their knowledge, skills, abilities, with well-designed platforms and educational content to better manage their own care and promote certain behaviors. Patients take more responsibility for their own health with support and guidance of clinicians to optimize preventative and continuous care.

This has become crucial with the introduction of RPM. Without patients’ input and data, such as measuring blood pressure and recording food and drink intake, RPM platforms will be useless. An RPM platform can be successful once patients perform the recommended regiments to be recorded and given as data everyday to the platform.

Driving Forces

Managing Chronic Conditions, Changing Behaviors Forever

By combining product design with class education, shared decision-making tools, and real-time reporting, the health platform Santovia is pushing up patient engagement. They allow physicians to curate educational content and assign it to patients. Santovia’s push for patient education highlights one of the ways in which patients are enabled to assume responsibility for their medical conditions and overall health. With Santovia, patients are given an opportunity to change their behavior, optimize the management of their condition, and collaborate with their physicians.

“Active patient engagement is a prerequisite for critical circumstances, especially in the case for chronic conditions, to ensure patients understand the situation, change their behavior to recover faster, and the condition is managed optimally.” ~ Fiona Calnan, Santovia CEO

Layers of Engagement and Education

Navigating Cancer introduces its new PRM platform, Navigating Care, that offers a personalized companion and complementary portal to enhance patient engagement and help medical practices deliver high quality information. Patients become more knowledgeable about their cancer by engaging with the platform’s features, such personalized education, support groups, and access to health records 24/7. Physicians and patients are able to have a dynamic and flowing conversation that empowers patients with knowledge and awareness. Navigating Care combines live support with accessible resources and education to increase patient engagement.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Buying Groceries with More Choice

Kroger’s new shelving system Edge uses digital displays to indicate pricing, nutritional information, and promotions to engage customers in choosing healthier nutritional products. Edge allows shoppers to integrate their smartphones to align with their grocery lists through their platform. Rather than disrupting customers’ existing lives, Edge aligns their product with the customers’ pre-existing shopping habits. Patient engagement in healthcare works similarly: by providing accessible information in a way that integrates — not imposes — with patients’ lives, the patient is able to easily integrate the recommendations into their lives without disruption.

Applying Design

Near-Term (12 Months)

Opportunities

  • Effective education: Educational and informational tools available for patients improve their understanding and self-management skills. Designers will be key to designing experiences that lead to successful knowledge transfer.
  • Enforces personalized experience: Designers help enable a positive feedback loop in which physicians communicate on a more educational level and patients reciprocate with their engagement
  • Improved connections: Patients become empowered to communicate better about how they are doing, and can communicate more effectively without overwhelming doctors. Designers will play a key role in managing this balance.

Dangers

  • Stirring skepticism: A poorly designed platform can decrease patient cooperation and increase patient skepticism in the healthcare system over time
  • Losing grip: Physicians can also become skeptical in poorly designed patient engagement models, as they may feel they are losing the authority and value of expertise among patients and their education
  • Misinformation: Trust is no longer a given in the current healthcare system, which allows a newly designed platform to educate and inform patients in a way that does not expect them to blindly follow advice
  • Lack of Funding and Design: Some health facilities are unable to set-up the tools and platforms necessary to promote patient engagement due to poor design choices in the past or their lack of funding

Long-Term (3+ Years)

Opportunities

  • Different Definitions of Health: A truly well-designed platform not only educates patients about their conditions, but also promotes behavioral health changes that encompass a new healthy lifestyle
  • Considering the entire patient: Health becomes more multifaceted and digital therapeutics allow a more holistic view of the entire patient rather than just the symptoms. Information design plays a key role in managing this.
  • Communities of Care: Implementing effective CDMs creates communities of care where caregivers can coordinate and collaborate more effectively to help the patients with their conditions. Designers create new communication channels in such a way that doctors work becomes more efficient, rather than increasingly overwhelming.

Dangers

  • Overpowering doubts: Lack of trust and transparency as more data and health gets tracked leads to more people leaving the reformed healthcare system and pursuing alternative home forms of medicine
  • Damaging well-being: Weak educational tools can lead to uneducated and poor medical decisions, worse health outcomes, and general damage to patients’ self-management skills
  • Methodical and ineffective innovations: Digital therapeutics designed very procedurally without empowering patients will not interest the patients to engage, leading to no significant change in their health outcomes and the overall health industry

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