Although we usually focus on the pragmatic side of marketing and communications in our weekly blog, this week, we are going to shift to a subject that we all need to take heed of: patient engagement.
For those of us who may have operated along the premise that our providers take care of all our health care needs, it’s now time for a paradigm shift in healthcare as payment and care delivery models shift from episodic fee-for-service care toward population health and value-based reimbursement.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review points out that what’s needed now is “a fundamental redesign of the patient’s role – from that of a passive recipient of care to an active participant charged with defined responsibilities, equipped to dispatch them, and accountable for results. We need to view the patient’s role as a job and then, design that job in such a way as to drive the best outcomes possible.”
This shift toward patient engagement and responsibility aligns with a new focus on “patient-centered care.”
A key driver of the need for patient engagement is the fact that care is accessed and experienced differently now than it was when we retained one family physician throughout our lifetime. Today, people switch doctors frequently, the result of insurance coverage, scheduling and other changes. Also, how and where care is delivered is transitioning greatly as well. Instead of the confines of the family physician’s office, more and more people now visit urgent care centers and/or alternative practitioners, and some don’t even leave their homes at all, availing themselves of virtual consultations, instead.
The Harvard Business Review article, “Giving Patients an Active Role in Their Health Care,” prepares us for how we can be active participants in our care without getting lost in the labyrinth that is the healthcare system in the U.S. today.