When transitions of care are poorly coordinated, both patient and healthcare organization suffer. Without proper education, timely follow-up and tools to self-manage, patient complications and readmissions increase significantly. Healthcare organizations need effective and scalable ways of engaging and empowering patients to take active roles in their health post-discharge.
As medical professionals, when we attempt to support patients as they transition from hospital to home, we face two distinct challenges:
- How do we distill complex medical information into easily understood instructions?
- How do we motivate the patient to follow those instructions?
For many, the approach is to hand the patient discharge instructions and briefly discuss what they need to do which, more often than not, leaves patients unsure of what to do and therefore unable to properly manage their chronic conditions.
And when they don’t? They are labeled as “non-compliant.” A judgmental term that can prevent providers from coming up with creative solutions to motivate behavior change. So what can be done?
We’ve all heard before that there is no “I” in team yet, as clever kids once figured out, there is an “m-e.” In healthcare there can be a lot of “me, myself and I” thinking, but it’s crucial for more team-building and communication to be fostered.
How? Well, as Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Both patients and providers want autonomy, yet the best outcomes are often achieved when everyone works side-by-side as a team.
The following five personas represent clinicians that embrace this notion, and help their patients become empowered participants in their health:
The Pioneer ACO Model, a pilot program through the federal healthcare law, has saved Medicare approximately $400 million in two years. According to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, this is a testament to the model serving as an effective approach to cutting costs while improving quality of care.
“This is a crucial milestone in our efforts to build a health-care system that delivers better care, spends our health-care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people,” states Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
April is alcohol awareness month, a good time to assess our drinking habits. Many of us think of alcohol overuse as a dichotomy: you’re an alcoholic, or you’re not. But experts are starting to think about alcohol overuse as a continuum, realizing that people in the middle of the spectrum can still experience negative consequences and could benefit from cutting back.
by Julie Goldstein and Geri Lynn Baumblatt
According to Ben Franklin these are the only two things in life we can really be sure of. This saying was memorialized eight years ago with the first annual National Healthcare Decisions Day, the day for Advance Care Planning, on April 16, the day after taxes.
Advance care decisions are extremely personal, but they can also be very complex, leaving many patients to either opt out of making them at all or too uncomfortable to discuss them with their provider. However, it’s crucial that the conversation occurs so that patients make informed decisions, their decisions are documented, and everyone is prepared if and when the time comes.
Find out more about engaging your patients in advance care planning from the infographic below:
Most health professionals try to inform, educate and engage their patients. However, for a long time, information leaflets were the only medium available for patient education. This changed with the rise of digital communication. Nowadays, many different formats can be used. Video, for example, is a strong medium and seems to be a promising alternative to more standard, written information. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of videos over written information has not consistently been shown in research and the production of a video is time consuming and expensive.
By Dani Alcorn
A few months ago I downloaded an app on my phone that promised to track my sleep habits and health. Before bed, you'd turn on the app, put the phone under your pillow, and switch off the lights. The phone's accelerometer kept track of how much you moved and deduced when you were awake, lightly asleep, or deeply asleep. In the morning, it gave you your statistics: duration, average bedtime, and "nightly efficiency."
Diana Dilger - Senior Health Writer, Emmi SolutionsWritten for the Association of Patient Experience
Patient Engagement Tip of the Month
No one likes to bring up death. People like it even less when it’s about them. But that’s not a good reason to avoid it. It’s an important discussion, and we have a responsibility to promote these conversations so patients can have a say in what they do and don’t want.