For practices

“Patient engagement” is a bit of a buzz phrase within the medical profession. People are as busy as ever with work obligations and family responsibilities. The hectic nature of life can prevent them from focusing on their well-being.

That’s where digital healthcare has paid dividends. Thanks to its simplicity and ease of usage, general practitioners can leverage the online tools, mobile technologies and digital platforms that encourage patients to take a more active, engaged role in their own health. When combined with compassionate care, these tools can create lifelong patients and potentially attract more as well.

It raises an interesting question that GPs should address to further enhance loyalty: How does patient engagement work in tandem with the patient experience?

Perhaps the best way to determine this is by identifying how the two compare:

What does patient engagement mean?

A doctor answering the phone

Above: Maintaining regular contact with patients can foster positive engagement.

Engagement is all about action – meaning the physical ways in which people participate and take advantage of health care services. This activity is not unidirectional, however. It takes a team effort wherein a hospital or medical office provides the tools and the patient actually uses them. Whether they be patient portals, electronic medical records, surveys or online booking tools, resources such as these encourage patients’ ongoing involvement.

What defines the patient experience?

Doctor looking in patient's ear

Above: A commitment to service and transparency can boost the patient experience.

Patient experience is the takeaway benefits that patients derive throughout the course of treatment. Given the advancements in patient engagement, the experience itself is now longer than it used to be, beginning with the initial phone call or online booking and concluding with post-appointment aftercare and recalls. Additionally, the patient experience assesses “what is” with “what’s possible.” In other words, on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 10 being the best – was the care that patients received as good as it could be? If not, what steps can be taken to get there?

Which one is more important?

It’s really an unfair question because the two can’t be separated. They work hand in hand. Patient engagement requires the active participation of at least two parties. But in order for patients to be engaged and use the tools available to them, a positive patient experience is pivotal.

In order to maximise both elements, physicians must optimise their work processes by drawing on the resources available to them and listening to their patients, which may lead to the loyalty you need to grow your practice. HealthEngine can help you in this effort.

Want to know how you can improve your patient experience?

We’ve put together this FREE guide full of simple and effective things you can do within your practice to improve the patient experience. Get yours here.

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