7 Strategies to Increase Patient Engagement

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Healthcare, Life Sciences

In the modern era, information on any subject is available from a simple Google search. Patients are more likely to look to the internet for healthcare information than they ever have been before, and the trend is only going to increase as the industry adjusts to rapidly shifting consumer expectations.

Healthcare providers and life science researchers need to understand how to engage with patients who have increased expectations while still managing and even improving patient outcomes.

Our blog today will give you information on the changing patient engagement landscape and some actionable steps you can take today to improve patient engagement.

Key Takeaways:
  • There are more data and more opportunities to collect data, which means more chances to get engagement right. Or wrong.
  • Meet the patient where they are. Communicate in the channels they prefer and keep information and decisions front and center to maximize patient involvement.
  • Make it a team effort. Real, meaningful, and useful patient engagement is only possible when your entire organization is behind the cause. Focus on top-down and bottom-up solutions to patient engagement when crafting your strategy.

What Is Patient Engagement?

In the past, life science and pharmaceutical companies focused on engaging with doctors who would then communicate their products with patients. That trend is rapidly shifting as patients’ expectations of the marketplace change. Now, engaging with the patient is more important than ever.

Patient engagement means collaborating with your patients to find out what works best for them. Ironing this out is a form of patient engagement, and every method of engagement is a chance to impress the consumer with your commitment to hearing them out. 

In general, patient engagement should involve an organizational-level movement towards treating patients on their level: information gathering, decision-making, and even personalized therapies should all come from the patient’s perspective.

If you’re still uncertain, check out this video where the University of Toronto’s Professor Michael Jewett discusses some real-world examples of identifying patient needs via engagement and improving outcomes as a result:

More Data, More Problems, Different Solutions

Companies today have more data to use, which means more opportunities to sense patients’ needs and respond to them, but it also means having a harder time securing that data.


Infographic describing the challenges of maintaining patient engagement data integrity and the consequences of failing to do so.
Image Source: https://geo-nexus.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/August-Blog_Infographic_v4-768×994-1-1.png

Most life science companies have managed to integrate customer data into commercialization but haven’t made the leap to include customer data into R&D and company-wide culture.

We suggest that companies use this opportunity to include customers in the R&D phase of treatments and strategies. Even if customers aren’t directly involved, their input can be in the form of data.

7 Strategies to Improve Patient Engagement

You can immediately focus on implementing these strategies within your organization to improve patient engagement.

1. Learn How to Communicate with Patients

Every patient wants healthcare staff to treat them as an individual. They have unique concerns, fears, and hopes for the future. Providers and other patient-facing employees should be trained on how best to communicate with patients on their level. Effective communication means listening instead of speaking most of the time.

Find out how the patient prefers to be contacted and do everything you can to honor that request. If you’re sending form emails to every patient you have, even the ones who prefer text and don’t often look at their emails, you’re missing out on critical communication opportunities.

2. Promote Your Technology

Promote the systems and technology you want the customer to engage in. 

These might be your patient portal or other platforms. Either way, keep it front and center when you have the patient’s attention to encourage them to use it.

3. Consider Every Angle

  • Top-Down: From a top-down perspective, patient engagement needs to be a priority that management and senior leadership must constantly reaffirm. Without a real cultural push, the patient-facing employees may not have the tools and resources necessary to prioritize patient engagement.
  • Bottom-Up: As your patient engagement culture improves, focus on training your patient-facing employees (doctors, nurses, receptionists) on how to listen to and document patient concerns at every level. 

    4. Collaborate with Patients

    Remember that every time you contact a customer, it’s a chance to gain valuable information and data from them. 

    Infographic illustrating a few of the many opportunities where patient engagement, communication, and collaboration can take place.
    Image Source: https://rehabupracticesolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Patient-Relationships.png

    If you have an idea of how to make the patient live longer, but the procedure is undesirable to patients, you haven’t solved any problems. 

    If you involved the patient in developing a treatment regimen for their condition, they may tell you that they would feel much more fulfilled if the treatment could alleviate just a single major symptom. This insight from the patient could radically shift your focus from curing the disease at all costs to simply making life more enjoyable and fulfilling for those suffering from it.

    This kind of collaboration is only possible when you take every opportunity to listen to and consider what a patient says about their life and health conditions.

    5. Establish Concrete Goals

    Think of some metrics that can help you track patient happiness and healthcare outcomes.

    One example is the Patient Activation Metric (PAM), a 22-question survey that results in a single metric to track how well patients are activated, engaged, and informed about their healthcare. 

    6. Work with Partners to Share Data, Best Practices, and Customer Feedback

    Regardless of how much data you’re collecting, it may be tainted by unreliability

    The good news is that, while true information may be more difficult to discern, there is more of it available. A fact consumers are also aware of: health-related searches are growing as more and more people feel comfortable searching for health information online.

    We recommend a collaborative approach to data management. Establish partners in your industry willing to share information and best practices with you. An eco-system-centered approach to data is the best way to keep information tidy, compliant, and relevant.

    7. Try a Master Data Management (MDM) Platform Like Coperor

    We understand the challenge that healthcare and life science companies face when it comes to managing customer data. As the healthcare system grows larger and more interconnected, it’s more and more important to establish a single source of truth within your data management operations.

    Coperor can help you integrate data with that of your partners to manage and improve the patient experience at every level.

    Coperor was designed from the ground up with the healthcare and life science industries in mind, which is why our data model can support the complex and interconnected healthcare data ecosystem.

    Coperor can make it easy to keep customer data updated, organized, and in compliance. Better data management means better insights which lead to better patient outcomes.

    Better Outcomes with Better Data

    If you’re running a healthcare or life science company of any scale, you’re regularly working with a mountain of data.

    Parsing this data for valuable insights and implementing solutions based on them is how the next big life science company will separate itself from the field. Making those insights and solutions patient-centered is the next great step towards patient satisfaction and improved outcomes industry-wide.

    If you’re interested in a scalable solution to your healthcare data management, click here to schedule a demo of Coperor.


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