Improving Patient Engagement and Clinical Outcomes in Hospitals

As the emphasis on patient-driven/centered care and quality improvement becomes more pressing, health care providers often wrestle with how to balance their drives for both clinical outcomes and patient engagement.
A good note is to consider what we mean by the term “patient engagement”. A more traditional perception is that we want to engage patients “to do what the clinician says”. This is contrary to a more modern and empowering view that by engaging patients we help them to
  1. Actively manage or navigate the health care system
  2. Actively manage their own health Concerns and complexities
Truly embracing the latter assumption demands that we surrender control and support the patient’s autonomy, which can be discomforting for the providers. The good news is that this more empowering approach and actually aligns far better with decades of literature in the medical world of behaviour change science about what works best in the interest of the patient and their treatment plans.
In the traditional medical model of patient care, there is a medical hierarchy, the provider is the expert who provides the treatment plan, and the patient is either compliant or non-compliant, to be very clear and prevent a misconception. This isn’t about merely following the patient but rather, about activating a person to take charge of their own health in a responsible and effective way, while relying on their medical team for their expertise and advice. 
 Research demonstrates that patients with higher levels of engagement  are “significantly more likely to attend screenings, regular check-ups and immunizations, and significantly more likely to engage in healthy behaviours like eating a healthy diet, or taking regular exercise compared with people who score lower on the activation scale.”
In other words, higher patient engagement results in improved health outcomes, better treatment adherence, and lowered costs, and improved clinical outcomes.
Last but not the least, as far as hospital expenses are considered, a highly engaged patients experience fewer hospitalizations and OPD/ER visits. This keeps the healthcare costs of engaged patients below the costs of disengaged patients.

Ciba R Sunil
Nurse Manager Neonatal Services/NRP instructor/ Clinical Trainings
Danat Al Emarat, Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates.

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