How Technology Can Improve Patient Compliance
It is no secret that a patient’s health can take a huge hit when they do not comply with the provider’s orders and medication timelines and are not engaged in the healing process. Getting patients more involved in their healthcare journey can be a tedious task set on healthcare providers. Yet, if the patient isn’t engaged and committed, there is little a provider can do to improve the outcomes they hope to achieve. However, as medical technology advances, the level of patient engagement rises. Why? Technology allows patients to understand, communicate, and make better decisions when it comes to their health.
There are several engagement strategies to get patients more involved in their care.
It is important to understand what segments, populations, or groups a patient belongs to. These key insights can inform on specific risks or issues a patient may face along their healthcare journey. Data such as this can be challenging to organize and maintain, but digital records have greatly improved providers' ability to quickly read and digest this information.
Health information can be complex for patients, especially when faced with a new diagnosis and treatment plan. “Dr. Google” is a tempting substitute for genuine clinical information, and patients can easily get overwhelmed. When providers add clear educational material to the treatment plan, patients’ knowledge, and confidence dramatically improve. In this digital age, health information is best provided via technology, whether in online articles, a portal with detailed notes and definitions, or a mobile app with up-to-date news. A 2020 literature review revealed that the digital technology used during the current COVID-19 pandemic improved patients' continued education and decreased outbreak impact.
Patients often have better outcomes when they work directly with providers when making informed decisions on treatments and care plans. Communication between provider and patient is pivotal to ensure that appropriate decision-making is clear on both sides and that both parties are committed to a path forward. Technology can become an important method of communication as in-person visits are rarely convenient. Patient online portals with direct messaging can allow the patient to feel connected to the provider and empower them to act as an informed decision-makers. According to the Patient Safety Network, “these tools can increase transparency, manage expectations, and instill trust when patients are at their most vulnerable.”
When providers encourage frequent communication, check-ins, and appointments, patients feel more understood and involved in their care plan. While in-person visits can be beneficial, they are not always possible. Technology can allow for the connection between providers and patients through secure services without the need or hassle of traveling. A 2012 study found “[i]ntegration of in-person contacts with technology-driven medication adherence reminders, electronic medication reconciliation and pharmaceutical databases may improve medication adherence and have a positive effect on [patient] outcomes.”
Gaining access to important and vital care is always a major issue for patients. Whether they lack access due to distance, transportation, or income, gaining the right care can be overwhelmingly difficult. Technology offers a bridge to those who need care quickly but may not be able to travel to find it. Telehealth, an ever-growing segment of healthcare, offers patients a way to meet with providers and gain answers to their healthcare questions more efficiently. A 2019 review found that telehealth care had a significant impact on the outcomes of patients seeking mental health treatment. Patients that were treated via telehealth were found to have fewer emergency medical visits and even reported improved cognitive function.
It can be difficult to navigate through the healthcare system for weary and unsure patients. Providers hope to act as a guide for patients, but engaging them effectively can be challenging. Patients can lack the confidence and knowledge to act as an advocate in their own health. Technology is a valuable tool to assist patients with access to records, educational materials, communication, and care availability. Patients can then feel empowered to take the next steps and follow the path that their provider has laid out for them.
Rovicare’s innovative care coordination system keeps the patient involved from beginning to end. The streamlined process allows the patients and caretakers to set referral preferences, interact with care coordinators, and get updates on transports all in one convenient location. With Rovicare, patients can feel more involved in their wellness journey and have the confidence to engage and communicate with their healthcare team.