Top four patient engagement trends to watch

These trends emerge from CDW’s Patient Engagement Perspective Study, but surprisingly one tech trend didn’t make the cut.

Both patients and providers are eager for more effective patient engagement, according to a new study.

CDW’s 2017 Patient Engagement Perspective Study, released at HIMSS17,  builds on last year’s research to explore the drivers, challenges and influences for patient engagement.

Seventy percent of the 200 patient respondents to the survey say that they have become more engaged with their healthcare during the past two years-up from 57% in CDW’s 2016 Patient Engagement Perspectives Study.

Ragont“We found that communication is important for engagement, and both providers and patients see technology as a channel to expand interaction and access to information needed to empower patients,” says Nancy Ragont, senior manager, customer insights, CDW Healthcare. “When asked what motivated them to become more engaged with their healthcare, patients noted greater online access to personal health records and access to patient portals as the top two drivers. In addition, as patients become increasingly comfortable with new technology, providers have new ways to increase and improve engagement with their patients, whether it’s through patient portals, mobile apps, video chat or text.”

As the healthcare market evolves from a fee-for-service to a pay-for-performance model, patient engagement is paramount, according to Ragont. “Providers know that patient engagement correlates with care outcomes, as the more involved and invested a patient is with his or her healthcare, the greater the likelihood for successful outcomes,” she says. “Now, the bottom line is at stake, since providers are increasingly paid for outcomes.”

Sixty seven percent of the 200 providers who took the survey say that improving overall patient care motivates them to improve patient engagement, and opportunities for engagement that also improve quality of care continue to expand.

Providers are encouraging patients to access their healthcare information (83%), offering them the ability to sign up for a patient portal (81%) and communicating via email (53%).

“Patients, as a result, are becoming more knowledgeable about personal medical information, saving time, increasing their overall engagement with personal healthcare, and experiencing greater convenience,” Ragont says.

Next: Four survey findings



Here are four key survey findings:

  • Patients continue to see the benefits of online access. Seventy percent of patient respondents say they’ve become more knowledgeable about their personal medical information thanks to online resources, and 50% noticed an increased overall engagement with personal healthcare, according to the study.

  • There’s power in patient portals. Ninety eight percent of patient respondents say that they can access a patient portal, and 81% of providers who say they have improved their engagement with patients credit the availability of patient portals, according to the survey. “In fact, over the last year, patient portals have surpassed web-based access to healthcare information as the number one method of encouraging engagement for both patients and providers,” Ragont says.

  • Mobility is key. Patients are increasingly comfortable with mobile access to their healthcare information. Eighty three percent of patient respondents  say they would be comfortable communicating via mobile apps, and 77% say they would comfortable texting with their healthcare provider, according to the study. However, only 34% are comfortable communicating via social media.

  • There’s room for improvement. Just 29% of patient respondents say they would give their healthcare providers an “A” for their use of technology to interact with and engage patients, and 89% of patients would like to be able to more easily access their personal healthcare records, according to the study.

Despite these trends, Ragont was surprised to see that telemedicine has not yet gained traction in the same way as patient portals or mobile apps. Just 30% of patient respondents say that telemedicine would be somewhat or very valuable in allowing them to become more engaged in their healthcare, and just 9% of provider respondents say they are “very comfortable” with the idea of telemedicine (compared to 20% of patients).

Providers say they are primarily concerned with their ability to have a thorough consultation over video (70%), privacy issues (43%) and a lack of patient familiarity with technology (35%). Patients face similar concerns, with 58% concerned about their doctor’s ability to have a consultation over video, 38% concerned about personal comfort, and 36% concerned about privacy issues.