Primary care services are government initiatives that are practiced around the world to minimize the spread of diseases through active awareness programs that educate populations. Health care services endeavor to administer high standards of care to patients who are ill and support them till they are healthy and self-reliant.
Importance of patient engagement for primary care
The yield of success of primary care initiatives and health care treatment plans is highly dependent on the patient’s will to fight the disease. The outcomes are directly linked to experience and patient engagement plays a vital role in this alignment.
Patient-centric care can be dispensed through a public health system only when its critical component is patient engagement. It is a concept that is gaining recognition as an indispensable part of health care.
When patients are involved, they feel included and understand the parameters that affect their current health conditions and the efficacy and possible success rate of the treatment plan. When clinicians and nurse practitioners have an open dialogue with their patients they feel engaged.
In this age of information, a lot of patients tend to search for a plausible medical condition they suffer from based on their symptoms. While it is good to know, not all patients have the comprehension to fully understand what they read or assimilate. Therefore, being open to them about their treatment plan is more important than ever.
Benefits of patient engagement
- Improves confidence
When healthcare providers talk to patients about the following, they tend to feel more confident about their health
- Their medical condition
- What steps they can take to improve the current situation
- Expectations and probable success of the treatment plan
- And precautions that need to be taken when monitoring own health
- Patient concurrence
With improved understanding, patients are more focused and give due importance to prevention and monitoring measures required to maintain their health. They record their symptoms of pain or concern that are both positive and negative to discuss with their healthcare provider. There is a higher degree of concurrence between patients and their caregivers about the mutually agreed patient care or treatment plans.
- Improves safety
Health care practitioners in training learn extensively from the measures of patient engagement. When patients who have faced an ordeal of pain, articulate their experience and stories, it is impactful. Those training to become nurses and doctors will appreciate a patient’s perspective on pain management. The trainees learn valuable capabilities like compassion and quality assurance to deliver safe patient care.
Barriers affecting patient engagement
As per the WHO report, 5 factors hinder patient engagement:
- Demographics of patients
- Health condition
- Knowledge and expertise of healthcare professional
- Task settings
- Health care setting
Education and inclusiveness role in patient engagement
Of the five factors suggested in the WHO study, some conditions are both controllable and uncontrollable. However, educating the masses in a manner they can easily understand and comply with through inclusive methods can increase the engagement of the patient population.
Without the right awareness or education, patients will not understand the severity of the impact of a lack of compliance with the treatment plan. When patients fail to adhere to simple preventive or illness management steps, then there are increased episodes of hospitalization and clinical outcomes that may even be fatal to patients’ lives.
Providing inclusive education to patients from the start has helped the healthcare sector save tons of money in exacerbated hospital admissions. A lot of patients healed back to health without recurrence of any episodes that adversely affected their quality of life.
Following three steps can be followed when healthcare professionals are aiming to engage their patients
Educate both patients and other stakeholders like caregivers
Though patients need to be educated about their health conditions and disease prevention steps, caregivers like nurses and nurse aids, often tend to go by the book and may forget to give individual care due to occupational fatigue. It is important to reiterate the procedures to everyone involved.
Feedback from patients is useful and provides data that is not otherwise available in any other patient touch points including their diagnosis reports. This information is essential in forming insights to formulate and deliver better care and strive for safe health practices.
Engaging someone can be best done by including them in all the initiatives from the start. If patients are included, they will be able to share their perspectives better.
Rising healthcare costs can be managed through effective dialogue and patient engagement. All healthcare stakeholders must realize this soon.