Most hospitals and health systems are starting to focus heavily on patient engagement because it is required by Meaningful Use and seems to align well with their mission to deliver patient-centered care. But what if we said that if an organization wasn’t careful in how they went about it, patient engagement initiatives could have neutral or even negative economic consequences? For example, certain patient engagement efforts can reduce demand for services and, thereby, reduce fee-for-service payments to providers. That probably doesn’t sound quite as appealing to most healthcare executives. That is why influence—not engagement—is key to provider economics.
So what do we mean by influence? Great question! At MEDSEEK, we define influence as a hospital or health system’s power to affect behavioral change, and to achieve their desired result, despite the fact that they have no formal authority over patient decisions.
As patients transition from passive recipients of care to active healthcare consumers, and as payers shift payment models towards value-based care, it is not patient engagement but patient influence that will become increasingly important to the financial sustainability and clinical success of hospitals and health systems.
The MEDSEEK Influence platform contains comprehensive capabilities to help organizations influence patient behavior before and after a physical encounter. Using our technology, organizations can influence decisions that impact both sides of the financial equation, revenue and cost, so they can better control their bottom-line.
Specifically, the MEDSEEK Influence platform helps healthcare organizations:
- Scientifically identify high-value, at risk patients
- Convert more high-value prospects into loyal, paying patients
- Compete fiercely for profitable service lines and procedures
- Improve Population Health
- Reduce Preventable Readmissions
- Drive ongoing management of chronic conditions
- Improve quality outcomes
- And more
While EHR vendors and emerging start-up companies struggle to deliver the most basic patient engagement capabilities, we’re moving full speed ahead to deliver end-to-end influence—leveraging best practices in behavioral science and persuasion psychology throughout our comprehensive technology platform to help hospitals meet patients where they are, in the manner they prefer, and communicate persuasively with them one-on-one to elicit the desired results.
Today, most hospitals and health systems have a great deal of influence over patient behavior at the point of care, but very little influence over decisions that are made before or after a physical encounter. Despite great bedside and inpatient education programs, data shows patients struggle to maintain healthy behaviors once they leave the hospital. Life-long habits can be embedded in the social, physical and cultural context of patients and diversity in activation occurs within age, income, education groups and among people with low literacy. Considering the active role patients are now taking in making their own healthcare decisions and the increased responsibility organizations must take on to manage risk-based payments, having influence over these day-to-day decisions is increasingly important to the bottom-line.
Providers must ditch the 1-size fits all approach to support activation and meet patients where they are, moving from a generalized to an individualized approach. Rather than continuing to pour all their money into inpatient IT systems, organizations need to invest in a comprehensive technology platform that allows them to transition from almost exclusively physical to numerous virtual touch points.
That means every healthcare organization—large or small, volume or risk-based—needs a single, comprehensive view of its patients coupled with a multi-channel communication platform to reach them with precisely the right message, at the right time, to elicit the desired response.
MEDSEEK has built a comprehensive platform to help hospitals and health systems interact with and influence healthcare consumers where they are, in exactly the manner they prefer. It’s a 21st century upgrade for hospitals who realize it is past time to interact with patients when, where and how they prefer and who want greater influence over people’s decisions, behavior and results.
Patient engagement is the answer to many of healthcare’s financial and consumer satisfaction concerns. Unfortunately, many organizations mistakenly look to Meaningful Use guidelines as their definitive patient engagement roadmap. Achieving Meaningful Use is a step in the right direction, but it’s not strategic enough to engage people in a way that will help hospitals achieve their larger, overarching strategic goals.
1. Compete for High Value Patients, Improve Patient Satisfaction & Create Loyalty
Meaningful Use Stage 2—and even Stage 3— requires organizations to provide patients with very basic electronic access to their medical records and simple secure messaging capabilities. Compare that to the way the rest of the world works, and you begin to understand the problem. Patients are people, too. Their expectations for healthcare are not defined by Meaningful Use, but by their everyday interactions with industries like banking, retail and travel.
Imagine if a bank offered its customers a different portal for every branch where they could only access the transactions that occurred at that location. Imagine if people could only view those transactions and not transfer money, make deposits or apply for credit. Do you think 60% of people would prefer to bank exclusively online? Of course not!
If healthcare executives want to be successful at patient influence, they have to stop thinking about “checking the box” and apply their own personal experiences with the rest of the world to their organization’s online strategy.
The MEDSEEK Influence platform helps healthcare organizations provide patients with a single, comprehensive view of their health information across the care continuum. It also provides convenient, self-service tools so patients and families can manage their health as easily as they manage their checking account. From the moment a prospect first turns to the Internet to research a health symptom, condition, treatment or provider, through the ongoing stages of chronic disease management, we help hospitals deliver rich, patient-centric online experiences that differentiate them from their competition.
2. Improve Activation, Compliance & Outcomes
Mandatory programs like the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction program and Shared Savings program, as well as optional risk-based models like Accountable Care, require healthcare organizations to take on a broader set of responsibilities for patient behavior outside the four walls. With this in mind, Meaningful Use falls woefully short of what’s actually required for hospitals to influence—not engage—patients in a way that will change their behavior and achieve the desired outcomes. The problem is a huge disconnect between the final objectives, what makes sense knowing where we’re headed, and what is possible in today’s technologically advanced world.
Under much pressure, the ONC ultimately constrained Meaningful Use engagement objectives so the final requirements would not exceed the capabilities of EHR vendors, whose products are the lowest common denominator when it comes to consumer engagement. These watered down objectives are not nearly prescriptive enough to help organizations actually meet patients where they are, with the right message at the right time, in order to improve health literacy, impact decision making and create new, healthier behaviors.
So while EHR vendors may tell organizations the Meaningful Use bar is high, it is actually far too low to help them achieve their more important revenue, quality and cost reduction goals.
At MEDSEEK, we’ve focused exclusively on healthcare consumer technology since our founding in 1996. Today, our comprehensive MEDSEEK Influence platform enables organizations to meet patients where they are and engage them in new and better ways to achieve influence. By deploying personalized solutions for individual patients, we help hospitals guide people down a preferred path so the organization can achieve its strategic goals.MEDSEEK helps organizations move beyond Meaningful Use to Meaningful Influence, so they can realize their strategic goals.