Biggest Patient Engagement Trends for 2022

Savvy healthcare organizations and services are embracing the new reality imposed by the global pandemic. What is more, they are championing patient engagement to create an experience that exceeds expectations. That is a step in the right direction because the alternative is to wait for things to return to the pre-pandemic state. 

Adopting virtual and digital services means that your patients won't be waiting anymore. That is more than welcome in times when there is an evident increase in healthcare consumerism. Also, patients want and need easy access to care and relevant content that will provide enough information so they can make the right decisions about their health. 

Given that patients who are engaged in their health and seek educational content are more likely to ask for care when they have a medical need and, therefore, have more positive patient outcomes, it is high time healthcare organizations began attracting wider audiences. So, increasing engagement through patient engagement solutions has become necessary. Moreover, it is a way to grow your business, build a good reputation, and create a robust online presence. 

Implementing some of the biggest patient engagement trends for 2022 is the best way to adapt to the new normal and ensure engagement across all care touchpoints. 
Before we explore those trends, it is necessary to understand what patient engagement is exactly and why it is important. 

What is patient engagement?

Patient engagement implies that patients gather information pertaining to their symptoms, illnesses, and treatment options that allow them to take control of their health and make sound decisions. 

It should also imply that a patient feels motivated not only to gather information but take a proactive role in maintaining their health, which involves:

  • Making healthy lifestyle choices
  • Prioritizing wellness
  • Exploring and taking advantage of preventive health services

Why is patient engagement important?

Patients are just like any other consumer, and nowadays, consumers want more from businesses and service providers. Thus, what patients want from healthcare organizations is:

  • More available information to make informed decisions
  • Transparency regarding costs
  • Transparency regarding options available
  • More educational resources
  • Open communication with healthcare providers
  • Better in-office amenities

Fail to meet those needs, and your healthcare business also fails. A patient who hasn't found what they need will go to a different provider who meets their demands. 

Patient engagement trends

Patient engagement trends to watch in 2022 include:

  1. Giving power to the patient with accurate information
  2. Allowing the patient to participate in their care options
  3. Fostering better patient-physician communication across digital interfaces
  4. Facilitating hybrid care arrangements
  5. Managing online reputation to inspire patients pick you
  6. Supporting engaging patient experience with automation

1. Empowering patients with information

Engagement trends are moving toward enabling the patient to manage, monitor, and care for their health independently. As a result, an increasing number of digital solutions allow patients to learn about various conditions, early symptoms, treatment options, and recovery. 

2. Enabling patients to take part in their care options

As patients have more information, healthcare providers can engage patients to take a more active role in their care paths. For instance, from choosing a treatment option to planning the post-treatment recovery, the patient will have a say and collaborate with their healthcare provider. 

3. Ensuring high-quality patient-physician communication

Like other sectors respond to consumers' demand for a speedy response to their queries by implementing live chat and being active on social media, so must healthcare organizations meet those new expectations. 

Here is how to achieve that:

1. Create accurate, comprehensive, and easy-to-understand content. Hiring experienced medical writers is the best way to go. High-quality content will ensure your website ranks well on search engine result pages. Consequently, it will attract more audience, increase your authority in the field, and improve your bottom line.

2. Create and manage your Google My Business profile. It is an excellent way to boost your ranking. Also, you will make an excellent first impression and establish credibility as a legitimate business.

3. Create social media and email campaigns. It is a perfect way to keep your patient informed. Consequently, you will ensure retention and attract new audiences.

4. Facilitating hybrid care arrangements

Covid-19 transformed the way non-urgent patients were treated. Therefore, we can expect two trends in 2022 and later.

Firstly, hospitals will look into smart hospital rooms with tablets next to each bed. The tablets will provide access to patient information, such as:

  • Medica records
  • Test results
  • Treatment schedule
  • They will also provide access to hospital services, including:
  • Fresh linen
  • Meals
  • Lights control
  • Thermostat

All of these tools will help keep patients engaged and informed. As a result, it also allows nurses to respond to specific and educated questions. 

Secondly, hybrid care models will support remote patient monitoring. For example, hospitals have implemented innovative solutions, such as telehealth, to continue to provide healthcare and improve patient outcomes at home. Moreover, such service is lower-cost, leading to greater healthcare accessibility. 

5. Online healthcare reputation management

Patients use the internet to find products and services of all kinds, and searching for physicians and various medical professionals online is increasingly common. In fact, research shows that 81% of patients check online reviews before choosing a healthcare provider. Therefore, it’s crucial to prioritize improving your online reviews and the way people talk about you online. 

The best way to do that is by simply sending patients a survey that asks for their feedback and to leave an online review. As unhappy patients leave more online reviews while happy patients continue on with their day, sending happy patients a satisfaction survey will prompt more of them to leave their feedback.

6. Prioritizing automation

Automation and digital technologies can enhance the patient experience considerably. For instance, anything, from routine doctor visits, through virtual healthcare, to surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and clinical trials, encourage patient engagement. Moreover, automation boosts patient satisfaction. 

Here are some ways in which automation improves patient experience:

  • Faster appointment scheduling through online solutions
  • Complete and consistent medical records with the minimized possibility of human error
  • On-demand access to medical records
  • Timely and accurate medical interventions
  • Quicker response times
  • Automated record-keeping

Final comments

Some healthcare organizations might have embraced virtual and digital technologies at the beginning of the pandemic because of the need to make considerable changes. Other healthcare service providers have temporarily changed their operations while waiting for things to return to normalcy. In both cases, it's evident that it's time for a change. 
It's critical to reevaluate your current procedures and consider how you wish to continue. It pays to examine how well and to what extent you engage your patients and implement strategies that will ensure care that is: 

  • Digitally connected
  • Patient-centric
  • Engaging

Exploring patient engagement trends for 2022 will allow you to stay on top of your game. Patients are no longer passive recipients of healthcare. Nowadays, they are more involved and empowered to take control of their health and treatment journeys. So, they expect more value, better service, quick care, transparency, and a fantastic patient experience. If you can't meet those expectations, you lose to the competition that can.