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Building a Better Patient Education Strategy

Posted by Deirdre Wilson on Sep 6, 2017 2:11:00 PM
Deirdre Wilson
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4 Traits of Health Content That Engages and Satisfies


Patient education can be one of healthcare providers’ most effective tools in today’s value-based care systems. By setting patient expectations, promoting behavior change and measuring adherence to a care plan, it can improve outcomes and have financial benefits.

At UbiCare, we call this kind of patient education “architected” content because of the research, thought and strategy that goes into its construct. It’s designed to engage patients, improve care outcomes and increase satisfaction for patients and healthcare providers alike.

No matter what you call it, patient engagement technology fueled by evidence-based, carefully “architected” content has several important elements.

1. It’s digestible and multimedia.

Doctors share a wealth of health information at appointments, yet patients forget 80%–90% of what they learn there.

If you supplement the doctor’s office visit with personalized digital health information—broken up into small, digestible pieces and shared at key points over time—you make it easier for patients to remember their care instructions.

Incorporate multimedia elements (images, videos, and interactive tools, such as quizzes or health assessment calculators), and you’ll further support retention. Studies have found that multimedia’s primary benefit is to enhance, aid and reinforce learning by presenting information in a variety of ways. 

2. It’s targeted to the right times in the care episode.

An automated patient engagement solution lets you deliver personalized content when each patient needs it, outside the hospital or practice setting and based on known points along a care continuum. 

Pre-surgery messages, for example, can set patients’ expectations about their medical procedure, hospital stay and recovery back at home. A Gallup study of the benefits of pre-surgery education found that patients who knew what to expect after surgery were extremely satisfied with their surgery results; only 8% reported post-op problems.

3. It has proactive, push messaging.

Proactive, push messaging—content delivered to a patient (via email or text message, for example) rather than requiring the patient to come to it and, in some case, even login—makes it simple and more likely for a larger audience to engage.

Consider health apps, which generally use a pull strategy and require logins: 45 percent (nearly half!) of people who download mobile health apps stop using them, citing data entry burdens among other reasons.

If you want your content to engage patients, eliminate the barriers to getting that content.

4. It has trackable engagement points.

Perhaps the most critical pillar of effective, architected health content is that it’s built with points of engagement that provide measurable predictors and indicators of patient outcomes.

This kind of engagement can happen through interactivity (games, surveys or quizzes, for example) that yields data to help the provider understand patient adherence and, as a result, improve patient navigator activities.

For example, you might survey a patient preparing for joint replacement surgery on whether he smokes and has a plan for quitting before surgery. The patient’s answer might indicate potential complications (which could lead to costly hospital readmissions). Knowing the answer in real-time lets you provide additional one-on-one patient support and intervention when necessary.

P.S.: Don’t call it a patient “newsletter”

With all of the research, structuring and interaction built in, it’s important to note that true patient engagement content and technology should not be confused with a patient newsletter. A patient newsletter conveys health information for all patients at once. Patient engagement content does so much more—for patients, physicians and hospitals.

Architected health content and technology provides a blueprint for better patient and provider experiences. And with this kind of architecture, there’s no heavy lifting required.

With minimal effort, you can empower your patient education with scientifically backed strategies that guide patients toward desired health outcomes and collect the data you need to track their progress along the way.



Topics: Improving Patient Outcomes, Patient Engagement