Patient Engagement in Healthcare: 5 Apps & Technology Tools

Patient Engagement Tools

As blended care plays a bigger role in the ‘new healthcare normal,’ providers globally are spending less time face to face with patients. But for many that we help, virtual care can be a game-changer, and often the only alternative to no treatment at all. It means that as general and mental health practitioners, we’re now searching for the most effective, realistic, and practical patient engagement tools that can help our clients achieve their goals.

This article explores the concept of patient engagement in healthcare, as well as some of the best answers to one of practitioners’ most critical questions: “How do we increase patient engagement…virtually?”

Before reading on, we think you’ll enjoy our $1 trial of Quenza’s patient engagement tools. Our software is uniquely designed to help you foster and maintain engagement in therapy, and will give you everything you need to motivate and support your clients as they fulfill their unique potential.

What is Patient Engagement in Healthcare?

An essential element of professional healthcare, patient engagement quite simply describes the process of:[1]

Actively involving and supporting patients in health care and treatment decision making activities.

But as any clinician, psychologist, or psychiatrist will know, this seemingly straightforward concept can cover myriad different things in practice – from psychoeducation and collaboration on treatment plans, to motivating progress between sessions and involving patients in decisions about their options.

So why bother at all? As we’ll see, fostering and maintaining patient health engagement can have more than a few advantages.

Benefits of Engaged Patients

In healthcare, all involved stakeholders can realize a massive range of benefits when patients are engaged in their treatment.

Not only are engaged, informed, and actively involved clients much easier for practitioners to collaborate with, but a wealth of research has revealed positive relationships between patient engagement and several other important healthcare factors.

According to researchers, for example, using various different approaches to engage patients can contribute to:[2][3][4][5]

  • Improved adherence to treatment plans
  • A higher likelihood of patients following the care recommendations of their professionals
  • Greater confidence when dealing with challenging symptoms or conditions, and perhaps most vitally,
  • Improved health outcomes from treatment.

It has led to a huge surge of interest in exactly how therapists, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals can increase patient engagement, both using traditional methodologies and with the help of technology.

How To Increase Patient Engagement

Experts studying patient engagement in healthcare have classified patient engagement methods as: “…tools or strategies, applied as part of the clinical workflow, that support patients through a process of being involved as partners in their own healthcare and decision-making activities.”[1]

These tools or strategies can be thought of as falling into three categories:

  1. Methods based on passive information provision: Where practitioners might distribute leaflets, webpages, or multimedia for patients to work through on their own
  2. Strategies combining information and activation: These cover coaching, prompting, and otherwise supporting patients to show engaged behaviors. These behaviors, in turn, might include asking questions or summarizing knowledge.
  3. Approaches involving information, activation, and collaboration: These strategies and tools aim to stimulate active co-creation, communication, and cooperation. Typically, these involve specific interventions or patient engagement tools.

As providers and their patients move from smaller goals toward more active and involved engagement, the authors found these strategies became more effective, with approaches that inform, activate, and engage patients in collaboration being the most successful.

Naturally, however, these tools and strategies were considerably more resource-intensive than the first two. For many providers, they were even impractical to implement.

It’s exactly why and where patient engagement technology comes in highly useful.

Use of Technology For Patient Engagement

As a healthcare practitioner, informing, activating, and collaborating with clients is much easier and cost-effective when certain aspects of a patient engagement strategy can be automated.

For example, a strategy that involves disseminating decision-making frameworks or self-reflection prompts to clients might include a number of steps:

  • Designing psychoeducational content
  • Sharing it securely with a patient
  • Gathering their responses, and
  • Using feedback from the patient in a collaborative discussion on their treatment.

Where these steps can be streamlined with patient engagement tools, building engagement becomes with this approach becomes much more feasible – for both providers and their clients.

In the next section, we’ll consider some examples of patient and client engagement software and highlight the features that can be particularly useful in achieving these goals.

3 Helpful Tools For Increasing Patient Engagement

Knowing that patient engagement hinges on improving knowledge and encouraging active participation puts you in a better position to choose the right tools for your practice.

Whether you’re building engagement in a large hospital or running in a private counseling practice, here are some of the most useful tools available.

Software

Details

Quenza Patient Engagement ToolsQuenza is a client engagement tool, treatment planning software, and mental health app rolled into one simple-to-use solution for therapists, coaches, and healthcare professionals. Designed by blended care practitioners as a way to share custom-designed interventions, the software’s Activity Builder is an easy way to quickly design personalized engagement tools and share them with clients through a HIPAA-compliant mobile app.

Using drag-and-drop tools, counselors, psychiatrists, and other providers can develop online assessments, homework, tutorials, and exercises that activate and involve their clients, before receiving all patient results as they are completed. To improve the efficacy of patient engagement campaigns, Quenza also takes care of notifications and reminders, and the smartphone apps are free for clients to download.

NameQuenza
Price$1+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Mental Health Coaches, Wellness Coaches, Counselors, Telepsychiatrists, Health Coaches
Websitehttps://quenza.com/

Software

Details

Cliniko Patient Engagement AppsCliniko is a telehealth software that integrates with MailChimp and Facebook to help you implement client engagement and outreach programs on a larger scale.

It also offers native telehealth functionality, calendar management features, and a custom form tool that can be used to create personalized documents for patients. The platform includes patient letter templates that can be personalized and sent out to patients. Cliniko also works as an EHR to store patient information securely, so can be used to segment and target patients as part of an engagement campaign.

NameCliniko
Price$45+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Mental Health Coaches, Wellness Coaches, Counselors
Websitehttps://cliniko.com/

Software

Details

Clinicsource Patient Engagement ToolsClinicSource offers specialty-specific note templates and functions for designing personalized client treatment plans. These features can be used to create patient engagement interventions, then share them via email.

The software’s library of customizable documents includes mental health templates, treatment goal templates, and ClinicSource also supports telehealth video sessions with clients. Like Cliniko, however, the platform does not offer a therapist- or client-facing app.

NameClinicSource
Price$61.95+ monthly
Good ForPractice Management, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Mental Health Coaches, Wellness Coaches, Counselors
Websitehttps://cliniko.com/

Top 2 Apps To Revolutionize Your Care

Patient engagement apps fall neatly into the “sweet spot” of low-effort methods for activating clients while targeting the three areas of informing, activating, and collaborating.

When it comes to automating the legwork of your campaign, these apps are convenient, easy-to-use, and affordable options that can help you engage clients on the go.

Software

Details

10to8 Patient Engagement AppsWith patient engagement in mind, the main value of 10 to 8 is that this practice/coaching management software can be used to run integrated email campaigns. With your own informative content, therefore, it can be a huge help in automating your engagement efforts.

10 to 8 is affordable, with free plans available, and comes with a wealth of templates like feedback forms and Client Satisfaction surveys that can be practice-branded. The app allows for client import and export so you can implement broader practice campaigns in larger organizations and allows for HIPAA-compliant communications.

Name10 to 8
PriceFree+
Good ForPractice Management, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Mental Health Coaches, Wellness Coaches, Counselors
Websitehttps://10to8.com/

Software

Details

Vcita Patient Engagement AppsVcita is a coaching and practice management app with native CRM capabilities such as customizable marketing packages and forms. While designed primarily to encourage client retention and sales, these functions can also be used to inform clients about important topics and prompt engaged behavior through outreach campaigns.

The Vcita platform also comes with client-facing apps that include Patient Portals, making it easier for users to book appointments and engage with materials shared by their therapist. Compared to some of the other apps we’ve reviewed, this offers plenty of automation capabilities (notifications, updates, reminders, etc.) but no healthcare-specific templates that you can modify to inform or psychoeducate patients.

NameVcita
Price$12+ monthly
Good ForCoaching Management, Practice Management, Mental Health Coaches, Wellness Coaches, Business Coaches, Counselors
Websitehttps://vcita.com/

Final Thoughts

When it comes to patient engagement in blended healthcare, it seems there’s a ‘sweet spot’ between feasibility and efficacy that practitioners can use to guide their search for the right tools and strategies. With a clear idea of what you’re willing to invest in for better engagement, you can spend a lot less time on the hunt for the right solution.

Have you used any of these patient engagement tools in your practice?

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To design engaging client journeys with your own solutions, start your 30-day Quenza trial for unlimited access to all of our software’s patient engagement tools.

Developed especially for e-therapists and coaches, our app will give you everything you need to craft unique, interactive treatments that increase patients engagement at your practice – for improved results and enhanced wellbeing.

References

  1. ^ Grande, S. W., Faber, M. J., Durand, M. A., Thompson, R., & Elwyn, G. (2014). A classification model of patient engagement methods and assessment of their feasibility in real-world settings. Patient Education and Counseling, 95(2), 281.
  2. ^ Wilson, S. R., Strub, P., Buist, A. S., Knowles, S. B., Lavori, P. W., Lapidus, J., & Vollmer, W. M. (2010). Shared treatment decision making improves adherence and outcomes in poorly controlled asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 181(6), 566.
  3. ^ Clever, S. L., Ford, D. E., Rubenstein, L. V., Rost, K. M., Meredith, L. S., Sherbourne, C. D., & Cooper, L. A. (2006). Primary care patients' involvement in decision-making is associated with improvement in depression. Medical Care, 398.
  4. ^ Slatore, C. G., Cecere, L. M., Reinke, L. F., Ganzini, L., Udris, E. M., Moss, B. R., & Au, D. H. (2010). Patient-clinician communication: associations with important health outcomes among veterans with COPD. Chest, 138(3), 628.
  5. ^ Zolnierek, K. B. H., & DiMatteo, M. R. (2009). Physician communication and patient adherence to treatment: a meta-analysis. Medical Care, 47(8), 826.

About the author

Catherine specializes in Organizational and Positive Psychology, helping entrepreneurs, clinical psychologists and OD specialists grow their businesses by simplifying their digital journeys.

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