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Patient Engagement Aims To Improve Health Outcome, Lower Cost
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Boosting patient engagement has become a top priority in today’s healthcare world. The trend toward empowering patients, partnering with them in their care, and motivating them to comply with treatment protocols continues to grow.

In a 2015 article, “Personalized Strategies to Activate and Empower Patients in Health Care and Reduce Health Disparities,” Dr. Chen and colleagues describe why developing personalized strategies to engage and empower patients has become the top priority for providers, payers, manufacturers and policy makers.

Patient engagement in health care has been considered as a ‘blockbuster drug of the century’ (Kish, 2012), with the potential to achieve the ‘triple aim’ of improved health outcomes, better patient care, and lower costs (Berwick, Nolan, & Whittington, 2008).

Innovations in mobile apps offer new and diverse ways to add value to products, and most importantly, improve drug and/or device therapy compliance.

In this article from MedCity News, Stephanie Baum reports that companies are turning their attention to digital health as a means to empower patients to take better control of their behavior and subsequently improve health outcomes. As she explains, this is part of pharmaceutical companies “beyond the pill” trend:

The apps are frequently designed to improve health literacy and motivate patients to take their medication to improve adherence, especially around chronic conditions. In addition to helping people better manage their conditions, the big goal is taking a slice of the $290 billion medication non adherence costs… Patients that get sicker from not taking their drugs as prescribed just add more costs onto the system.

Patient Empowerment – #1 Trend in Pharmaceutical Marketing

As pharma companies continue to explore ways to engage patients in their own care, behavior-change apps provide a method to keep them educated, motivated and on course. In the post “Top 7 Trends in Pharma Marketing for 2015,” Blue Latitude reports:

For patient empowerment, the technological capability of a solution doesn’t determine adoption, engagement and retention, the patient has control over that, which is why they need to be motivated to change.

Behavior change through patient empowerment is no mean feat. It will require a patient centric, multi-channel approach that brings healthcare professionals, patients, careers, relatives and payers all together…

We expect the next wave of digital health tools developed in 2015, and beyond, will rectify the current unmet patient needs and focus on the content to be received and the context in which it is to be provided to ensure that the need is met.”

Treatment adherence

Taking medications exactly when a patient needs them is vital, but sometimes patients forget.

Author Tomas Philipson explains:

Improving adherence to prescribed medical treatments remains an almost universally agreed-upon challenge in health care. ..Improving treatment adherence through both private and public interventions has been identified as a crucial step toward improving health outcomes and lowering health care costs. 

Patient engagement aims to motivate and empower. 

Given the importance of patient engagement, it’s no wonder that pharmaceutical and medical device companies have moved quickly to produce apps and programs that motivate and empower patients to take control of their health.

Mobile apps that are focused on behavior change offer a wide range of capabilities including but not limited to:

  • Custom goal and objective setting and management
  • Reminders with alarms critical for treatment adherence
  • Text, email, photo/video sharing for communicating with providers, family and friends.
  • Social media connectivity for support or continued motivation.

Patient engagements apps can play a vital role in successfully keeping patients motivated and mindful of their goals 24/7 so they can remain healthy and avoid preventable conditions.

So the next time you notice someone is trying to engage you to take better care of yourself, don’t resist, be open to change! Be willing to try an app or program designed to help you what is difficult to do alone i.e. staying motivated to make your health and wellness a priority.

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