Patient engagement and patient experience are essential factors in providing high-quality patient care, and understanding their definitions and differences will help you develop effective strategies for accomplishing your practice goals.
This article compares patient engagement vs. patient experience to show how you can measure and improve both, leading to more satisfied and engaged patients. By enhancing these two critical factors in your practice, you can provide more effective, patient-centered care.
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What Is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is when patients take an active role in their treatment plan, meaning they openly communicate with their healthcare providers and make an effort to improve their health. As a healthcare provider, you have a responsibility to ensure that patients understand their conditions and the suggested treatments so they can make informed decisions.
Effective communication, such as offering support, listening to patient feedback, and checking treatment progress, helps engage patients and leads to better results. Patient engagement is also a crucial factor in creating a positive patient experience, which improves patient retention and quality of care. A great predictor of patient loyalty is the level to which they are engaged with your office.
Successful patient engagement requires work from both sides. The healthcare team should communicate clearly and personally, provide information and resources, and ensure that the patient is actively participating in the treatment and management of their condition. On the other hand, the patient must be willing to listen, ask questions, and follow instructions.
Examples of Patient Engagement
A healthcare provider who wants to improve patient engagement might focus on the following aspects of patient care:
- Developing individualized treatment plans
- Getting to know patients to understand their wants, expectations, conditions, and needs
- Providing patient education
- Closely monitoring treatments and setting expectations
- Consistently communicating with patients clearly and personally
What Is Patient Experience?
Patient experience involves the interactions a patient has throughout each step of the treatment process, from making an appointment to having conversations with their healthcare provider. The quality of the patient journey is closely connected to patient safety and health outcomes, making the patient experience one of the most critical factors to the success of your practice.
A patient who has an overall positive experience with your clinic will be less anxious and more willing to communicate and likewise listen to treatment and recovery instructions, leading to better outcomes. They will also be more likely to leave a glowing review or refer your practice to friends and family. Patient experience is more than how you communicate with patients, it is the overall experience, the feelings you create for the patient from the waiting room to the actual treatment.
Examples of Patient Experience
The patient experience encompasses all aspects of a patient’s interactions with your practice, including:
- Waiting room experience and wait times
- Payments and billing process
- Quality of patient care
- Treatment results
- Staff interactions both in and out of office.
- Office ambiance, cleanliness, experience
Differences Between Patient Engagement and Patient Experience
While patient engagement and patient experience often go hand in hand, you’ll find out that these terms have many differences. Knowing how engagement and experience differ will help you form better strategies to improve them at your practice.
The following are the main differences between patient engagement and patient experience:
The objective of improving patient experience is to enhance the patient’s journey through the health system, providing a positive interaction every step of the way. Patient experience determines how people feel in your office and how they view your practice, including your staff, and quality of care. Dr. Cynthia K. Brattesani uses Weave to improve the patient experience, and had this to say:
People don’t always know how great of a clinician you are, but they remember their experience. We want patients to feel better about themselves when they leave the practice. Having any system, like Weave, allows us to connect better and engage with the patients we love.
Dr. Cynthia K Brattesani | Cynthia K Brattesani Inc.
To read more about Dr. Brattensani’s experience, check out our case study here.
If you want to attract new patients, get more positive reviews, or increase patient loyalty, you’ll be forming goals based on patient experience.
Patient engagement goals have less to do with the practice as a whole and more to do with the outcomes of the patient’s health care. Examples of these engagement-related objectives include improving patient communication, increasing treatment success rate, and getting more patients to adopt healthier habits.
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Focus and Scope
While the scope of patient engagement primarily covers healthcare providers, patients, and management of the healthcare organization, patient experience concerns the practice from top to bottom. Patient experience initiatives can affect waiting room times, appointment booking, and customer service.
Patient engagement focuses more on the relationships between patients and their healthcare team, meaning it has a narrower scope than patient experience. When trying to create a meaningful patient engagement solution, you might change aspects of your clinic like improving patient health literacy, hiring health IT professionals, or introducing better tools for remote patient monitoring.
Timing and Duration
When measuring the patient engagement of a single patient, you’ll start with their first appointment and end with the conclusion of their treatment plan. You’ll evaluate how active the patient was during their appointments and treatments, noting whether they show understanding of their condition or only do the bare minimum to get better.
In contrast, analyzing a single patient’s experience starts with their first contact with your clinic, which could be an internet search result. You’ll track each interaction, including communication with administrative and medical staff, the insurance claim process, and payments.
Examples of strategies to improve patient experience include:
- Enhancing staff communication
- Offering flexible payments
- Providing digital forms through a patient portal
- Creating personal patient experiences
- Enhancements to the waiting room and between-appointment interactions
A patient engagement strategy might look like the following:
- Optimizing in-office patient communication (face-to-face) opportunities
- Directing patients to learning resources
- Improving patient access to medical information
- Personal follow-up with patients after appointments
Both types of strategies can improve patient experience, but enhancing patient engagement requires a more focused approach. The strategies you use to increase engagement will primarily involve the patient, the healthcare team, and the overall care plan. You’ll be focusing on communication, health research, or treatment progress.
Factors for Measuring Success
Patient experience and engagement also differ in how you measure the success of each. Indicators of an engaged patient include changes in lifestyle like diet and exercise, frequent communication, and patient activation.
When measuring the quality of your clinic’s patient experience, you’ll look for signs of patient satisfaction, like five-star reviews on Google, rising patient numbers, and more on-time payments. You’ll also measure the increase in testimonials and patient referrals.
Importance of Patient Engagement and Patient Experience in Healthcare
Optimizing both patient engagement and patient experience improves outcomes of patient care. While patient satisfaction leads to less anxiety and discomfort, engagement helps patients understand their conditions and feel more confident about managing them. Focusing on accomplishing these goals leads to the following benefits:
- Better health care results
- Increased patient loyalty
- Improved patient satisfaction
- Improved team morale
If all medical practices did their best to reach optimal levels of patient engagement and patient experience, the healthcare industry could get closer to achieving health equity, which is when all patients receive equal care. The closer healthcare providers can get to attaining this goal, the better overall population health will be.
An Example of Successful Patient Engagement and Experience
Weave offers state-of-the-art business communication tools that help businesses in the healthcare industry improve patient experience and engagement. We provide simple, convenient solutions for patient communication, appointment reminders, scheduling, payments, and other processes. Put simply, Weave helps save your team time and resources, so you can spend more time with patients and enhance the experience.
A case study on Dr. Ankur Gupta provides an excellent example of how technology can enhance your practice’s patient experience. After implementing Weave, Dr. Gupta and his staff connected with patients more easily and saved hours of work by using the patient engagement platform. This freed up time for his office to do what they do best, building personal relationships and engaging experiences with patients, like throwing a luau for a patient that missed a vacation due to illness.
Another customer, Dr. Brattesani, mentioned that Weave “declutters everything,” which allowed her and her team to effortlessly engage with their patients and access information faster. Weave’s Pop feature improved patient interactions by providing a detailed profile on the screen whenever a patient calls, allowing the staff to answer the call prepared to address the patient and their concerns.
Get Weave For Happier Patients and Better Health Outcomes
Now that you know the differences between patient engagement vs. patient experience, you can begin bettering your practice. At Weave, we provide an easy-to-use platform for accomplishing everyday tasks – and automating the tedious ones – at your health clinic. Weave helps your office in making calls, sending reminders, processing payments, and so much more.
To see how you can provide an exceptional patient experience, try the Weave demo.