From ensuring treatment adherence to improving clinical outcomes, patent engagement is a key success factor for healthcare systems around the world. Indeed, some would argue that engaged patients are the future of healthcare, with Susan Dentzer – President and Chief Executive Officer of America’s Physician Group – arguing that patient engagement is the “blockbuster drug of the century”.

In addition to feeling more satisfied and less likely to complain, the interest that engaged patients take in their own healthcare tends to mean they are more receptive to realistic treatment outcomes. This opens up more options for care, particularly in cases where there is an initiative to learn.

When people are willing to play a more active role in their own overall wellbeing, it’s more likely that they will adhere to care plans and medication, thus boosting the likelihood of recovery – or at least reducing the frequency of flareups.

Of course, more regular adherence to a specific treatment also serves to benefit pharma, since the data collected will be better indicative of the drug’s true outcomes. With so much to gain for patients, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies alike, it’s important to encourage true patient engagement. The following six tips have been proven to help across multiple settings, especially when combined with technological innovation.

Clear, consistent communication:

The primary key to engaging patients is presenting new information to them in an accessible, digestible way. When things are communicated clearly, patients will be able to interact with healthcare professionals as part of a meaningful conversation, rather than feeling the interaction only works one way – which can leave them feeling powerless. Bilateral communication, based on mutual respect – and listening to what one another has to say – is essential.

The more a patient feels heard, the more they will develop a sense of shared accountability for their health and wellbeing, thus boosting treatment outcomes and promoting a more preventative approach to dealing with symptoms.

Shared decision making:

It’s also imperative to encourage shared decision making between healthcare professionals and patients. Empower people to make their own informed choices and they will feel much more satisfied and involved with their care as a whole. This ultimately translates to better adherence, receptivity and accountability beyond the treatment room.

Education is key to achieving this, be it through traditional informational formats like leaflets and web links or via a personalised healthcare app. Search engines like Google have made it incredibly easy for patients to research their conditions and potential treatments on their own, often leading to medical misinformation. Rather than feeling frustrated with this process, healthcare professionals should regard this as a sign of interest, pointing their patients towards more reliable sources of information.

Patient feedback:

When it comes to boosting patient engagement, no one can make more of an impact than your patients themselves. As one New Zealand study shows, the more you are able to understand your patients’ experience, the more you are able to respond to their genuine needs, ultimately providing greater levels of patient satisfaction. This, in turn, will boost trust in the system, thereby ensuring that customers remain willing to interact efficiently with the professionals charged with treating them.

App-based surveys and digital health monitoring devices are a fast and effective way to gather and process a wide wealth of information, particularly when enhanced with AI, which can process large volumes of data much more efficiently than humans can.

Faster response times:

In today’s digital age, where most other problems can be resolved at the touch of a button, patients have come to expect instant, agile service that fits in with their lives. Unfortunately, however, healthcare systems typically involve hours of waiting, be it in reception rooms and on long lists or frustratingly being placed on hold each time you call for an appointment.

Digital innovation can help with this. For instance, if your healthcare facility were to have its own app, patients could make their bookings instantly, rather than having to compete for a response over the phone. They could even interact with sophisticated chatbots powered by clinician-level AI, for accurate medical advice while they wait. Similarly, apps could be used to provide guidance on waiting room times, whilst other AI-enhanced digital health tools could be used to improve the speed of diagnosis. One example of this is the DeepMind system being able to identify various optical diseases in record time with impressive accuracy.  It’s not a replacement for face-for-face care, but it does mean that patients will get seen and diagnosed quicker, ultimately improving engagement outcomes.

Generative AI solutions:

The average doctor spends 16.6% of their working week dealing with administration. However, if repetitive tasks like scheduling appointments could be outsourced to intelligent, automated systems, they would have more time to spend engaging with patients and providing treatment solutions face to face.

Indeed, generative AI solutions like chatbots allow doctors to communicate with large numbers of patients quickly, ensuring that nobody gets missed off that all-important list and making sure that the right patients are always connected with the right message at the right time. Tools like MedPaLM 2 can also be used for rapid answers to common health questions, helping to reduce the strain on nurses and doctors, who often suffer from burnout. The benefits of AI in healthcare extend to pharma too, since tools can be used to gather large datasets for clinical and post-launch, beyond-the-pill research, without the need for in-person touchpoints with the patient.

Beyond-the-pill care:

The most engaged patients are those that receive high-quality aftercare. Rather than terminating treatment at initial consultation or the prescription of medication, healthcare providers should follow up and ensure that patients are still happy to stick to their treatment and follow their care plan. This advice proves particularly important when it comes to mitigating treatment drop-off in patients with chronic conditions.

Boosting engagement with digital tools

Healthcare Professionals are notoriously pushed for time, with overburdened and outdated legacy systems struggling to keep up with demand. When used correctly, digital tools can be used to ease this burden, making it possible to automate all kinds of processes, from prescriptions to checkups. For instance, doctors might issue verbal recordings of a patient’s consultation to save time writing up, whilst ensuring that no instructions are missed. Likewise, they might choose to encourage regular treatment adherence through automated messaging, sent via phone or app.

Rather than dehumanising the medical profession, supplementing existing care with digital solutions should serve to enhance the level of in-person care provided, as Doctors will have more time to focus on the patient during their consultations and patients will still have access to reliable care between appointments. Digital healthcare tools could even be used to allow healthcare professionals to respond to non-traditional patient needs like food or housing, thereby responding to illness factors that may otherwise be overlooked and continue to cause medical complications.


Ultimately, technology can play a pivotal role in improving patient engagement, perhaps explaining the wide range of digital health development options currently available for use. Whilst options like custom development can prove both costly and time-consuming, other options like low-code/no-code platforms allow you to easily launch digital-first care pathways that deliver better treatment experiences and health outcomes – all with an unrivalled speed to market.

Interested in finding out more? blueBriX is underpinned by the World’s largest library of configured and compliant health tech components, modules and APIs and has been developed to enable pharma, healthcare providers, and developers to optimize patient care and improve health outcomes.

Contact a member of team today to book a demo.