Over half of the world’s population lost faith in the healthcare system as a result of the pandemic. This has resulted in fewer people listening to the professionals, in addition to a dramatic decline in interest when it comes to proactive self-care. With 60% of global healthcare systems already overstretched, something clearly has to give if we are to avoid further pressures caused by late diagnoses and low treatment adherence.

Patient engagement is all about an individual’s active desire to participate, whether this means working alongside healthcare professionals to get the most out of the treatment available or making a conscious effort to become better informed. Indeed, education and learning, form a core aspect of patient engagement, as the more someone understands their condition, the more likely they are to follow their physician’s advice and endeavour to improve their own health.

Essentially, it’s a question of converting what once was regarded as a unilateral doctor-patient relationship into a collaborative effort that will improve outcomes for everyone involved, thus boosting patient satisfaction whilst alleviating the burdens that healthcare providers, policy makers and product manufacturers currently face.

The benefits of patient engagement in healthcare

Engaged patients are better able to make informed decisions about their care options. This allows doctors and healthcare providers to extend a wider range of potential treatments to them, be it in the form of drugs, software as a medical device (SAMD) or alternative therapies.

The more choice patients have, the more involved they will feel in the process, ultimately resulting in greater satisfaction and improved patient loyalty. This is particularly the case when patients are motivated to take mutual responsibility for their care, understanding and accepting what’s feasibly possible and committing to both self-care and their prescribed treatment for more positive results.

The benefits of patient engagement in research

The Milken Institute describes patient engagement as “a priority in the biomedical research ecosystem” – and for good reason. Patients have much better insight into what it’s actually like living with a condition. As such, they have unprecedented power when it comes to guiding pharmaceutical research. Whether you’re looking to improve your study design and delivery or want to achieve better patient retention and protocol adherence, engaged patients have a lot to bring to the table.

The four key measures of patient engagement

The patient activation measure (PAM) is one of the most common methods for measuring patient engagement. Designed to determine the likelihood of a patient engaging with a healthy behaviour, this 100-point scale helps healthcare practitioners and pharmaceutical professionals alike to anticipate adherence to medication.

The categories used in PAM can broken down into four key measures:

  1. The extent to which the patient believes their involvement is important.
  2. The patient’s confidence in their ability to take action.
  3. The patient’s proactivity when it comes to maintaining and improving their health.
  4. The likelihood of the patient staying the course, even when suffering from stress.

As clearly demonstrated, the ability to collaborate and self-manage conditions is incredibly significant, as is the patient’s ability to navigate the healthcare system smoothly. So, what can be done to improve this?

The key to successful patient engagement

The first step in any successful patient engagement journey is to create an effective plan. Set clear goals and make sure to involve all stakeholders, from company directors and investors to doctors, nurses, treatment providers and the patients themselves. It’s important that everyone feels excited and involved if the solutions you implement are going to take off.

The future of patient engagement

Nowadays, people expect more responsive, transparent healthcare systems, run by practitioners who involve them in the decision-making process. However, with limited face-to-face appointment time – which often comes at high cost – healthcare organisations are now looking for new ways to engage with their patients.

Healthcare apps are perhaps the most valuable solution. They allow practitioners to communicate with patients on a more regular basis, ensuring that no medical appointments or medications are missed via frequent, automated, personalised reminders. Patients will also be able to schedule sessions more easily and will be less likely to fall victim to the wealth of information readily available on the internet if they can find everything they need in one, convenient place.

A win-win in terms of education – which serves to manage expectations for improved patient satisfaction, whilst guaranteeing higher treatment adherence rates. Of course, gamification and daily reminders go a long way in ensuring patients continue to use these systems, with any data collected serving to fuel future improvements in both healthcare and R&D.

How blueBriX can help

If you feel a digital patient platform is right for you, you will need to find a technology provider to help you reach your goals. Make sure you know exactly what you’re investing in and why, before empowering patients with the tools they need for engagement.

The blueBriX low-code/no-code platform is one of the simplest and most effective ways of bringing such solutions to market – delivering regulated applications for Pharma that enhance patient support and remote patient monitoring, while enabling healthcare providers to launch digital-first care pathways that deliver better treatment experiences and health outcomes.

Interested in finding out more? Schedule a demo with blueBriX to start your digital journey today.