Patient interacting with doctor using telehealth solution

Getting the Patient Perspective on Patient Engagement Technology

Historically, the patient engagement space has been largely driven by provider needs and investments. Where healthcare organizations are using patient engagement technology, those needs have been largely aligned with financial incentives. For example, post-visit satisfaction surveys have monetary benefits attached to them for moving the needle in providing quality care.

KLAS’ goal in asking for patient feedback was to find out what the patients generally wanted regarding healthcare technology. We wanted to understand what types of technology were impactful for them and where they would like to see more technology developed. This research was done in conjunction with our Patient Engagement Summit last year; we collected the data around the same time in order to add the patient’s voice to the summit discussion. In looking at the data, we decided that it was intriguing enough to create the Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2020 report.

For Providers and Vendors

Both providers and vendors can use the information in the report to improve their strategies in patient engagement. Vendors can use it to foresee where patients want technology in the future. Those vendors can then start to develop solutions that cater toward patient desires.

Providers can take similar action; they can start investing in technologies that will make a difference and improve the experience of the patient. By doing so, healthcare organizations can further ensure that they have the tools that will engage their patients properly.

A One-Stop Shop

Looking at the data, one of the big things that patients really want is a one-stop shop. They want a single place where they can go see their records and their family members' records, especially if they're a caregiver to a family member. Patients also want to be able to easily act on the data; they want to refill their prescriptions, schedule new appointments, and pay their bills all in the same location. Historically, the patient portal promised to deliver this functionality. But, as many are aware, the portal hasn't been as impactful for improving patient care as the industry had hoped.

We were surprised, however, to see how impactful the patient portal is today from the patient perspective. When we asked what the most impactful technology in working with their provider was, over half of the surveyed patients mentioned the portal. In large part, that may be because that's been their only touch point with a vendor or provider. When patients have optimism for the future, they see the vision of the one-stop shop that the portal originally promised.

The Impact of the Patient/Provider Relationship

We also looked at what happens depending on the type of relationship that patients have with their providers. When you look at the desires of the two ends of the spectrum, the collaborative relationship versus the detached relationship, even the way that providers and patients talk about technology is very different.

helpfulness of technology in supporting patient/provider interactions

Those patients with a collaborative relationship say that technology is more helpful, but they point to technology like the patient portal that gives them the ability to message their healthcare provider for ongoing help. Those with a detached relationship care more about a point-in-time need for healthcare. In terms of things that help patients make good decisions and get the care they need, the technology that these patients are more excited about include telehealth, online bill pay, finding a provider, and scheduling an appointment. On top of that, patients also want price transparency tools that allow them to see what it will cost to go with a certain provider. These two reactions represent very different touchpoints with providers.

Future Strategy

KLAS feels it is very important to include the patient in future patient engagement research. While we feel that a patient could not normally fairly rate a vendor in the traditional methods used by KLAS, they can still share a critical perspective to help providers and vendors align to the patients’ needs.

We are potentially looking at an approach where we gather the patient voice by provider and help providers better meet the needs of their patients. Patient feedback could then be compared and benchmarked against products used, by provider organization, or even by roles and departments.  We're looking at potentially partnering with some healthcare organizations that want to get an early start on that approach. Any interested party can contact KLAS at patientengagement@klasresearch.com. We don't know exactly what the future holds, but we certainly want to keep a focus on the patients and amplify their voices where we can.

For more details about what we learned from patients, please read the full report.




     Photo credit: Adobe Stock, rh2010