An entrepreneur’s guide to patient engagement software

Dileep Gupta September 21, 2022

If there is one industry that has always been slow to digitalization but was forced into it on a global scale, it’s healthcare. However, although a terrible blessing in disguise, the patients, around the globe, are benefitting massively from the movement. Especially, after patients demanding technology for provider communication for decades now.  

This technology-led digitalization that the healthcare is now operating under has done wonders to the patient engagement software market. What was once $19.46 billion in 2021, is now expected to reach $102.46 billion by the time we hit 2030. 

The concept of patient engagement platforms is opposed to what once used to be a conventional system where the doctors used to prescribe a treatment and patients either accepted them or ignored the suggestion, leading to 3 out of 10 patients feeling dissatisfied. Nowadays, using the patient engagement system, doctors are able to reach their patients in real-time, foresee deterioration in their conditions, and give them the right guidance in time. 

This rise in the digital patient engagement platforms has also been an after-effect of the costs of not having one in place. 

The cost of not having patient engagement technologies in place

Unthought patient engagement approaches can have a negative impact on the healthcare sector and so will be in cases where you don’t have one at all. Let us look at some consequences of not having patient engagement programs. 

Lowered patient flows

Today’s consumers expect businesses to predict their wants and customize their offerings accordingly, which leads to the patients expecting the same level of experience from their healthcare providers. And when the provider fails to offer it, they move to a healthcare clinic that would, thus leading to lowered patient flow for the former. The secret to maintaining the patient flow lies in meeting the needs of the 60% patients who demand technology in their providers’ communication. 

Less preferable patient outcomes

Adults who don’t engage with their healthcare providers are less likely to follow the treatments. According to recent studies, more than 30% of the medical prescriptions never get filled and over 50% of the patients having chronic diseases are unable to follow the prescribed medications – something that can lead to dire consequences. 

Increasing medical expenses

The absence of patients’ involvement in their health can have an impact on their healthcare costs. With no digital patient engagement platform in place, people tend to avoid regular checkups and miss on the early signs of medical issues until it’s too late – something that then leads to an expensive treatment when the issue gets bigger. 

In a situation like this where the importance of patient engagement in healthcare starts impacting the cost of healthcare, the medical industry’s stakeholders are forced to look into the benefits of the patient engagement system for hospitals and patients alike.

The benefits of patient engagement in healthcare

The answer to what is patient engagement in healthcare is similar to what is customer engagement in other businesses. It includes different processes, tools, and technologies that help healthcare providers come to informed decisions. Let us dive into the multi-factored benefits of patient engagement techniques.

Benefits of patient engagement technology for healthcare systems

  • Better patient outcome – With proper patient engagement software in place, patients are able to collaborate and communicate effectively with their healthcare service providers, leading to better quality health and wellbeing.
  • Increased revenue – With the right strategies for patient engagement in place, patients are able to get regular medical tests, consult with doctors more often, and diagnose issues at earlier stages. All of this together leads to higher business revenue.
  • Better patient retention rate – The best patient engagement software comes with features that make it easy for patients to keep track of medical data, connect with providers in real-time, and be better involved. Features that make patient retention easier.
  • Guaranteed compliance with healthcare regulations – Patient engagement platforms for primary care offices are designed according to global regulatory healthcare compliances in mind, making them fit for operations across the world. 

Benefits of patient engagement apps for patients

  • Lowered emergency case visits – When patients work closely with their healthcare provider, they are proactive in catching the red flags well within time, thus lowering the emergency room visits.
  • Lesser healthcare expenses – Patient engagement strategies are built to make it easy for patients to connect with doctors when they are at the onset of catching a disease. This leads to lesser healthcare expenses in the future.
  • Greater inclusion in medical decisions – By taking a driving seat in tracking their health and connecting with doctors, patients are able to involve themselves better in their medical journey.
  • 24*7 access to doctors – Healthcare patient engagement makes it extremely easy for patients to connect with their doctors 24*7. 

Now that we have established the benefits of patient engagement platforms in the healthcare domain, it’s important to note that for the patient engagement system to achieve these benefits, it will need to have an advanced set of features in place. 

The must-have features of patient experience software

A robust patient engagement software is made up of features that doesn’t just make healthcare accessible for the patients and doctors but also connects them seamlessly. Here are some of the most commonly found features of a patient engagement solution. 

Digital patient intake forms

In the modern-day patient portal, the option for patients to fill out the registration process digitally is seen as a must-have one. This feature will not just eliminate the need to have in-office registration on paper and clipboard but also lower the patient wait time to a great extent. 

Speaking of which, you might also want to explore how ERP solutions streamline healthcare operations.

Upload medical history

One of the biggest benefits of patient engagement software is that they come with an EHR feature where patients can upload their medical history and share them securely with their healthcare providers. This, in turn, makes it easy for the healthcare providers to make an informed decision. 

Digital payments 

Adding online payment modes in the patient portal makes it easy for the patients to make payments in real-time, while for the hospital admin to maintain records on a secure platform. 

Appointment reminders

According to Healthcare Finance News, missed appointments have cost the US healthcare ecosystem over $150 billion on a y-o-y mode. When you invest in patient engagement platforms, doctors are able to send reminders through email, text, phone thus increasing the chances of patients making it to their appointments.

Automated lab test reports 

The digital patient engagement platforms come with the feasibility of sending automated lab test reports to the patients, saving the time it takes for the patients to follow up with the clinics. 

Also Read: How healthcare automation is revolutionizing the sector 

Health record viewing 

Patient and doctor portals should have the feature where they are able to view the medical records, share them securely with other medical practitioners, and use them for making health claims. 

Secure communication 

The key to successful patient engagement apps lies in the ease of communication they offer. The software you invest in should have the facility of making it secure, easy for patients to connect with the right patient engagement specialists through multiple modes like call, video call, and text. 

These features, when added with the best technologies, make up innovative digital patient engagement platforms that have a far-reaching impact on the entire healthcare ecosystem. 

The best patient engagement technologies

Engineering software that expands the reach of patient engagement in healthcare is something that requires a combination of multiple in-trend technologies. While it can be difficult to keep a track on them on an individual level, when you partner with a healthcare software development services provider, the process of building patient engagement programs becomes easier. 

Here is the tech stack that we typically follow when we build a digital patient engagement platform. 

Now that we have looked into what goes into the backend of patient engagement technologies, let’s get down to the one thing which would decide the future of your software. 

[Bonus Read: How much does it cost to develop a hospital management system?]

Types of patient engagement system for hospitals

When you decide to enter the healthcare patient engagement market, you will typically have three options to choose from – off the shelf, content management system, and fully customized solutions. 

Off-the-shelf patient engagement software

There are a number of software offering patient engagement in healthcare. The hospitals can select from multiple pricing models and feature sets. On the monetization front, some software offer pre-decided features and subscriptions, while others give them the freedom to choose the features they need. 

The subscriptions typically vary from $19/month for basic feature sets to anywhere around $499/month for complex solutions. Moreover, you should add in support, licensing, and customization to the price point. 

Best suited for medical practices that:

  • Small sized team with maximum 10 doctors
  • Have restricted initial funds
  • Work around internal processes which can be used and integrated with modern solutions. 
  • Aims to use the patient engagement system as a stand-alone software without adding them with other applications. 

Content management system 

These software are typically custom built on existing CMS platforms like WordPress or Wix. They enable you to create platforms with functionalities like patient registration, doctors appointment scheduling, patient-provider communications, and EMR/EHR integration

These platforms tend to look like a cost-effective solution, however the monthly plans rarely cover maintenance, third-party plugins, and extensions. 

All in all, the price of building a CMS-based patient engagement software can be anywhere between $40k-$50k for software with the basic functionalities like appointment scheduling, digital payments, and safe patient-provider communication.

Best suited for healthcare firms that:

  • Need a quick, short-term solution 
  • Have no plans of expansion

Custom-built patient engagement solutions

These software are engineered specifically for your healthcare organization, keeping your needs and internal processes in the center focus. Using this approach, you will be able to personalize the software without any impact on your ongoing processes. 

Additionally, as opposed to the CMS-based solutions, these are built from scratch, thus giving you the freedom to add technologies like Blockchain, AI, IoT, etc. in the software. All you need to do is work with specialized patient engagement software companies like Appinventiv and engineer the process, while integrating them with the right third-party systems.

Usually, the price of a custom-built patient engagement system begins from $50k with functionalities like – patient feedback, appointment scheduling, payment, chatbot powered with third-party services and analytics.

Best suited for medical organizations that:

  • Provide a wide range of services
  • Plan on expanding the services
  • Are able to arrange initial funds
  • Have workflows which are not easy to adopt
  • Need to add the patient engagement software in their current systems

Now irrespective of which approach gives you the best patient engagement software, the outcome of it would rely on the returns it is able to generate. Let us look into the ways you can measure the ROI of your software as we conclude the article. 

How to measure the patient engagement software ROI?

There are a number of approaches which can help you identify if you are getting any value from the patient engagement solution you have invested in. The majority of them would start with knowing the KPIs which you would need to measure them against. 

  • Patient no-shows
  • Appointment vacancies
  • Total number of appointments
  • Patient payments
  • Patient time waits
  • Portal utilization 
  • Ease of reporting for PCMH, MIPS, and other initiatives

Parting notes – How can Appinventiv be your partner in success?

The importance of patient engagement in healthcare has grown over at a lightning speed, especially with patients taking the driving seat in medical decisions and demanding digital access. These software, when built correctly, consists of third-party integrations, covers multiple patient touchpoints, high scalability, security and the regulatory compliances needed to deliver the best industry-wide results. 

At Appinventiv, we have helped a number of medical practitioners answer why patient engagement is important with solutions that are innovative, scalable, and highly accessible. 

For example, we worked on an in-hospital patient engagement software for YouCOMM where the patients who were admitted in a room could work on a fully customizable patient messaging system that notified the floor staff of their needs via a dashboard. The dashboard has multiple ways for them to connect with the staff, such as – manual selection of options, voice commands, and use of head gestures. 

The result of our patient engagement software was such that 5+ hospital chains installed the YouCOMM solution, there was a 60% growth in nurses’ response time. 

Get in touch with us today to set up your patient engagement system.

Dileep Gupta
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