The “Blockbuster Drug of the Century,” is all natural, has no negative side effects and is not the least bit new. However, it’s getting more and more attention. It’s nothing as sexy as a cure for cancer.
This drug isn’t a drug at all- it’s patient engagement. Studies have shown that patients who are engaged in their care have better outcomes and incur less healthcare costs.
Unfortunately, we’re still having difficulties engaging patients. Part of the issue could be that most practicing clinicians don’t receive formal training to communicate effectively. Additionally, patients with limited health literacy are less likely to speak up and engage in their care.
In patient engagement, we’ve found a tool that costs nothing and saves lives, and most of its implementation centers around communication. While it may feel like it takes longer to slow down and communicate effectively, it can help keep patients out of the hospital and save you time in the form of less follow-up calls and visits. While overall, increased patient engagement will likely come over time with a culture shift from patients and clinicians, we can start by employing a few communication techniques to start:
- Use simple language
- Use the teach-back method to check for understanding
- Focus in the most important information
These three things can go a long way to blockbuster results.