Measurement is essential in baking — even for the experts. It is crucial to everyday life, too. Without hours, minutes and seconds to measure time, you would never know when exactly you were supposed to arrive somewhere or how long it took you to drive to a specific location. 

Measurement is utilized in numerous areas of healthcare, from timeliness of care and patient safety to hospital readmission rates and patient-to-staff ratio. In this blog, we are focusing on recommended measures healthcare providers can employ to gauge patient engagement. 

Patient engagement is discussed a lot these days, primarily because it is a central component of patient-centered care. And, it offers a lot of advantages for providers, including improved operational efficiency, increased reimbursement, lower costs and comprehensive population health management. By proactively engaging more patients, physicians and other clinicians can increase adherence to care plans, track key health metrics and enable patients to reach out to their doctors when they have questions or concerns. 

Now to the perks for patients. Studies have shown that engaged patients have better outcomes and lower acute care use, are three times less likely to have unmet medical needs and twice as likely to seek care in a timely manner. Such patients typically better understand their health concerns, ask questions that matter to them, know how to access their medical records and are confident in weighing their options for care. 

Recommended Resources for Patient Engagement Measurement 

Many healthcare providers develop and implement strategies and tools to achieve higher levels of engagement to not only boost their bottom line and increase operational efficiency but also improve outcomes. If patient engagement is so important, then why don’t more healthcare practices actively measure whether they’re achieving those goals? 

Some medical groups might not think they need to measure their engagement with their patients as long as their appointment schedule is full. Other healthcare practices simply may be unaware of the best practices for doing so. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of three of the top ways providers should measure and assess patient engagement: Patient Activation Measures, patient satisfaction surveys and appointment no-shows. 

1. Patient Activation Measure (PAM) 

Before going into the specifics of this patient engagement measurement, it is important to understand exactly what patient activation is: an individual’s ability to self-care, including the knowledge, skills and confidence to participate in their own healthcare journey. Evidence shows that people with higher patient activation have better health outcomes.  

Designed to measure a patient’s knowledge of and skill and confidence in managing his or her health and healthcare, the Patient Activation Measure® (PAM®) Survey uses a 13-item questionnaire. It assesses patients on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being the highest available score, and consists of four levels of activation. Level 1 patients are those with the lowest activation level, while level 4 patients have the highest level of activation. 

The PAM Survey defines patient activation through six different patient characteristics, including the ability to:

  • Self-manage illness or problems
  • Engage in activities that maintain functioning and reduce health declines
  • Be involved in treatment and diagnostic choices
  • Collaborate with providers
  • Select providers and provider organizations based on performance or quality
  • Navigate the healthcare system 

What exactly should healthcare providers do with PAM survey results? Once their patient’s activation levels are identified, they can tailor interventions that improve patient engagement in care. Such interventions, which enable patients to build skills and confidence, have been found to positively affect activation and improve outcomes of disease management. 

In addition, providers can use the results of PAM surveys to understand patient preferences and offer them the resources to adequately manage their own health. Only 16 percent of healthcare providers integrate patient feedback and preferences into clinical practices, even though 66 percent agree it’s important to do so. 

2. Patient Satisfaction Surveys 

There is not only one option for providers striving to assess patient engagement, and many of these tools also measure patient satisfaction. Here are just a few examples: 

  • Developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) group of surveys asks patients to report on the aspects of their experiences that are important to them and for which they are the best. The CAHPS® Clinician & Group Survey (CG-CAHPS) asks patients to report on their experiences with providers and staff in primary care and specialty care settings. 
  • Then there is the HCAHPS Survey, the first national, standardized and publicly reported survey of patients’ perspectives of hospital care. A study published in the Journal of American Medicine found that patients who are more satisfied based on their responses to the HCAHPS Survey are less likely to visit emergency departments but are more likely to become inpatients and have higher healthcare costs and increased mortality rates.  
  • Another recommended method for measuring patient engagement and satisfaction is through digital surveys. Employed to measure access to and quality of care, medication adherence and gaps in care, provider advantages of digital patient satisfaction surveys include real-time feedback, a higher response rate, improvement efficiencies and the capability for customization. 

3. Patient No-Shows 

For healthcare providers, patient no-shows and cancellations are part of the business. However, more than half of physician practices reported that their no-show rate has increased over the past couple of years. 

Patients mostly commonly miss appointments because they:

  • Did not get an appointment confirmation
  • Do not feel connected to the physician or staff
  • Booked their appointment far in advance
  • Are confused about the need for the appointment
  • Have personal issues preventing them from showing up 

Not only do patient no-shows consume an average of 14 percent of a practice’s daily revenue, but they also cost the healthcare industry $150 billion annually. When healthcare providers actively strategize to minimize them, they have the potential to reduce them by up to 70 percent

By using automated appointment reminders to promote patient engagement and reduce no-shows, providers can reduce revenue leakage and promote better closure rates for referrals. Used along with automated calls and emails, HIPAA-compliant SMS text messages can reduce no-show rates by up to 50 percent. 

The best digital health tools enable providers to promote patient interaction and engagement without taking more time out of their daily workflow. At Providertech, our HIPAA-compliant two-way text messaging solution gives providers and patients the ability to securely converse for appointment reminders, patient outreach, population health and more. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more!