Patient engagement continues to be a hot topic throughout the healthcare industry, especially as technology increases the ways individuals can communicate with their providers. According to research, almost half of patients in the United States use technology for this reason. 

Increasing patient engagement is important for improved outcomes, as research has linked higher levels of it to the greater use of preventive care, less smoking and obesity, more positive rankings of relationships with providers, less delay in seeking care, greater awareness of treatment guidelines, improved clinical indicators and a reduced number of hospital and emergency visits and lower hospital readmission rates. Conversely, it’s been found that patients barely engaged in their healthcare experienced costs 21 percent higher than those heavily involved. 

Healthcare providers play an essential role in promoting patient engagement. More than half of healthcare consumers have said that a trusted healthcare professional could motivate them to adopt patient engagement technologies, thereby helping them to take a more active role in their own health. Most want their provider(s) to send automated communications, such as automated text messages, emails or voice call reminders, to encourage patients to take specific actions, such as scheduling appointments for important screenings like mammograms or other preventative care.

Some providers are using a new strategy for patient engagement by incorporating ideas from the field of behavioral economics. Harvard Business Review defines behavioral economics as a field that combines insights from psychology, judgment and decision-making and economics to generate a more accurate understanding of human behavior. It explains why individuals may make irrational choices by demonstrating how their decision-making is influenced by biases, heightened emotions, faulty heuristics, mental fatigue, loss aversion, choice overload, perceived social norms, situational framing and context. 

Applying insights and principles from behavioral economics has the potential to increase and improve patient engagement for healthcare providers of all sizes. Our infographic gives an overview of behavioral economics concepts for healthcare along with specific ways providers can utilize them to help their patients make healthy decisions. Also, check out one of our previous blogs on how automated appointment reminders help drive patient engagement.