Saliglasa Direct Primary Care

Patient Engagement: what is it, why is it important?

First let us say what patient engagement is not. Patient engagement is not the pejorative phrase sometimes used in healthcare “patient compliance”, nor is it, its better phrased term “patient adherence” . Patient engagement is the process whereby patients are actively working with their health care providers to improve their health outcome. This process requires health system readiness to engage patients and patients who feel empowered to be engaged. Currently, we have a problem on both fronts in healthcare.

When there is a gap in communication (for multiple patient and provider level reasons) patient engagement becomes a challenge. Physicians need adequate time with their patients to distill relevant information in a manner each patient can understand, AND provide time for patients to ask any follow up questions.

On average, primary care doctors are given <20 minutes of face time per patient- that is they are expected to see 3-4 patients per hour. In those 15-20 minutes of face time with the patient, the doctor is expected to review the patient’s records, perform the interview, do the physical exam as well as formulate a care plan and place any orders that may be needed, regardless of the complexity of the case with which a patient may present. This does not leave much wiggle room to see the next patient much less engage with the current one. After seeing up to 20 patients per day, there is a load of administrative work that primary doctors must complete before their day is done.

It doesn’t take a doctor to figure out that this is an impossible situation but incidentally,  a doctor at the University of Chicago School of Medicine has done a research to look into this. Dr. Porter and his colleagues showed that primary care doctors would need 26.7 hours/day to complete their work(1). This untenable situation which primary care physicians find themselves in is why our health systems are not ready to do the work of patient engagement and why there is an increasing rate of physician burn out.

Research shows engaged patients are empowered to make better informed decisions about their care, can raise awareness about their own safety during the delivery of care, dialogue effectively about their health conditions with their providers, clarify their needs and personal values and attain their personal health goals. Additionally, engaged patients are more satisfied with the care they receive, adhere better to recommendations and they have better health outcomes.

 Good Health Outcome=Quality Service Delivery + Engaged Patients

We invite you to come and see how we, at Saliglasa have re-engineered healthcare service to make your engagement one of our priorities. I hope you take us up on our offer to get you engaged!

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