Learn key strategies for increasing rehab patient engagement through technology.
The patient's experience, along with a hospital's reputation, is vital for long-term success. Studies indicate strong patient and family engagement in clinical care positively contributes to a favorable experience, as well as improved health outcomes and reduced costs.
Reputation, whether good or bad, plays a large part in attracting patients, employees, physicians and partner healthcare institutions—and patient and family engagement are vital drivers of a hospital's reputation.
The following contains strategies for incorporating technology into patient engagement initiatives. When providers understand these strategies and their key benefits, they are better positioned to overcome the challenges of today's healthcare environment.
New Opportunities in Patient Engagement and Empowerment
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have emphasized the role of patient engagement through new acute care payment systems and strategies. As a result, many hospitals and care providers are seeking new ways to use data and technology to improve patient engagement, empowerment and throughput opportunities.
One example of this is Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services' (KHRS) new app, RehabTracker. Since the technology launched, a majority of sites have experienced improvements in FIM gain and discharge to community.
"Our patients are medically complex, so it helps them focus on their goals," explains Muhammad Khan, physical therapist and program director at St. Catherine Hospital, where the app was first piloted for the hospitals of Community Healthcare System. "Motivating them every day is a big challenge, and we have seen improvement in our functional gain scores since January. We do believe that motivation by any means, whether it is sharing stories or information, helps with a patient's recovery."
Three Benefits of Patient Engagement
A commonly-held definition of patient engagement focuses on care providers working with patients to encourage involvement in their own healthcare decisions. Evidence shows that individuals engaged in their health are more likely to achieve better outcomes, and technology can be a significant contributor.
- Improved outcomes: Tracking and reporting features illustrate improved patient progress.
- Enhanced communication: Providers, patients and caregivers can better communicate with one another, providing updates on the patients' condition.
- Increased patient satisfaction: Informed, engaged patients are likely to be more confident regarding their condition and satisfied with their experience and outcomes.
CMS Supports Tools to Foster Patient Engagement
Research underscores the growing value of a positive patient experience and demonstrates that hospitals that deliver a better patient experience perform better financially.
While increased patient participation and engagement are well-recognized as a core component of high-quality care, patient engagement is also central to achieving high-quality person-centered care, and has been associated with improved self-care, better physical functioning, and satisfaction with care. Fortunately, many new technologies are available to providers and hold the potential to better motivate and engage patients to take an active and ongoing role in their recovery—and much of that technology is, literally, in the patients' hands.
Research shows that technology benefits rehabilitation patients specifically, by clearly identifying purpose, goals, rules and a feedback system.
Strategies to Create Patient-Centric Tools
Providers must be prepared to face challenges when developing successful patient-centric technology solutions, such as difficulty securing funds and IT resources, the lack of healthcare knowledge among developers, different communication preferences and easily navigable design.
To address these issues, providers should work hand-in-hand with developers so design is informed by medical expertise and experience to provide patients and their loved ones valuable information based on their unique condition and treatments. Specifically to rehabilitative care, digital platforms should include input from experts in rehab services so patients understand their rehab plan and receive the necessary feedback to motivate them toward their goals.
RehabTracker—A Solution Designed With Your Patients in Mind
By partnering with rehab experts like KHRS, providers gain access to innovative tools without the heavy lift of creation from the ground up. The RehabTracker app ensures the patient, clinical team and family are all on the same page by allowing patients to:
- Set goals with therapists
- Document care plans and important information during bedside shift report, physician visits or interdisciplinary rounds
- Track progress
- Share results with invited family and friends, even over long-distance
- Receive messages of support and celebrate milestones through recovery
RehabTracker is invaluable in improving patient engagement scores for host hospitals of rehabilitation units and helps prepare post-acute facilities for the future of value-based payment models.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services' expert therapists and staff are dedicated to treating the needs of highly acute patients in a compliant environment, thereby meeting patient goals, improved recovery and successful discharge. Our culture of patient advocacy, and focus on developing and implementing technology solutions, can help our partners focus on their goals of improving outcomes, increasing patient engagement, and operational efficiency.
How We Can Help
To learn more about KHRS and how RehabTracker can help your patients, and their family and friends, easily receive, monitor and share important milestones on the path to recovery, visit kindredrehab.com.
Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services is the largest contract manager of hospital-based acute rehabilitation programs in the country.