Taking steps to a healthier life isn’t easy. Even when people are motivated to adopt better choices, making lifestyle changes can be a challenge. Unfortunately, for people living with chronic conditions, continuing along the same path can often lead to worsened health outcomes. At Wellbox, we think it is vital to partner with healthcare providers to support and promote their health and wellbeing recommendations in between office visits. For that reason, Wellbox takes the following approach to engaging patients.
When trying to improve compliance, the first step is starting an open and honest conversation with patients. Setting a clear goal, developing a care plan for achieving that goal, and providing consistent communication and progress updates help people stay on track. Clear expectations and achievable goals help people feel like they are making consistent progress against their goals.
Also, “rather than merely suggesting that certain changes might help patients live longer, be direct about the consequences if they keep their behaviors the same,” according to Fierce Healthcare. By being direct but understanding when explaining how their behaviors affect their health, our staff can make it clear the gravity of their actions on their future.
If patients don’t understand the reasoning behind certain recommendations from their doctor and care coordinator and what lifestyle changes are expected of them, they most likely will not follow through. They must also be prepared to make better choices. Without those key components, patient compliance will continue to be a struggle.
Why do some patients choose not to fulfill their physician’s recommendations? Answers can vary, but a few common reasons include concern of medication side effects, a lack of a support system and financial hardship.
It’s important to let patients recognize their own hurdles. Instead of telling patients what they can do to overcome the barriers we may think they have, our nurses ask them open-ended questions. Once the challenges are known, we can assist them in finding solutions.
Overcoming health challenges is as much physical as it is emotional. It’s evident that by working to understand patients’ emotional needs and finding a solution we both can agree upon, it’s that much more likely to be successful.
Since no two patients are the same, it’s especially helpful that customized treatment plans are created to help them manage their own care. This way, the barriers they identified can be overcome by solutions both they and their care coordinator establish. Also, our care coordinators stay updated on available social and community services that could possibly match their patients’ specific needs and inform them about them.
Ensuring greater patient compliance can also depend on our staff monitoring population health. Since patients tend to forget most of what is recommended within their visit, our staff consistently checks their progress and provides educational opportunities. For example, we send written material to their homes to help support the message. We also use several marketing tactics such as direct email, mail, and social media to help remind patients of healthier choices. These approaches increase opportunities for education before and after the visit.
By keeping patients engaged in disease-specific education as well as general health guidelines, both patient compliance and engagement can increase. This can then lead to an overall improvement in their beneficial behaviors to live longer, healthier lives.
Even though there isn’t a true clear-cut solution to increase patient compliance, tips like the ones described help our care coordinators keep their patient populations engaged.