Patients want highly tailored health care experiences—like those they enjoy in every other area of their life as consumers. They want their experience to be more personalized and catered to them as individuals: 61% said they’d visit their health care provider more often if the communication experience felt more personalized.1
Health care administrators are challenged to adopt a more consumer-centric way of thinking. When the goal is improving and personalizing patient experiences and outcomes throughout the care continuum, implementing more digital health information technologies (HIT) and taking a data-driven approach is the right route to get there.
A recent survey of 1,400 patients, providers, and hospital administrators looked at how digital technologies hold promise for cardiovascular disease (CVD). While it’s currently the leading cause of death in the United States, 80% of CVD deaths could be prevented with improved care quality.2
Redefining how care providers approach patient experience would likely also improve clinical quality. Instead of focusing only on intervention, creating a customized care plan across the entire patient journey—using HIT to access personal health data and understand the patient’s preferences related to care decision-making and delivery—could improve experiences and outcomes.
Patients and providers want personalized care
Health outcomes among patients are greatly improved when a personalized care plan can be designed around their unique set of health care needs. But more and more, a patient is treated by a whole team of care providers that span different disciplines, from the attending physician to a slew of specialists.
Of course, without cross-communication between providers, it’s difficult to coordinate a personalized care plan. A one-size-fits-all approach to treatment or fragmented care is frustrating for patients as it leads to gaps in care and fails to provide continuity of care. Patients want greater personalization when it comes to health care: 72% of patient respondents wish to receive care tailored to their unique health profile or disease state.2
Surveyed providers reported similar frustrations. 55% said time constraints keep them from delivering a personalized patient experience.2 And 63% of providers said that technology-based engagement—such as that facilitated by data-driven personalized care plans—could help them better identify patient needs.2
Digital health platforms can help providers track risk factors and other parameters to identify potential comorbidities or impending health threats. HIT solutions help them push out diagnostic and treatment recommendations and suggest resources through the EHR, including appropriate patient education.
Clinicians can save time while educating and activating patients in their health from discovery to recovery with patient education mapped to care plans. Integrating education with care plan teaching points in one single source improves patient care quality and outcomes, standardizes care across your organization, and simplifies workflows. EHR integrated patient education and care plans further support a personalized patient experience and give clinicians quick and easy tools to keep patients engaged beyond the exam room. Solutions like Krames On FHIR® and Krames + Care Plans integrate seamlessly into the EHR and directly into the clinician’s workflow, enabling them to suggest digital, video, and printed education based on the patient’s profile and current clinical encounter.
Digital technologies are key to the care continuum
Harnessing patient HIT tools and data integrations are key to personalizing care across the entire patient journey, from check-ups to treatments to maintenance care.
All doctors involved in a patient’s care should be able to access and share the patient’s health data via the health care system’s EHR workflow. This data provides nuanced insights on a patient’s condition and care, helping provide context for risk factors and comorbidities, and enabling data-driven decision-making to treat patients more proactively, efficiently, and with better outcomes.
Digital technologies can also help improve diagnostic capabilities; HIT is often used to help identify needed clinical interventions and update providers on changes in their patients’ conditions. More than 80% of surveyed clinicians said HIT and diagnostic technologies improve patient care.2 When doctors’ actions are guided by data, it can help them treat the patient accurately from the start.
Quality data paves the way for stronger personalization. Advancing technology allows providers to unlock valuable insights to paint a better picture of a patient’s health, including their needs and risks. Providers can then treat the patient more personally. Instead of broadly recommending that the patient eat lots of fruits and vegetables, HIT diagnostic technologies might provide more specific daily dietary recommendations to prevent or manage certain conditions.3
Patient-centered education and care plans
Personalized treatment that integrates patient education strategies creates greater engagement in two ways: it educates patients, provides resources to help them better manage their unique disease state, and supports communication between the patient and their care team.
As patients make their way from member to member of their care team, their health stories may not always make it with them—which may lead to treatment missteps. Personalized care plans are built on the patient’s health history and integrated with clinical guidelines which all members of the care team can follow. This provides a united, consistent standard of care.
Personalized care plans are also an effective way for clinicians to involve patients in their health, especially supporting them in managing chronic conditions. They provide an excellent opportunity to integrate applicable patient education as it helps patients understand their condition and highlights the importance of adhering to their treatment.
Patients who gain a better understanding of their health and their care plan will more likely follow their treatment. They’ll also have the basic knowledge and language to ask the right questions of their care team and make informed decisions.
Personalized care plans benefit the bottom line
As health systems strive to increase patient loyalty, they may look to hotels, airlines, and other industries that create personalized customer profiles and experiences throughout online and offline touchpoints to build a loyal following. Understanding more about patient health goals can help health systems deliver relevant content to improve engagement throughout these care journey touchpoints, leading to an enhanced overall experience.4
When patients can easily find the health information they need—or receive timely notifications via text or the patient portal to remind them about preventive or follow-up care plans—they see their health care providers as valued partners in their health, which drives patient loyalty.4 A recent survey showed patients are five times more likely to select a practice because they had a positive experience there.5
Improving patient experience has an inherent value to patients and is an important outcome. When patients with diabetes, for example, report positive interactions with their providers, they demonstrate greater self-management skills and quality of life.6 They’re also more likely to adhere to their provider’s medical advice and treatment plans, for more positive results.6
Good patient experience is as good for business as it is for patients. It’s associated with lower medical malpractice risk, and greater employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.6 Patients with the poorest-quality relationships with their physicians were three times more likely to voluntarily leave the physician’s practice than patients with the highest-quality relationships.6
Using consumer-centric strategies can drive better patient experiences, especially when it comes to preventive care. Employing sophisticated HIT to extract and analyze patient data allows providers to paint a picture of the overall health profile, identifying areas or patterns of worsening health parameters to intervene before they develop into something more serious. In this way, personal care plans largely support a proactive—or preventive—approach to health care, which is more efficient and reduces costs for patients and the health system alike.
This approach decreases unnecessary ER visits and reduces admission time and readmission rates. Preventive treatment saves patients from expensive (and extensive) interventions down the road and alleviates the health system's undue burden on their resources. While personalized care plans effectively reduce health care expenditures, fragmented care creates gaps in care, contributing to worse clinical outcomes at higher costs—impacting the financial bottom line of both hospitals and patients.
1 Leventhal R. Study: Consumers expecting much more from healthcare experiences. Healthcare Innovation Web site. https://www.hcinnovationgroup.com/population-health-management/patient-engagement/news/21126784/study-consumers-expecting-much-more-from-healthcare-experiences. February 24, 2020. Accessed August 5, 2021.
2 Heath S. Using health IT for personalized medicine, patient experience. Patient Engagement HIT Web site. https://patientengagementhit.com/news/using-health-it-for-personalized-medicine-patient-experience. August 20, 2020. Accessed July 25, 2021.
3 Morgan B. The future of healthcare personalization. Forbes. May 3, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2021/05/03/the-future-of-healthcare-personalization/?sh=7a9cd2007e38. Accessed September 1, 2021.
4 Walker B. How leveraging patient engagement increases loyalty more than traditional marketing. Patient Bond Blog. https://insights.patientbond.com/blog/leveraging-patient-engagement. July 30, 2019. Accessed September 2, 2021.
5 Heath S. Patient experience drives patient loyalty over standard marketing. Patient Engagement HIT Web site. https://patientengagementhit.com/news/patient-experience-drives-patient-loyalty-over-standrad-marketing. December 18, 2018. Accessed September 2, 2021.
6 Why improve patient experience? AHRQ Web site. https://www.ahrq.gov/cahps/quality-improvement/improvement-guide/2-why-improve/index.html. Accessed September 7, 2021.