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Note to readers: This is the first post in a six-part series exploring the perspectives of digital patient engagement.

Mike Deegan, Director, Business Development

Digital patient engagement is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s a necessity.

With the rise of technology in every facet of life, patients expect the same level of convenience and accessibility from their healthcare providers that they receive when ordering a meal online or hailing a ride. According to Rock Health’s 2023 Consumer Adoption of Digital Health Survey, 39% of patients choose virtual care over in-person care because of convenience, and another 30% due to shorter wait times. 

Digital engagement tools meet these expectations and offer a pathway to closing significant care gaps that can harm patients and result in lost revenue for health systems. These gaps include undiagnosed diseases, lack of access to effective treatments, and restricted access to necessary healthcare services. 

Additionally, preventive services and screenings are crucial for patient education and empowerment, and addressing no-shows, which cost healthcare more than $150 billion annually, can significantly improve care access and efficiency.

Discover how a digital formulary can improve access to care and care efficiencies.

Close Care Gaps with Engaging Digital Solutions

For example, delays in screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies can have severe implications for undiagnosed diseases. 

UPMC’s use of automated emails to engage patients saw significant success: 

  • Over 50% patient engagement
  • 25.2% watched an educational video
  • 10-15% clicked through to schedule mammogram and colonoscopy appointments, resulting in thousands more visits scheduled.

When it comes to accessing effective treatments, behavioral health is a growing concern

Banner Health has seen remarkable engagement by integrating digital therapeutics like SilverCloud into their formulary via Xealth: 

  • Coached users spent an average of more than two hours engaging with the platform vs the 60-minute goal

Of users starting with an acuity of moderate+ who logged in four or more times:

  • PHQ9 improvement of 54% vs 50% goal
  • GAD7 improvement of 58% improvement vs 50% goal

Addressing the issue of restricted access, particularly in rural areas where 60 million Americans live, is crucial. 

Virtual care and remote monitoring services can bridge this gap, making healthcare services more accessible and reducing the need for long travel.

Reducing No-Shows with Timely Communications and Reminders

According to a Medical Group Management Association poll, no-shows represent a substantial financial challenge for healthcare systems, costing healthcare organizations more than $150 billion every year. Some estimates show that missed appointments cost single physicians as much as $150,000 annually. 

Duke Health’s adoption of Xealth for distributing pre- and post-surgery educational information to bariatric and cardiothoracic surgery patients led to reductions in late cancellations and no-shows.

The bariatric new patient program sees a 36% patient interaction rate, and the post-surgery program has a 43% patient interaction rate.

For those who engaged with educational videos, the no-show rate dropped to 0.71% vs 11.5% for those who did not.

This demonstrates the power of digital engagement in ensuring patients attend their scheduled appointments, ultimately leading to better health outcomes and cost savings.

Consider this … what would even a 1% reduction in your health system’s no-shows mean for its operations expenses and revenue? 

How a Digital Formulary Can Improve Care Efficiency

Adopting a digital formulary, as seen with Allina Health’s partnership with Xealth, exemplifies the efficiency gains from digitizing patient enrollment processes for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. 

As Allina began building its digital formulary, it engaged its physical therapy team, which uses MedBridge’s patient engagement tools. The team liked the capabilities of building home exercise programs but did not like building them outside the EHR. 

By enabling the creation of these programs directly from the EHR with Xealth, the system improved patient utilization and saved healthcare providers approximately 2-3 minutes per monitor view

Throughout the program, this amounted to roughly $120K-$250K in savings, showcasing the substantial benefits of integrating digital tools into clinical workflows.

Digitally Engage Patients NOW

Integrating digital engagement tools in healthcare is not just about keeping up with technological advancements — it’s about fundamentally improving how care is delivered and accessed. 

By closing care gaps, reducing no-shows, and improving care efficiency, health systems can achieve better patient outcomes while realizing significant cost savings. Preventive services and screenings are critical in empowering patients and lowering healthcare costs. 

Health systems cannot afford to overlook the importance of engaging patients digitally. With measurable outcomes and demonstrable benefits, adopting digital formularies and engagement strategies is a clear step forward for healthcare providers aiming to meet the evolving needs of their patients. 

Request a Xealth demo today to discover how improved patient digital engagement can transform your patient care quality and financial outlook.

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