What Is Patient Engagement And Why Does It Matter?

By: Jim Rogers

Keeping patients engaged with your practice makes better health outcomes much more likely. Engaged patients also report higher levels of satisfaction with their dentist.

It can be hard to keep them engaged when many only come to your practice for a few appointments per year.

Here is what you can do to keep patients engaged between appointments.

What is Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement is any communication you provide between appointments, especially online.

Examples include:

  • Blog posts
  • Facebook posts
  • Online patient education
  • Appointment and treatment reminders

Why is Patient Engagement Important?

It Builds Trust. More than ever, patients trust online communication from doctors and online healthcare information.

  • 80% of Internet users search for health-related information on the web.
  • 77% of patients used a search engine (like Google) before booking an appointment.

It Results in Better Health Outcomes. When you involve patients in their own care, they often see better health outcomes. Patients with lower levels of involvement don’t always show the same long-term wellness.

It Makes Your Job Easier. Appointment reminders by text message or email decrease the number of forgotten appointments. Rescheduling those missed appointments means more work for your staff.

What Can You Do to Keep Patients Engaged?

These are some of the easiest ways we have found to keep patients engaged between visits:

Email and Text Reminders. Use email or text messages to send appointment reminders. Catalyst Healthcare Research reports 93% of adult prefer email communication over phone reminders.

Online Appointment Scheduling. Many patients prefer to schedule their appointments online. Not only is this convenient, but it also makes life easier for your staff. Online appointment scheduling means no more days wasted playing phone tag.

Online Patient Education. Videos and other downloadable materials are a helpful supplement to in-person consultations.

Health benefits of online patient education include:

  • Improved patient awareness
  • Increased confidence towards treatment
  • Improved self-care behavior and self-care management
  • Improved health outcomes, adherence to treatment, and reduced hospitalizations.

Social Media. Social media is becoming more trusted by dental, medical, and other healthcare practices. Helpful content makes it more likely for patients to stay in touch between visits.

Responsive Web Design. More people now use their smartphone instead of a laptop. If they have to zoom in to see everything, they might go somewhere else. Responsive website designs remove that problem.

How is Your Patient Engagement Strategy?

Now you know what patient engagement is and why it matters for your patients and your practice. We also showed you some of the best ways to keep your patients engaged with your practice.

Officite specializes in patient engagement strategies for dental practices. Call us today to learn more!