There was a time in healthcare when patient engagement simply meant having a good bedside manner. And, while this certainly played to our strengths as rehab therapists – it still does in many respects – those days are largely over.
In today’s digital world, patient engagement is still key to creating long-term sustainability and growth within a rehab therapy clinic. However, the way we define and, more importantly, enhance patient engagement is much broader than it’s ever been, and for good reason.
Today, we all operate in an era of direct access and patient empowerment. It’s a time when details about one’s local physical, occupational and speech therapy options are just a click away and engagement begins well before would-be patients ever call or step foot in your door.
What is Patient Engagement?
A fitting definition of patient engagement as it exists today is this: active involvement, positive behaviors, and feelings of commitment and connection by patients throughout their complete patient journeys (i.e., before, during and after episodes of care).
By focusing on optimizing various aspects of patient engagement, rehab therapy leaders can solidify marketing opportunities, improve clinical outcomes, retain good employees, and achieve higher financial and operational performance at their facilities.
Evaluate Patient Engagement at Your Rehab Therapy Clinic
As you consider engagement among your physical, occupational or speech therapy patients, how do you know if your patient engagement levels are up to snuff?
Here are a few indicators that patient engagement may be lacking throughout your rehab therapy clinic or department:
- You are not seeing a lot of new, self-referred patients.
- Online information (i.e., Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.) about your rehab therapy business is incorrect, outdated or incomplete.
- You have few online ratings and/or rank low in reviews.
- Patients have difficulty scheduling visits or accessing treatment information.
- The patient intake process is arduous both with patients and rehab staff.
- Missed appointments and cancellations have become a problem.
- Patients generally do not comply with home exercise programs or complete their plans of care.
- Past patients do not return, make referrals or leave positive reviews.
- You have no process for checking in with current or past patients outside the doors of your clinic.
If some of the above scenarios seem all-to-familiar to you, this could be a sign that it’s time to establish a patient engagement strategy at your rehab therapy facility. If you’re not sure where to start, consider partnering with a patient engagement expert.