5 Challenges of Engaging Patients

While patient engagement is seen as a promising route to improved quality and lower costs in healthcare, there are several barriers to effective engagement, according to a policy brief in Health Affairs.

The author summarizes five patient engagement issues identified in commentaries and studies in the February issue of Health Affairs:

1. Patients' health literacy. Incorporating a health literacy model into the delivery of care could improve patient engagement, according to a commentary in Health Affairs.

2. Diverse backgrounds. Engaging patients of different backgrounds — culture, sex, age and education, etc. — requires specific competencies from healthcare providers and systems, according to a separate commentary in Health Affairs.

3. Cognitive issues. Limitations of humans' decision-making skills and attention may call for an alternate approach to patient engagement — "choice architecture," in which the environment is changed to encourage certain behaviors, according to another commentary in Health Affairs.

4. Aversion to considering costs. Patients are generally averse to considering costs of healthcare, according to a study in Health Affairs. However, providing patients with cost and quality information they find most useful and relevant may help patients drive market pressure to lower healthcare costs, according to a separate study in Health Affairs.

5. Provider culture. The culture of healthcare providers needs to change to facilitate the use of patient engagement strategies and shared decision-making tools.  

More Articles on Patient Engagement:

6 Lessons on Engaging Patients From Aligning Forces for Quality
6 Health System Competencies for Shared Decision-Making

Engaging Consumers in Health — The Basis of a Sustainable Future

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