THE importance of effective staff engagement strategies to an organisation’s success has been known for some time.
A recent investigation into the relationship between health care providers and patients at a primary care clinic suggests that better patient engagement is associated with an improvement in patient-perceived health outcomes.
The starting point for the investigation was the assumption that health care providers and patients have roles akin to team leaders and team members. It suggested that the concept of employee engagement – involved, engaged employees – could be applied to patients in health care settings.
If engaged employees were instrumental in ensuring good commercial outcomes through innovation and improvement, so too could engaged patients contribute to improvements in the delivery of quality health care.
Five key dimensions of health care provider and patient engagement were proposed:
1. Alignment of objectives (e.g., developing a health care plan by consensus with the patient)
2. Communication (e.g., clearer interactions and instructions to improve health literacy and reduce errors)
3. Information and encouragement (e.g., fostering patient involvement through better access to information, professionals and supports)
4. Provider effectiveness (e.g., the importance of the health providers role in managing the condition)
5. Patient incentive (e.g., improving patient access and affordability, value added services and assistance with resources required for care)
The investigation collected patient engagement data using a survey instrument in the northern Indian state of Punjab, and through canonical correlation analysis showed strong relationships for certain variables.
The study claimed to provide preliminary evidence of a causal relationship between patient engagement and patient-perceived health outcomes.