CFOs, technology play big role in patient engagement

As the healthcare industry shifts toward value-based metrics, patient engagement is a hot-button issue. Two recent articles examined the monetary and technology aspects of patient engagement, and the important role they play in working with healthcare consumers to improve quality of care.

Patient finances and hospitals' chief financial officers are more important to patient engagement than ever, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

As patients with high-deductible plans take on more of their treatment costs, providers must identify outside factors influencing how patients manage their health and medical bills, Ann Garnier, COO of CarePayment, said in an interview with H&HN. Financial engagement through price transparency helps patients avoid "sticker shock." 

For example, DeSoto Memorial Hospital in Arcadia, Florida--an area with a high density of older people with little to no health insurance--reaches out into the community to let consumers know what services the hospital offers and how potential patients could pay for those services, according to the article.  

The CFO and all executive leadership should make monetary engagement a priority, Garnier said. "Traditionally, the revenue side of the provider organization rolls up to the CFO, but this should be a cross-functional initiative, reaching across the aisle to the clinical equivalent of the CFO to make sure that all stakeholders are engaged," Garnier told H&HN. "Ultimately, you need the buy-in of clinicians in order to make this work, because it's about a whole new shift in how they treat the patient."

As the Internet and social media become more popular among healthcare consumers, it's important to educate patients about portals and apps that let them participate in their own care, according to CIO. Hospitals must empower patients, and help them see technological improvements as an extension of the care process.

However, it's important for hospital leadership to stress bringing the "humanity" back to medicine, by working with doctors on communicating with patients through email and other formats as easily as they would in person, according to the article.  

To learn more:
- here's the H&HN article
- read the CIO article