Incentivize docs to drive patient engagement

Doctors must take advantage of available knowledge and research to better engage patients, according to panelists at an Institute of Medicine (IOM) workshop.

They note that patient engagement success calls for a change in culture, in which doctors are incentivized to allow patients to take a greater role in their care and embrace open dialogue, MedPageToday reported.

"We just haven't spent enough time helping clinicians develop these skills," said American Board of Internal Medicine Chief Medical Officer Eric Holmboe.

But doctors need improved communication skills and patient engagement incentives, given that patients who not take an active role in their healthcare have better outcomes and fewer healthcare costs, according to a study in this month's Health Affairs.

To boost patient engagement efforts, the IOM panelists recommend physicians and other providers teach patients how to access and use their personal health information, avoid jargon when presenting information to patients and caregivers, and find new ways to listen to patients and their family members, MedPage noted.

An emerging approach to get patient input and feedback is creating advisory councils. At Spectrum Health, patient family advisory councils help to develop strategies that increase efficiency and safety at the Michigan health system.

Physicians also can get patients more engaged in their treatment by quantifying severity, which involves being direct about the consequences if patients keep their behaviors the same, FiercePracticeManagement reported last week. "When you turn up the dial a bit on the probability [of disability or death], it can get through," said Yul Ejnes, a general internist in Rhode Island.

For more:
- read the MedPage article
- check out the workshop