Technology has been an indispensable player in transforming the healthcare sector by introducing amazing healthcare solutions to improve the hospital operations significantly. Besides improving operational efficiency, reducing human errors, and revamping traditional healthcare, the health tech industry has also brought revolutionary breakthroughs.
Even though the healthcare industry has been rapidly evolving recently, it has always been a bit slow in adopting digital and other modern IT innovations.
The recent pandemic exposed the gaps and challenges faced by the healthcare industry worldwide. Patients were left high and dry in many hospitals, and there was extreme anger and dissatisfaction with the services provided. The medical fraternity has realized that having the best medical equipment isn't necessarily going to help their business if they cannot satisfy their patient's basic needs and provide them with a hassle-free experience first.
This is where adopting the best patient engagement software for hospitals has done a world of good. The platform helps bring doctors and patients closer, enabling better communication and higher quality of treatment, thereby saving many lives.
Patient engagement in healthcare is the process or situation wherein patients will be informed in detail about all the available treatments, recovery, prescription choices or any other important medical solutions that would help them get better results.
Healthcare professionals have always sought ways to engage and improve patient collaboration. They want to encourage the patients to take care of themselves, but, at the same time, they also need to be available for their patients in case of any emergency. Patients must also be aware of their health problems, symptoms, medicines, diet restrictions, etc., to better care for themselves.
Patient engagement platforms are at the core of patient welfare and critical for the success of any healthcare organization.
Also, read: 10 Healthcare Business Ideas For Startups
Engaging with patients is so critical for healthcare organizations that, if they fail to do so, they stand to lose out not only financially but also harm their reputation. And ultimately, it is the patient who is going to suffer the consequences of receiving inadequate care.
They need to invest in good patient engagement software that can ensure patients are always connected and are also able to manage their health better by making correct decisions concerning their illness and treatment. Both the patient and the healthcare system stand to gain if there is an overarching platform for patient engagement in place -
Even though there are numerous benefits of using a patient engagement system, it is not without its own set of challenges -
The return on investment (ROI) for a software for patient engagement is genuinely realized only when there is healthy cooperation between healthcare professionals and patients. In addition, the patients must have a solid understanding of their illness, symptoms, risk factors, and treatment protocols, monitor their health conditions proactively and reach out to their providers as per the scheduled follow-ups.
The patient should be wholly involved in their treatment cycle and be able to make better-informed decisions for a healthier life. As a result, there should be an overall improvement in patient satisfaction ratings and a significant reduction in the number of doctor visits and mortality rates. The overall cost of providing healthcare will also see an appreciable reduction when this platform is put to practical use.
Some metrics that can be used to track the ROI of patient engagement are mortality rates, patient satisfaction ratings, patient no-shows, number of appointments, re-admission rates, software portal usage, compliance audit scores, etc.
As per this report, the patient engagement solutions market is pegged to reach $27.9B by 2027 from $17.3B in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 10.0% during this period.
Healthcare patient engagement solutions has some convenient features to improve the patient's welfare. Some of those features are listed here -
There are 3 different types of Patient Engagement Solutions -
1. Off-the-Shelf - Off-the-shelf solutions are products that are already available for purchase in the market. Their price depends on their features, and healthcare companies can choose the product that aligns with their internal processes and budget. Subscription prices range from $19 for basic features and $499 per month for more advanced solutions. This solution usually suits individual practitioners/small teams with budgetary constraints.
The pros of this solution include ease of setup and low initial investment. Cons include no direct ownership of the platform, heavy dependence on the vendor to provide support and add new features, and the risk of the product version becoming outdated.
Some well-known solutions in this category are Vcita, NextHeath, RXNT, DoctorConnect, Modento, etc.
2. Content Management Solutions - These solutions are built on popular CMS platforms such as WordPress and Wix. These CMS platforms are ideal for creating features such as patient registration, appointment scheduling, doctor-patient communications, and patient education. The cost of such solutions ranges between $40K and $50K. Additional features can be added by purchasing 3rd party plugins or developing custom plugins. These are best suited for companies that need a quick solution with basic functionalities.
The pros of CMS solutions are that they can be set up quickly, and it is also easy to add new functionality through plugins. The cons are that it is not a very scalable solution, requires skilled personnel, and might require frequent upgrades to the underlying CMS.
3. Fully Customized - These are solutions built from scratch and tailored to the organization's specific needs. Since it is fully customized, it can be created and integrated with any technology. These solutions tend to be slightly expensive, starting at $50K. They are ideal for organizations that have good funding, run complex internal processes, consist of bigger teams, and are looking to expand in the future.
Pros include full ownership of the solution, ease of integration with existing services, better scalability, and personal choice of the underlying technology framework. The cons are that it is expensive, takes time to build, and requires skilled engineers.
Patient engagement healthcare apps predominantly fall under 2 categories - Web apps and Mobile apps. Web app refers to web application portals hosted on a cloud platform and accessed through the browser. Mobile apps are installed and accessed on mobile devices.
The technologies that have been used for patient engagement apps are -
Web Development frameworks -
Mobile frameworks -
Cloud Hosting platforms -
Also, read: AI in Healthcare - Factors, Market, Benefits, Future
The goal of any patient engagement application is to empower patients to make decisions that will improve their health outcomes. So it makes sense for every healthcare organization, ranging from startups to big enterprises, to have their patient engagement programs and corresponding patient engagement apps.
After all, they would all want to provide the best experience for their patients and retain as many patients as possible to make good revenue and build their reputation. Depending on the size and quality of their patient clientele, the needs may vary. For example, a healthcare practice with a small population of patients may need apps with only basic features such as booking appointments, refilling prescriptions, scheduling, etc.
Organizations with many patients would definitely need a more advanced, scalable, and robust healthcare engagement platform. Patients' quality and economic status also determine the level of patient engagement required. For organizations serving patients who are not well off or are not sufficiently educated, having an app that educates them on their illness and risk factors and helps them make better decisions for their care will help reduce their healthcare costs.
At SoluteLabs, we have always strived to produce the best and highest quality products for our clients in the healthcare space. We have serviced clients from startups to large-scale enterprises and helped them build apps and solutions for effective healthcare management.
For instance, we made a next-gen healthcare app for a UK-based startup that helps patients to connect to doctors through video consultation. Apart from the doctor and patient modules, the solution also comes with pharmacy and customer support modules, making it a near-comprehensive package. Booking appointments, raising prescription requests, and consulting through videos were all made super easy with this app.