If knowing ideal blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, blood sugar and other health numbers are part of health management, then many patients are ill-equipped to manage their chronic diseases on their own. Too many patients do not know their current and target health metrics or what those numbers mean. The good news is that healthcare teams can easily offer support to help patients better understand where they are and where they need to be in terms of their health readings. Below are three ways healthcare providers can communicate with patients and offer support to ensure they know and can track progress toward health goals.
- Share educational information.
A West survey of 1,036 adults and 317 healthcare providers in the U.S. revealed that 96 percent of chronic patients believe it is important for providers to help patients understand what their health metric numbers are and what they need to be. Rather than assuming patients will retain every detail they are given during office visits (they often don’t), providers can continue to support patients between appointments by sending them relevant information related to their health metric goals. For example, if a patient has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, a provider may want to send a series of emails that share important facts about blood glucose, explain what levels are acceptable and give guidance for measuring blood glucose levels. Regardless of what conditions patients have, or how healthy they are, this outreach can be helpful. Even patients who are in relatively good health can benefit from occasional communications. For example, many patients still do not realize blood pressure guidelines changed in 2017. Sending updated information to patients—whether they have high blood pressure or not—helps keep them informed about important health metric goals.
2. Give patients opportunities to complete remote monitoring surveys.
According to West’s survey, 35 percent of Americans with a chronic condition are interested in participating in automated monitoring surveys that capture and share key health metric data with their providers. Remote health monitoring surveys are useful for tracking changes and identifying health issues early. By giving patients opportunities to complete monitoring surveys, providers can look for signs that patients are struggling and intervene before issues arise and worsen.
3. Send health maintenance reminder messages.
More than half of Americans (53%) want help improving or maintaining their health. Providers know that when patients are aware of their health metrics, they can better manage their health. But patients often need a nudge to help them do the things they should to maintain their health. Sending patients reminder messages that encourage them to monitor their own health metrics is one way to keep patients actively involved in their healthcare. Sending a text message that reminds a patient to use a blood pressure cuff to take a reading, or to step on the scale and record any change in weight, is a simple way to encourage patients to track their health metrics so they can better understand and manage their health.
The examples above highlight just a few of the many ways healthcare teams can reach out to patients and communicate about health metrics. For a closer look at how providers can work with patients to educate them on health metric data to better manage and improve health outcomes, download Patients Say “Teach Me” About Health Metrics.