February is American Heart Month, which is a great opportunity to focus on raising awareness of the risk of heart disease, educating patients about their risk and encouraging them to make their heart health a priority. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. Approximately 600,000 people die from heart disease each year in the U.S. – that’s one out of every four deaths.¹
Providers are troubled that patients aren’t taking responsibility for their health, but February is the perfect time to build awareness of these issues and demonstrate accountability through prevention and wellness. Here are a few tips on how to engage with your patients this month.
- Wellness Appointment Reminders – According to West, 83% of Americans hold their healthcare providers responsible for their well-being.² A great way to start is to encourage men and women to schedule wellness appointments with their physician and provide them with a list of questions for their doctors to make their time in the office more efficient. Another way is to promote the importance of wellness appointments through on-hold messaging.
- Promote a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle – 63% of patients believe their healthcare provider is more attentive to treating illness than preventing them.³ Show patients you care about their well-being by promoting healthy lifestyle tips through email campaigns, newsletters, information on your website, automated reminders and on-hold messaging. Encourage patients to make healthy changes to lower their risk of developing heart disease such as:
- Watching their weight.
- Quitting smoking and staying away from secondhand smoke.
- Controlling their cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Avoiding alcohol or drinking in moderation.
- Getting active and eating healthier.
- Engage with Patients through Social Media – Educate patients through social media about why heart health is so important and offer healthy tips to help them stay on track. Click here for sample tweets you can use or follow the CDC’s Million Hearts® on Facebook and Twitter to get resources for promoting heart disease and stroke prevention.
- Host a Community Event – Community outreach is a powerful tool for healthcare organizations. Here are a few ways to engage your local community:
- Partner with a local fitness center and educate patients on the importance of physical activity to prevent heart disease.
- Host a group walk around lunch time.
- Team up with a nutritionist or restaurant and have a cooking demonstration using heart-healthy recipes.
- Contact your local Red Cross to host a CPR training event within your community.
- Conduct Medication Adherence Surveys – Medication adherence is especially important for patients with chronic conditions, such as heart disease. Although it can sometimes be difficult to understand why individuals aren’t sticking to their plan, sending medication adherence surveys to patients can help determine why they are not taking their medication as directed. It only takes a few minutes for survey participants to provide invaluable insight.
While American Heart Month is only promoted in February, most of these ideas can be used year-round to promote preventive care to patients. Being more proactive is key for both patients and healthcare providers in advancing care quality and generating better health outcomes.
To learn more about how patient engagement can improve health outcomes, download West’s free report – Examining Care Quality.