When it comes to managing chronic disease, patients are looking for more support from their healthcare providers. Many chronic patients feel that they lack the knowledge to effectively manage their condition at home. In fact, one in five patients (20%) say they would rate their ability to manage their chronic condition as fair or poor at best.
At least 70 percent of patients with a chronic condition would like more resources or clarity on how to manage their disease. Physicians often give patients most of their guidance while they are sitting face-to-face during appointments, but what chronic patients want is more support and direction while they are at home.
How More Physician Support Motivates Patients
At home in their daily life is where patients need additional reminders and helpful communications. Providing patients with disease management guidance and tips between appointments can greatly improve their knowledge and make them feel more confident about managing their chronic condition. Healthcare providers can send encouraging messages, reminders to follow care plans, detailed medication instructions and other supportive communications to activate patients to take the necessary actions to improve their health.
1. Teach patients what they should be doing to achieve desired results.
Patients may have a difficult time managing their health and treatment plan if they don’t fully understand what their doctor wants them to do and why. However, using automated communications to deliver supplemental information after an appointment can help clarify instructions delivered during a patient’s office visit. Providers can send communications that provide instructions for how to use a new medical device or take a medication, explain what their target health metrics are or inform patients of symptoms to watch out for. After sending this information, providers might also follow up with a survey to measure how well a patient understood the care instructions and to identify areas where additional coaching is needed.
2. Remind patients to perform daily tasks to improve or manage their condition.
Patients may get busy and forget the daily tasks that are required to help them treat and manage their chronic condition. Healthcare providers can help patients stay on track by sending messages that remind them to do things like take their medicine at a specific time, test their blood glucose or exercise daily. These messages can also encourage patients to participate in recommended preventive care services, such as getting a vaccination or scheduling a routine screening. These types of wellness reminders motivate patients to do everyday things to improve their overall health.
3. Encourage patients to adopt a healthy lifestyle, even when it’s difficult.
It isn’t only forgetfulness that’s to blame when patients don’t follow through with their prescribed treatment plans. Sometimes patients know what they should do, but they just don’t follow their doctor’s orders. Patients often need a nudge to help them adopt a healthy lifestyle. Providing relevant tips and information, such as a diet plan so they know what foods they should avoid or incorporate into their diet, can motivate patients to make healthier behavior changes for the long term.
By extending support to patients between appointments and providing them with information and techniques that can be used to manage their chronic diseases, providers can help patients feel more knowledgeable and confident about managing their condition at home and in their daily life.
Want to learn more about what chronic patients want from their providers? Download our white paper, What Physicians Need to Know about Chronic Care.