5 Roadblocks to Improving Patient Engagement (And How to Overcome Them)

improving patient engagement

Medical practices such as urgent cares and emergency departments can oftentimes be hectic environments for both staff and patients. But amidst the chaos, fostering meaningful patient engagement from the staff is crucial when it comes to providing a positive experience for patients. 

These interactions are important, as they not only provide ease in an oftentimes stressful experience for patients but also increase the chance that these patients will choose to return to your practice on their next visit.

With emerging technological trends changing the way that medical practices operate, it is important to learn how to use this technology to improve patient engagement within your practice and remain competitive.

Here are five of the most common roadblocks that impede patient engagement in urgent care and emergency departments and how your practice can overcome them. 

1: Lack of Convenient Access

Getting a hold of busy staff on the phone can make the appointment-booking process a challenge for many patients. Then upon arrival, their experience is often dampened by long waiting times that make them spend more time than they would like in the waiting room before they are able to be seen.

Implementing virtual check-in systems allows patients to book an appointment (save your spot) online with ease, reducing the need to sit on hold waiting for a staff member to pick up the phone. Digital queuing can also be used to efficiently manage the waiting lines in your practice so that patients aren’t held up by long crowds while they are waiting to be seen.

2: Inefficient Communication

Communication is key for urgent cares and emergency departments, as it helps ensure that patients and staff are on the same page throughout their medical journey. Delays in information sharing and lack of immediate and two-way communication with patients can cause unnecessary stress and annoyances for the practice, staff, and patients.

Online communication platforms are a great tool that allows staff in your practice to easily communicate with patients through a digital portal. You can also implement two-way messaging to enable real-time interactions and reduce any roadblocks in communication.

These tools are incredibly useful for making sure that patients are receiving necessary information in a timely manner and that your practice’s staff and patients are always on the same page. 

3: Complicated Intake Processes

The patient intake processes at urgent cares and emergency departments can often be cumbersome and time-consuming with the amount of patients coming in and out all day and night. This leads to a potential for errors and dissatisfaction among patients.

Luckily, there are digital tools which can create a more efficient intake process via online intake forms which can be completed before the patient enters the waiting room. This streamlined documentation and information gathering shortens lines, reduces crowding in the waiting room and minimizes the chances of any errors during the intake process. 

4: Privacy Concerns

In a medical environment where patients are often crowded together, there can be a hesitancy among patients to share necessary information due to a perceived lack of privacy. Certain systems also have inadequate data protection measures, meaning that patient’s information is not as secure as it needs to be.

Urgent cares and emergency departments need to invest in medical software that ensures secure data handling and compliance with privacy regulations. Staff can also educate patients on privacy measures and their rights so that they are more at ease when sharing personal information with their provider. 

5: Technological Challenges

In a digital world, if a medical practice doesn’t have the proper technological infrastructure, they can struggle to keep up with other practices. This can either be a budgetary issue, or because of resistance to new technologies by staff and patients.

Making sure that there is thorough training and support for staff on new systems can bring your practice up to date, allowing you to foster meaningful patient engagement by making the process less stressful for patients. It can help to gradually introduce these technologies, allowing for easier adaptation into your practice. 

Get Better Patient Engagement Solutions for Your Organization

Patient engagement in urgent cares and emergency departments is crucial for success, and that cannot be accomplished without the best solutions helping you along the way. 

ER Express provides seamless digital solutions designed specifically for urgent cares and emergency departments, enabling them to achieve greater operational efficiency while improving patient engagement in all facets of their organization.

See how our software can benefit your urgent care or emergency department and request a demo today. 

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