Unrealistic patient expectations and misunderstanding of the intended dental health care procedures can adversely affect the prognosis and outcome of good quality care plan. Financial costs are also increased with little or no benefit at all. It is essential to guide the patient thoroughly regarding the dental health care plan you have planned for him/her in order to prevent future embarrassment and discontent. Patient involvement in designing the treatment care planning prior to provision is the cornerstone of modern day dentistry. Keep the patient updated at each and every step during the management procedures and seek his/her advice and concerns to the maximum.
Patient education, patient motivation and health literacy combine the various terminologies which can lead to a successful shared decision making including the dental health care professional, patient upon which the procedure will be performed and health insurance paying for the whole treatment care plan. Patients can comply more proficiently when they know all the merits and demerits of the procedure beforehand. Patient education forces the patients to perform at home required hygiene maintenance procedures regularly and refrain from the unhealthy activities.
Furthermore, digital methods, social media marketing and community health organization are becoming popular among patients. All these efforts are focused to achieve an active patient role instead of passive patients who do not bother at all what the dentist is trying to achieve for their betterment.
For hospitals to be successful in a pay-for-quality environment, they need patients to be active participants in their health care discourse. How does an organization engage patients? The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality provides some context for patient engagement: “a set of behaviors by health professionals, a set of organizational policies and procedures and a set of individual and collective mindsets and cultural philosophies that foster both the inclusion of patients and family members as active members of the healthcare team and encourage collaborative partnerships with patients and families, providers and communities.”
Patient engagement fundamentally relies on health literacy — the ability to understand and process medical information and services. Providers must become teachers, and lead the way for educating patients about their disease and motivating them to take control of their care plan.
Health care institutions must find innovative ways to engage their patient community — one way is using social marketing strategies to influence patient behavior and promote preventive care. For example, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center started a lung cancer screening campaign in 2012: “Rescue Lung, Rescue Life.” The campaign encourages high-risk patients, ages 55-74 years old with a significant smoking history, to obtain low-dose lung CT scans.
To motivate and incentivize the high-risk individuals to undergo screening, and minimize the disparities of care access and affordability, Lahey started offering the CT scans for free (Medicare and most private insurances previously did not reimburse for lung cancer screening). The “Rescue Lung, Rescue Life Campaign” served as a national model for a successful lung cancer-screening program and connected patients with proper follow-up care, including smoking cessation resources.
Social media can provide instant feedback from the patient community, which can help promote further outreach and quality improvement efforts. Likewise, there has been a surge of hospital CEOs who now manage online blogs.
A health-cost estimator is also available to help patient compare options and make more conscious decisions. By offering lower co-payments and premium reductions, UnitedHealthcare incentivizes its patient consumers to choose designated “high-value” care providers and financially benefit from preventive care initiatives (Rewards for Health Program).
As we progress further into the realm of pay-for-performance, engaging patients will be vital to achieving high-value care. No matter how you define patient engagement, the end goal is the same — an informed and involved patient. The answer lies in shifting the care approach from: “this is the chief complaint … and here is the treatment,” to “this is the patient … and here is what matters to them.”