What to consider when building a Patient Engagement Platform?
Patient Engagement Platform refers to a digital platform that enables medical organizations to connect with their patients via a patient portal online. The rising prevalence of coronavirus disease has driven the demand for remote patient treatment and monitoring with an accurate and timely exchange of patients’ health records. It is a rapid-growing segment in the healthcare industry. According to research, the Patient Engagement software’s market revenue in 2020 was 11.97 billion USD and is anticipated to reach 19.30 billion USD by 2025.
Governments across the globe are initiating and encouraging the adoption of patient engagement platforms. Various initiatives and regulations are being implemented; for instance, in the US, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has increased patient engagement software involvement. In 2020, EU health ministers declared to collaborate eHealth common area to allow free movement of e-health records across the country. Such support from governments around the world results in the growth of the patient engagement market worldwide.
In this detailed guide, you’ll find answers to all your queries related to Patient Engagement Platform Development.
- What is a Patient Engagement Platform?
- Why is the patient engagement platform essential?
- What are the possible features of the Patient Engagement Platform?
- What technologies are involved in the development of the Patient Engagement platform?
- How to implement a Patient Engagement platform successfully?
- What are various compliances for the Patient Engagement platform?
- How to find the best-fit Patient Engagement Software (PES) development company for you?
In most simple words, the Patient Engagement Platform is an electronic system to communicate with patients, provide healthcare services and manage patient-provider relationships efficiently. Integrated patient engagement software helps people to take control of their healthy life in a better way. A patient engagement platform offers a plethora of services like patient registration, remote patient monitoring, store and forwards records, secure messaging, appointment reminders and real-time medical analytics.
Patient engagement platform is crucial to minimize the physical patient-doctor gap, keep patients informed about their treatments and foster trust between patients and healthcare providers. On the organizations’ side, it improves office productivity, reduces overall costs, and enables each worker to manage their work efficiently. Medical Economics states that “More than 79% of patients prefer to select a provider who allows them to conduct online healthcare interactions.” Patient engagement software offers many benefits not only to patients but to healthcare providers as well.
Benefits to Patients
- Fosters active Patients’ engagement
When patients involve and participate in developing an understanding of their health, they are more likely to take better care of themselves. It eventually results in fewer requirements of last-minute emergency rooms, reducing doctors’ burden and increasing the organization’s overall operational efficiency.
- Enhanced communication
Emerging technologies have made it easier for patients and providers to communicate and collaborate quickly. Patients and healthcare providers are just one-click away from each other. Whenever necessary, patients or doctors can initiate communication. Enhanced communication leads to better caretaking, increased patient satisfaction and improved outcomes.
- Better care and improved outcomes
Patients prepare better for their treatment when they are aware of and have a proper understanding of their health. The patient engagement system’s transparency allows patients to know their health condition through shared clinical data, disease, and treatment information. When patients are aware of their health condition, they tend to take good care of themselves, leading to better outcomes.
- Increased Patient Satisfaction
Services like secure messaging, 24×7 availability and easy access to clinical and health information make patients empowered and allow them to take control over their health. These factors are highly valued when the overall satisfaction of patients is taken into account.
Benefits to Medical organizations and Healthcare providers
- Increased revenue
Streamlined operations and increased communication reduces appointment cancellations and helps to generate more revenue. Increased patient satisfaction leads to the growth of the organization and increases the patients base.
- Increased efficiency
The facility to schedule and manage work enables healthcare workers to work more efficiently— when every worker performs their best, it leads to better outcomes for the organization.
- Better informed decisions
With the detailed information on satisfaction scores, walk-ins vs. online appointments, ROI vs. wait time, medical associations can make a better-informed decision related to staffing and analyze the points that require enhancement.
- Increased patient base
A patient engagement platform can help organizations increase their patient base and support patient loyalty by delivering seamless patient satisfaction.
- Resource management
Patient engagement platform helps execute tasks like form filling, electronically scanning patients’ insurance cards, and taking consent for treatment over the phone or computer. Automation of all these tasks leaves healthcare workers with more time to focus on their core competencies.
- Throughput optimization
Online patient registrations reduce clinic waiting time, allowing doctors to attend to more patients with increased accuracy and demographics.
Features of a patient engagement platform vary depending on the necessity. Getting a customized software for your organization will provide the opportunity to include features according to your requirements. For this purpose, knowledge of all these features is crucial. Let’s understand all the features listed below:
- Patient Registration
Online patient registrations allow patients to electronically fill new patient forms and provide a medical history, immunization records, medication lists, etc. It will enable easy-to-perform sign-in to get access to patients’ records.
- Appointment Scheduling
The patient engagement platform allows patients to schedule their meetings with doctors beforehand. Patients need to request an appointment mentioning the date and time slot of the meet-up. Once the request gets approved, they receive a confirmation of the scheduled meeting.
- Secure Messaging
Secure messaging allows patients and doctors to exchange messages via two-way encrypted communication. It is an essential feature that patient engagement software users most widely used.
- Appointment reminders
For medical organizations, patients’ comfort is the top priority. Appointment reminders are an efficient feature to remind patients of their schedules without engaging front desk staff over the phone for hours. This feature ensures fail-proof appointment reminders by sending emails or delivering text messages about the schedule.
This feature allows patients to view, download and transfer their health records, lab results and other protected health information to other healthcare providers.
- Prescription refills
Prescription refill requests can be made via the patient engagement platform, eliminating unnecessary appointments. Usually, on-going treatments for long-term diseases need prescription refills. The patient engagement platform offers optimized time utilization by allowing prescription refills online and automatically eliminating needless visits off the schedule.
- Patient Education
Patient engagement software provides rich knowledge-building resources for patients to adopt healthy habits and take good care of themselves. This feature offers high-valued information to patients; thus, considered a powerful engagement feature. Moreover, patients can receive content tailored to their conditions and requirements.
- Online Bill Payments/ Statements
This feature allows self-paying patients to make their payments online. Leveraging this feature, physicians could track the patients for unsettled bills. Online bill payment offers convenience and an easy method for customers to pay online.
- Email Marketing
Email marketing is included in the patient engagement system to publicize and disseminate treatment practice news and other information.
The development of a patient engagement platform requires practical knowledge of the technology stack required. The Software Development Environment (SDE), Cloud frameworks, Databases, and OS involved are listed below.
1. Software Development Environment
An SDE is a collection of hardware and software tools to design and develop a software system. Every SDE has its unique purpose, even though most of them start with the Development stage and end with the Production stage. SDEs used for the development of patient engagement platform are:
It is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) primarily written in Java. It is mainly used for developing Java applications but can be used for other programming languages (Python, R, PHP, Ruby, etc.) via plug-ins.
It is a version control distributed system for identifying modifications in any set of files. It was designed initially for coordinating work among programmers.
It is a platform to build desktop and mobile web applications. It is an open-source TypeScript-based web application framework.
It is a programming language widely used by data miners to develop statistical software and data analysis.
It is a high-level, general-purpose interpreted programming language. Its object-oriented approach and language construct help programmers write readable, clear and logical code for their projects.
2. Databases and Operating System
A data collection or information that is specially designed and organized for rapid search and retrieval by a digital machine is a database. It facilitates storage, retrieval, deletion, updation and modification of data in conjunction with various data processing operations.
An Operating System (OS) is simply an interface between the user and the computer hardware. It facilitates memory management, file management, process management, handles input and output and controls peripheral devices.
Databases and OS useful for the development of patient engagement platform are:
It is a multi-model database management system used for running online transactions, data mining and warehousing.
It is an open-source database service used to deploy cloud-native applications. It’s a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that organizes data into one or more tables.
It is a framework that allows distributed processing of large datasets across clusters of computers using simple programming models.
It is a hardware dedicated operating system designed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware.
It is the most common open-source mobile OS based on a modified Linux kernel version.
It is a Unix-like open-source operating system used in various devices.
Windows is a proprietary operating system owned by Microsoft, famous for its GUI-based interface.
3. Cloud Frameworks
Cloud framework is a collection of development tools, middleware, and databases that ease cloud applications’ creation and deployment. The cloud frameworks that can be used in the development of patient engagement platform include:
- Amazon Web Services
It is a subsidiary of Amazon that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to companies or individuals.
- Google Cloud
It is a cloud computing platform that provides computing resources for deployment and operating applications on the web.
- Microsoft Azure
It is a cloud-based computing service that facilitates creating, deploying, testing and managing applications and services.
Once the comprehensive patient engagement initiative has been agreed upon, the next step is implementing the software. The strategy for patient engagement must align with the overall business strategy. It requires an on-going commitment. Implementing a comprehensive patient engagement software can be done by following three key steps: Providing a stage to success, Project planning and implementation and Optimizing utilization.
1. Providing a Stage to Success
- Build a cross-functional team
Organizations must focus on building a well-versed team that can effectively perform all functions. It would be beneficial to include front-line staff and leaders who have experience in navigating the organization.
- Appoint a champion
An individual leader must be appointed who has substantial experience in leading, motivating and managing teams. This individual must be responsible for good communication, be passionate about the concepts, and adept in articulating missions.
- Internal and External communication
Communication with everyone in the team and communication with patients is extensively necessary for smooth working.
2. Project planning and implementation
The software development methodologies help to accomplish the successful implementation of a software project. A thoughtful and planned implementation of a patient engagement platform can benefit the community at large.
- Form sub-groups
Assign each sub-group a specific task, establish a cross-functional team for each sub-group.
- Test concepts with patients
Patient participation is a pressing concern for any patient engagement software. Don’t assume how patients will respond to the system’s various functionalities, instead reach out to them, gather input, and re-design your engagement strategies.
- Leverage vendor experts
A vendor is a partner who can help accomplish your business goals. Let the vendor team guide the implementation and initial steps for staff training. Take full advantage of experienced vendors.
Testing is an apparent phase, where analysis of every software is done for its smooth working, integrity, uninterrupted service and reliability. Before making the project live, developers must test the software for all its functionalities. Even after successful testing, there are chances of new rising issues. The organization must prepare a responsible development team well in advance for such cases.
3. Optimizing utilization
Once the implementation of the project is complete, the maintenance and optimization phase starts. It is a long-term process and requires the total commitment of the entire team. The organization must take the following points into account to optimize the system:
- Reinforce long-term gains
Share actual success stories from patients along with factual outcome data internally and externally. Such reports help in the motivation of the internal teams.
- Engaging new patients
The patient engagement platform allows easy registration of new patients. Along with software’s ability, the concerned team must plan such marketing strategies that encourage new patients to enter into the system and increase their business. A survey by the ONC, US Department of Health and Human Services concluded that the patients who were encouraged to use online medical records were nearly two times more likely to access their records than those who do not use a digital system.
- Reach out to existing patients
The current patients who are already using the system can provide genuine feedback. The organization can develop a plan that asks for feedback and suggestions from the patients using the system.
- Long-term commitment to success
The success of the product depends on the team’s intent and obligation. The organization must continually adapt to changing technologies, constant iteration, solicit feedback and encourage innovation and creativity.
There are various compliances and standards that the Patient Engagement platform must follow.
It is a set of defined rules and standards that a healthcare organization dealing with Protected Health Information must follow. The Department of Health and Human Services in the US acknowledges that Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security rules set a national standard for protecting specific health records transferred and held in electronic form.
The physical safeguards for HIPAA include:
- Restrictions over transferring, reusing, removing, or disposing of any ePHI.
- Policies related to use and access to workstations and electronic media.
- Limited facility access and control with authorized access in place.
- Audit reports and tracking logs that record activities.
- Using unique user IDs, encryption and decryption, access control and automatic log off.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
It is a European law for digital data protection and privacy. Every organization dealing with digital data needs to adhere to the gathering, processing, and securing personal data. GDPR sets out seven basic principles:
- Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
- security, integrity and confidentiality
- Purpose limitation
- Storage limitation
- Data minimization
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)
It is an international standard to store, exchange and transmit medical images. It has been central to the development of the latest radiological imaging. It also incorporates standards for image modalities such as ultrasonography, magnetic resource imaging, computer tomography and radiation therapy. DICOM specifies five general application areas:
- network print management
- network image interpretation management
- imaging procedure management
- network image management
- offline storage media management
Finding and selecting the right PES development company that best fits your requirement is quite tedious and requires in-depth research. The following steps can provide you the direction to find a suitable PES development company.
Step 1: Increase Networking
Communicating with people who have experience in the field can give you their feedback and reviews. Put efforts to make connections with as many people as possible. Visit the websites of the suggested companies and look at their previous work. Past projects of the company can give you a clear idea of their abilities. Apart from companies’ websites, check out their social media handles, insights, blogs, work process, etc.
Step 2: Analyze the work profile
Once you have garnered a list of software development companies, start analyzing their work profiles—research the company’s methodologies to implement its projects. Analyze the working environment and their approach to work. Reading online reviews can also be a beneficial source of information.
Step 3: Shortlist
After performing all the research on the companies’ portfolios, shortlist the companies that you find suitable. Make a separate list and be prepared to communicate with them. Meanwhile, figure out your requirements and note the specific needs you need to discuss with the software development company.
Step 4: Communicate
After shortlisting, the time is to contact these companies and schedule a meeting with them. While communicating with the team, try to analyze the dedication and focus of the group. While discussing, talk about:
- the price structure,
- estimated time to get the work done,
- ask for resumes and experiences of the team that’ll be working on the project.
Step 5: Hire
After in-depth research and communication with the companies, evaluate all other factors necessary for the project’s development and select the most suitable one that best fits your business.
With the growing healthcare ecosystem, the life sciences and healthcare companies have welcomed the opportunity to integrate technologies and patient engagement processes to improve patient outcomes comprehensively. The life sciences industry is going ahead of core patient services to next-generation patient engagement solutions. The patient engagement platform has a lot to offer to patients, healthcare workers and organizations.
Patient engagement platforms are continually growing in demand. More and more healthcare organizations adopt this software and integrate it into their systems to achieve optimum results and productivity. Depending on the organization’s needs, expert developers can build a patient engagement platform with specific features. It is preferable to get the software customized instead of compromising on any requirement.
If you’re looking for a reliable partner who can convert your dream project into reality, hire a PES development company and efficiently get your work done. We at LeewayHertz, have the experience and expertise in developing customized patient engagement platforms. Get in touch with LeewayHertz Technologies experts and get the Patient Engagement Software designed for your healthcare business.
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