What is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement is a wide-ranging term used to describe how consumers interact with the medical services and products they receive, including their care from health plans, and from doctors, nurses, staff in hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare facilities.
There is more and more data these days that shows that patients who are more actively involved in their healthcare experience have better health outcomes and incur lower costs. As a result, many public and private healthcare organizations are employing strategies to better engage patients, such as educating them about their conditions and involving them more fully in making decisions about their care.
As technology improves and becomes more decentralized, users (in this case patients, healthcare providers, and medical staff) are beginning to expect patient experiences to fall in line with the way they order goods online, or hail cars from a ridesharing service.
So, What About Patient Engagement Systems?
A patient engagement system, or PES, is a patient engagement platform that enhances communication between providers and patients. In layman’s terms, PES’s are the engine for running a successful medical practice.
PES’s may appear to resemble a patient portal, since both offer messaging and email communication between providers and patients. However, a true patient engagement system offers more than what a simple patient portal offers. In general, patient engagement software combines various aspects of medical software, such as medical billing, practice management, customer relationship management (CRM), and marketing automation.
The market for patient engagement software is growing fast. In fact, the global patient engagement software market is expected to reach $32.2 Billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 18.5% between 2017 and 2023.
Should You Build or Buy a Patient Engagement System: Making The Decision That’s Right for Your Business
The following buyer’s guide will help you determine whether you’re ready for your own patient engagement software.
Running a build vs. buy software analysis starts by understanding what a product actually needs to do. Numerous factors go into consideration to decide to develop a patient engagement system. After all, it’s a huge app, requiring a lot of integrations, with a Patient Portal, Prescription software, EHR systems, and a lot more.
When we’re looking to make a buy or build software decision, we don’t rely on a complex matrix or framework. Instead, we look at two straightforward factors: Who you are, and the development costs.
Who Are You?
Companies considering patient engagement software will fall into one of the following three categories — small practices, midsize practices, or large practices. Prior to evaluating patient engagement software options, you’ll want to determine which category your business falls into.
Small practices are comprised of one to five physicians. These practices will most likely be looking to deploy patient engagement software in order to grow their patient bases. If you are a small practice, then most cloud-based patient engagement platforms will be able to suit your needs, as they these platforms typically offer subscriptions on a per user basis. This ultimately leads to cost savings for small practices with the goal of growing.
Midsize practices are comprised of six to 25 physicians. These practices are interested in increasing the value that they provide to existing patients, while at the same time adding new patients as well. Most midsize practices have fairly straightforward requirements that can be met by most cloud-based systems, but with features like online appointment scheduling, appointment reminders, and patient education, these practices are able to improve the patient experience significantly.
Large practices are comprised of 25 or more physicians, and are usually multi-specialty clinics or have a large number of providers. These practices should be looking exclusively at scalable, comprehensive solutions that integrate effectively with the existing technology that they use. A feature like integrated bill payment systems has huge impact in terms of making these practices’ revenue cycles more efficient.
The Bottom Line… Literally
The core issue here is that development is just the tip of the iceberg. The app lifecycle consists of development, deployment, and maintenance; most people only focus on the development, so the cost of the latter two phases surprises them.
No matter the size of your medical practice, it’s imperative to account for not only the development costs prior to launching your Patient Experience Software, but the costs that will be associated with maintaining the software moving forward into the future.
Before implementing patient engagement software, it’s in your best interest to consider the following important factors:
- Basic Functionalities
- Advance Features
- Certifications & Compliances
- Third-Party API Integrations
- Size of the development team
- Development Platforms (Android/iOS/Web)
Essentially, you should fully understand the needs that you are looking to have the patient engagement software fulfill, and all of the costs that could potentially impact the development of your solution.
Koombea has a team of developers that are deeply experienced when it comes to building and implementing MedTech solutions of all kinds.
If you’re looking to build your own patient engagement system, contact us today!