Tag: Elise Mortensen

Patient Engagement: How To Design Virtual Care Experiences for Long-Term Engagement

Elise Mortensen

By Elise Mortensen, head of growth, HTD Health.

We often think of healthcare as the direct communication between provider and patient in an appointment or clinical setting. However, most of what influences health outcomes sits outside of the doctor’s office: This includes individual health behaviors as well as social determinants of health such as social support systems, access to health education and timely care, physical environment, and financial resources.

As we think about building patient engagement, especially related to preventive care and long-term management of chronic conditions, it’s important to think beyond just the quality of clinical care being delivered. Generally speaking, “engaged” patients are those who feel empowered and actively involved in managing their own health. The specifics of what this looks like may differ by population or condition area, but patient engagement is driven by a few key themes:

– Patient activation: Do patients feel motivated to make choices that will positively impact their long-term health?
– Patient education: Do patients have the information they need to understand how their choices and behaviors impact health outcomes?
– Care navigation: Do patients understand how to navigate the complex healthcare system in order to find and access the care they need?
– Patient support: Do patients have social support systems to help them adopt and maintain positive health behaviors?

In an increasingly technology-driven world, engagement can be improved through strategic and human-centered design of experiences and platforms that help patients manage their health. The following sections outline user experience best practices that can be leveraged to improve patient engagement and influence care quality as a whole.

Patient Activation
Much of the literature around patient motivation and behavior change is built upon theories of behavioral psychology. In her book Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change, Dr. Amy Bucher highlights the different types of motivation that can influence human behavior. These range from controlled (extrinsically imposed “you should…”) to autonomous (intrinsically driven by personal motivations). Understanding patient motivation is key to human-centered experience design.

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