Friday, May 11, 2007

Consumer-Driven Care - “Engaged Patients" as a Catalyst for Change

When Patents Are Emotionally and Intellectually Engaged in Their Care Everyone Benefits and the Right Things Happen

A new idea, “engaged patients,” based on the proposition that patients emotionally and intellectually engaged in their care are worth the return on investment in educating them, is bursting upon the practice scene. In other words, “engaged patients” are intrinsically valuable because they bring about quantifiable financial returns.

“Engaged patients” propel consumer-driven care. Becoming engaged in their care is why patients visit websites like the,, and Engagement is why the patient education video industry is so robust. Furthermore, go to and you can view educational videos on almost any surgical procedure or disease. YouTube and educational videos are part of a larger phenomenon – a visual educational culture Visual education, often computer-driven, is faster to absorb, easier to understand, and doesn’t require verbal literacy.

Michelle Sobel, Chief Creative Officer for Emmi Solutions, Inc, a Chicago-based company that produces interactive patient education videos prior to surgical procedures, explains why videos expressed in plain language with a voice-over, are so powerful,

“The engaged patient is more than an informed patient. The engaged patient is activated. She understands information critical to her health, communicates effectively and confidently with her clinical team, complies with instructions related to here treatment, and is positively transformed by her experience with care.”

As patient engagement increases, so do top-line and bottom-line payoffs, to wit.

• Patient Loyalty -- Engaged patients who understand what’s at stake through patient education are loyal. A Georgetown Consulting study has demonstrated informed patients are loyal. Hospitals and doctors who rank in the top quartile on loyalty measures have 80% higher earnings than hospitals and doctors in the lower quartile, (1) For hospitals, engagement means greater market share, for doctors, engagement doctors higher patient retention and more referrals.

• Operational efficiencies - Engaged patients able to tell their whole story, even to a computer, create efficiencies. Dr. John Bachman, professor of primary care at Mayo in Rochester, has written computer interviewing saves 4- 8 minutes per patient, creates a record justifying higher codes, and generates claims less likely to be rejected.(2) Engaged patients follow directions. Cancellations of procedures when patient don’t comply with pre-op instructions cost $2188 -- the average cost of a cancelled procedure .(3)

• Patient Safety – Engaged patients, alerted to possible problems during hospitalization or after surgical procedures, are three times more likely to recognize complications, such as hospital-acquired infections, which cost $54,000 more than in patients who such infections than those who did not. (4)

• Risk Reduction – Most nuisance lawsuit result from misunderstandings, not negligence. These misunderstanding may be a failure to understand informed consent – 44% of patients don’t know the exact nature of the operation they’re undergoing; 60-70% don’t read the informed consent form; and claims in which misunderstood informed consent is an issue have average awards as much as $ 1 million. (5,6)


1. Gallup Consulting Study. Hospital Network: Employment Engagement, Patient Loyalty, and Leadership Development,, accessed March 2007.
2. Bachman, J, The Patient-Computer Interview, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, volume 78, pages 67-78, 2004.
3. Paul J. St. Jacques MD and Michael S. Higgins MD, MPH, Beyond Cancellations: Decreased Day of Previous Surgery Delays from a Dedicated Preoperative Clinic may Provide Cost Savings, Journal of Clinical Anesthesia, Volume 16, Issue 6 , September 2004.
4. Connolly, C. “Data Shows Scourge of Hospital Infections,” Washington Post, July 13, 2005.
5. What Did the Doctor Say?” Improving Health Literacy to Protect Patient Safety - A Joint Commission Whitepaper, February, 2007.
6. American Society of Closed Claims Project,, Accessed, April 27, 2007.


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