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Patient Engagement Can Cut Costs, Improve Outcomes

Initiatives can decrease hospital visits, cut morbidity and mortality, up treatment adherence

MONDAY, Feb. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Patient engagement initiatives can decrease costs without sacrificing quality care, according to an article published Jan. 22 in Medical Economics.

According to the article, physicians are expected to reduce costs and accomplish more at each patient visit; be responsible for a tremendous medical repertoire; and meet meaningful use objectives, pay-for-performance measures, quality incentive measures, and medical home elements, all in the context of a shortage of primary care physicians.

The article emphasizes the value of patient engagement, similar to customer-empowerment initiatives employed in other industries. Patient self-management represents an important element of the chronic care model, designed to guide higher-quality chronic illness management in primary care. Patient engagement initiatives have led to decreases in hospital visits, reduced morbidity and mortality, and improvements in treatment adherence and quality of life associated with chronic diseases. Scheduling appointments; managing correspondence, refills, and prior authorizations; and facilitating communication with the medical team are areas for patient engagement. Many patients embrace this responsibility and perceive this as better-quality care.

“Although barriers will exist for individual patients to adopt this system and its associated technologies, we must focus on developing an infrastructure that supports and encourages active patient participation in their health care,” according to the article.

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