Patients are more disengaged from matters concerning their health than ever before. In a study conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions in 2012, it was reported that one in three patients are not likely to take preventive health action, have little to no interest in healthcare and are reporting less need for healthcare. The patient disengagement rate went up from 2008’s 23 percent to 34 percent in 2012.
The Deloitte study has also reported an increase among “passive” patients. About half of healthcare consumers are more likely to take a passive stance toward healthcare. They simply rely on physicians for all their healthcare decisions and are content with standard care.
This is backed up by a study conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago in 2013, which reported that around 71 percent of patients prefer to let their physicians make their medical decisions. In addition, the number of “active” patients has decreased. From 2008’s 51 percent to 44 percent in 2012, only two in five people actively participate in managing their health by finding their way into the healthcare system.
A 2012 Harvard Business Review post written by Gianna Ericson and Augusta Meill offered three reasons for the marked decline:
- Most people are purpose-driven and only seek healthcare when something is wrong.
- Most people are not proactive healthcare decision-makers. And even if they are, they don’t have the tools to make the right decision when the need arises. The healthcare system requires them to absorb too much technical and specialized information to make difficult decisions.
- Most people do not make medical decisions on their own. Instead, they rely most heavily on family and friends in their support system to make healthcare decisions.
Admittedly, many psychological and environmental factors contribute to a patient’s stance on healthcare. To improve patient engagement, healthcare providers need to recognize that engagement is a complex and multifunctional process. To truly engage the patient, providers must first see the world through their patients’ eyes, then earn their trust as the best and most qualified medical and dental health practitioners.
For more information about improving patient engagement, speak with the healthcare marketing consultants at Practice Builders.