Patients Want Trust, Commitment from Health Providers

stuartclark2Patient engagement: It’s a buzzword in Nashville, and across the nation, as health care and technology companies seek to empower patients to better understand and manage their own health.

How can a patient get optimal health care in the face of the inherent barriers of our nation’s system and such limited access?

The answer lies in gradually shifting our approach to health care to focus on improving the health of entire communities — a shift commonly called “population health management.”

In human terms, this shift means helping more people get and stay healthy through prevention, early detection and treatment.

In my view, creating a health-care system in which providers can spend more time building relationships with — and earning the trust of — their patients is key to the success of population health management initiatives.

Without individual relationships, trying to improve health is like trying to boil the ocean. But with them, it’s like trying to boil the ocean one bucket at a time.

I’ve seen this principle at work as the CEO of Premise Health. We’re an onsite health and patient engagement company that works with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to municipalities to improve the health of their employees.

Because we’re onsite or close by the workplace, where people spend much of their time, we have the ability to develop a real relationship with our patients.

And we have the luxury of time — Premise Health providers spend on average 40 minutes with each patient, the longest face-to-face appointment time in the industry.

Convenient access and longer appointment times — it sounds too simple to be the solution for a complicated health-care system. And certainly, truly improving the health of entire populations of people will take much more.

But trust is key any time you talk about patient experience or patient engagement. Consider: Our data shows that employees managed by Premise Health are healthier than those who aren’t, based on same-employer groups. Because our patients have a relationship with their providers, they know they have a place to go and a real partner when they’re ready for lifestyle changes. That type of trust and commitment makes a real difference.

Read the full article in The Tennessean.