Patient engagement, it’s not straight forward

February 26, 2018 Simona Nucera

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Patient engagement, it’s not straight forward

Patient Engagement is a broad term and is used to describe a wide range of initiatives. A quick search of the term results in MCM efforts such as patient advertising, social media, patient awareness, patient education, patient self-management and even wider efforts such as patient centricity. So, even as a starting point, it can be difficult to navigate the landscape, however, its most common use is in relation to Patients’ Engagement with their health.

Defining Patient Health Engagement

‘Patient health engagement is a process that involves patients’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards their health management. At the end of the process, patients are co-producers of their health, which enhances their satisfaction with the healthcare system, as well as increasing their personal responsibility.’

Learn More: Request the full Exclusive whitepaper  "Understanding Patients' Health Engagement" to understand what Patient Health Engagement is.

Focusing on improving Patients’ Health Engagement empowers patients to take an active role in decisions and management of their health, giving patients a central role, where patients shift from passive consumers of healthcare to being responsible drivers of their own health. Patients who are more engaged demonstrated improvements in quality of life, clinical indicators, better adherence to treatment, improved lifestyle, reduced symptoms, increased interaction during meetings with health professionals, fewer visits to A&E, fewer nights spent in hospital and reduced readmissions.

It’s a Process, But it’s Not Straight Forward

Despite being described as a process, it’s most certainly not a linear one. Patient Engagement is a process that is best captured by the Patient Health Engagement (PHE) model, which describes four primary levels of Health Engagement that a patient can be in at any one time: Distress, High-Alert, Managing and Thriving.

Each level describes how a patient can become more engaged in their health by tackling how they are feeling (emotional), acting (behavioral), and thinking (cognitive). Patients can move dynamically between levels, in that change does not have to occur over time nor, if it does occur, does it have to be in a linear level-by-level fashion. A patient does not necessarily begin at Level 1 (Distress). Each patient’s Health Engagement is different and they can move both up and down the levels of engagement depending on their individual circumstance.

Each level of engagement involves its own challenges and difficulties that need to be overcome. In order to assist patients in transitioning from any one level to the next, patient support programs need to focus on providing patients with specific emotional, behavioral or cognitive support, delivering support and interventions unique to their current level of engagement and individual circumstance.



Request the full whitepaper "Understanding Patients' Health Engagement" which includes:

  • Defining Patient Health Engagement – and understanding the 6 different concepts that are commonly confused
  • The 4 Levels of Patient Health Engagement – how patients move dynamically between each level
  • Meeting Patients' Shifting Expectations
  • Patient Stories – How to support patients' needs in relation to their level of engagement


Click here to download the first whitepaper of our Digital Behavioral Change Series "Using Digital Behavioral Change Interventions to Improve Therapy Adherence"