Patient engagement is the process of involving patients in their health and well-being journey, taking into account their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors towards their health management, to encourage active participation in effectively managing their condition. When patients are engaged, they are more likely to follow treatment plans, make healthier choices, and have better health outcomes.
Supporting patient engagement is a key component of any successful digital health solution, but a one-size-fits-all approach will not deliver the results required. Patients' needs are different, impacted by a variety of environmental factors and individual preferences when it comes to how they engage with their healthcare. Therefore, creating a solution that is adaptable and can create personalized patient experiences is where the pharma will find true success in achieving patient engagement with their digital health solution.
In this article in our Affinial Digital Health Platform Learning Series, we look at patient engagement, why it’s so important, and how Affinial can help create solutions that can deliver the optimal patient experience to patients to support engagement and adherence.
The growing importance of patient engagement in digital health solutions
In the rapidly evolving field of digital health, patient engagement with a solution has emerged as a key component with which to measure success. Patient engagement data provides valuable insights into how patients interact with digital health solutions and derive benefits from them and is critical to any digital health solution being effective in the real world. As a result, pharma is increasingly recognizing the importance of patient engagement data in digital health solutions.
Effective solutions that increase engagement levels lead to patients experiencing an enhanced sense of control and are motivated to take proactive measures when it comes to their health and well-being. Engaged patients are more likely to attend healthcare appointments, come prepared with better knowledge, establish stronger relationships with healthcare providers, and feel empowered to seek clarifications around parts of their treatment they may not fully understand. Higher levels of engagement also result in higher levels of therapy adherence and persistence with therapy which can help provide improved outcomes for patients.
Understanding how patient engagement evolves over time
Patient engagement levels are not static – they fluctuate as patients move from first being diagnosed to learning to live with their conditions, and different experiences need to be served to them at different stages in this journey. The patient engagement journey can be broken down into four main stages.
The patient is first diagnosed and has not yet acquired effective coping strategies to manage their new situation.
The patient becomes hyper-attentive to every signal in their bodies and is unsure what is 'normal' and sees any symptoms as worrying.
The patient has accepted their health condition and has a basic understanding of their illness. They adhere to the treatment regimen prescribed by their clinician but are not yet completely autonomous in the management of their condition.
The patient learns to accept their condition, understand that they don't have to be defined by their illness, and are better able to cope, developing workarounds to minimize the impact their condition has on their lives.
Using Affinial to create solutions that support patient engagement as their needs evolve
As the patient moves through the patient engagement journey, it’s crucial to be able to offer a tailored and personalized experience. We have ensured that Affinial facilitates the creation of customizable, adaptable solutions that provide personalized support to help secure and maintain active engagement with the digital health solution and the overall therapy. If a solution cannot provide this experience, users will stop engaging, solutions rapidly lose their value, and companies are often left needing to remove the solution from the market (and start again).
Affinial provides UI and UX health components that follow the best practice design principles of pre-built health services and are built to be flexible and adaptable across different users, interfaces, and environments. This includes the management of medications, creating shared care plans, gathering patient-reported outcomes, integrating connected devices, leveraging all forms of biometric information, coordinating care effectively, offering predictive analytics & insights, and supporting real-world evidence strategies, all of which support patient engagement.
Patients managing conditions will engage with solutions in many different environmental contexts and impactful digital solutions need to be able to cater to this reality. For example, a solution for an elderly person managing a life-long condition should differ significantly from one for a child that also involves a parent carer. From the user experience design to the tone and language used to the strategies used to support patient adherence and support, Affinial’s configurability and customization capabilities are critical to enable all the possible contexts.
The Affinial platform facilitates the configuration of personalized patient care plans that include medication assignments, schedules, medication intake windows, and reminders about scheduled activities. It also allows for tailored automated interventions to support patients when their adherence to their treatment plan falls off.
Consideration must also be given to how different people within the same age groups, gender or country will have different preferences when it comes to preferred format of content consumption (with different formats appealing to different cohorts). To address these challenges, Affinial’s reusable digital health services enable solutions to be custom-built and support multiple content delivery formats (video, audio, image, text) in a way that optimize the content for the preferred device type of the patient. Affinial also provides the ability to easily monitor content usage and automatically recommend and assign content that is most relevant to that specific user.
In conclusion, the diversity of patients' needs and preferences means a personalized approach is essential to foster lasting engagement throughout their health journey. The Affinial Digital Health Platform allows pharma to create solutions that can adapt to patients' evolving needs, providing a tailored experience at each stage of the patient engagement journey. Through Affinial's customizable and flexible features, patients can receive the support they need, helping them thrive and achieve an enhanced quality of life while managing their conditions effectively.
Be sure to follow our learning series on Affinial, in which we are taking a deeper look at several features of our platform, including:
- How Affinial provides the building blocks for creating customized, regulated solutions
- The Return on Investment (ROI) for pharma of using Affinial to create digital health solutions
- How Affinial helps ensure compliance with ever-evolving cybersecurity requirements and keeps patient data safe
- Developing Affinial's behavior engine: The role of dynamic nudges in therapy adherence
If you would like to learn more about how Affinial helps pharma companies create customizable, tailored digital health solutions that support patient engagement, get in touch with us, or request a demo of the platform with one of our digital health experts