The health care field continues to expand, and the job outlook for registered nurses is growing faster than average, with a 12% projected growth rate from 2018 to 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While the future of health care relies on nurses, it also relies on patient engagement. The system can’t fully and effectively function if health care providers and patients aren’t both actively engaged in making decisions regarding patient care.
The growing use of technology in health care can make it easier for patients to take a proactive approach to health care and their own care-driven decisions. Several current and projected trends in efficient care strategies can offer solutions for nursing professionals looking to utilize more effective patient engagement solutions. Nurses working toward improving patient engagement should have strong technical knowledge as well as traditional nursing skills, such as critical-thinking and communication. Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing can help nurses strengthen the skills and competencies needed to be successful in implementing patient engagement solutions in this technology era.
What Is Patient Engagement?
Patient engagement consists of health care providers and patients actively working together to make medical decisions and improve health outcomes. Health care facilities have incorporated more technology and technology-driven systems, enabling providers and patients to have a more collaborative care experience. These technological advancements can provide a solution for patient engagement, because as patients have more access to their medical information, they can be more proactive about making important decisions. Increased patient engagement benefits the health of patients as well as the efficiency of medical facilities, as it improves patient outcomes and educates providers.
Patient Engagement Trends
As technology becomes more accessible to patients, patient engagement solutions become more integral to health care. Facilities incorporate patient engagement through different means, such as mobile apps. Some apps are developed for certain organizations while others are medical utility apps. Many telehealth options are accessible through apps and enable patients to receive care from their homes. Through telehealth, patients can participate in live videoconferencing or store-and-forward videoconferencing with their health care providers. Telehealth apps also provide a platform for remote patient monitoring in which providers can monitor and log patient data.
Other patient engagement trends like electronic health records (EHRs) have positively impacted patient care and the patient-nurse dynamic. EHRs enable nurses to provide efficient care through an electronic medical system that tracks and shares patient records with patients themselves and their health care providers. EHRs provide improved organization of health records and enable patients to view clinical documentation.
Other trends poised to provide more solutions for patient engagement in the future include the increase in prescribed wearable medical devices and more sophisticated chatbots. These advancements will provide for greater communication between nurses and patients. Nurses can use these trends to build more proactive health care strategies that can ultimately improve patient health and decrease patient health costs.
The Enhanced Skill Set of Nursing Professionals
To implement patient engagement solutions, nursing professionals need to develop an advanced skill set. Nurses should be committed to deepen their technological knowledge as they increase their interpersonal communication skills and compassion for patients. Having a knowledge of technological systems is as important as other fundamental competencies, like leadership and decision-making skills.
While nurses constantly strengthen their abilities through experience, they can learn and develop necessary advanced skills by pursuing higher education. Regis College’s online Master of Science in Nursing enables nursing students to choose from five specialization opptions in the health care field. Each specialization approaches patient engagement solutions in different capacities that reach patients of all ages and stages of life. The specializations are as follows:
- Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (AGNP). AGNPs primarily administer care to aging patients. They specialize in end-of-life and palliative care. For patient engagement, they may use equipment that takes vital signs from a distance and then send it directly to the clinicians.
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). This concentration prepares students to deliver care and engage with patients of every age throughout their life spans. FNPs work directly with families and provide care for children as well as adults. An example of how they could engage with families is encouraging patients to track their sleep through an app and monitoring their sleep patterns.
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP). PNPs home in on health care needs specifically associated with infants and children. They can practice patient engagement with their pediatric patients in person, and communicate with their patients’ parents and guardians using telehealth.
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). PMHNPs provide care for patients with mental health concerns via strategies like psychotherapy. To engage with patients, they may offer telepsychiatry and administer care from a distance.
- Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP). This concentration focuses on administering care to women, including obstetrical and gynecological care. WHNPs can communicate with their patients about ongoing health concerns and provide resources for issues related to women’s health through mobile apps.
While each specialization prepares nursing students for a different track, they all provide nurses with the knowledge of how to implement patient engagement solutions in their careers.
Contribute to Patient Engagement Solutions
By pursuing an advanced degree, nursing professionals can develop an enhanced skill set and learn how they can approach patient engagement in different capacities. Nurses can advance their education, increase their technological skills, and commit to improving patient outcomes through earning a Master of Science in Nursing. Learn more about how Regis College’s online Master of Science in Nursing program can enhance a satisfying career in health care and how you contribute to patient engagement solutions.
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Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Use of Electronic Health Records
HIMSS, What Is Patient Engagement?
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Telemedicine and Telehealth
Regis College, Online Master of Science in Nursing
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses
World Health Organization, Patient Engagement