The Difference Between Patient Experience and Patient Engagement
In the ever-changing world of healthcare, it can be hard to keep up. With patient care at the forefront, we strive to do better, we believe patients deserve better, and we’re committed to innovating until we can deliver better. In this quest to provide the best care possible, we’ve coined new buzzwords to explain what it is we’re doing and who it benefits.
Somewhere along the way in all the excitement, we’ve created so many new terms that we’re starting to use many of them interchangeably. Patient experience and patient engagement are perhaps two of the most popular, and most important. In both cases, the concept is not new, but efforts to understand and perfect them are growing.
Experience and engagement are defined in numerous ways with slight differences. The most simplistic way to think about the difference is this: experience is typically a passive event that happens to patients and around patients. Engagement is something that happens when a patient is an active participant and decision maker in their own care. There are opportunities for both to occur before, during and after care is given. In both cases, healthcare providers and patients play an important role.
Examples of Patient Experience vs. Patient Engagement
- How easy or hard it is to get an appointment with a provider
- How much time the provider spends listening to the patient and answering questions
- How cold or warm, loud or quiet the waiting room is
- How the other patients are being treated by office staff
- Patients and their families participating in health education, health literacy, and wellness activities
- Patients who access and use online personal health records
- Patients who adhere to their care plans
- Patients who participate in feedback initiatives
Engagement is a choice that patients make, and often with a poor experience, patients are less likely to engage. This is important because research has proven that patients who are engaged in their own health are more likely to achieve better outcomes. As we strive to improve healthcare, understanding the difference between experience and engagement, and pursuing effective strategies to measure and positively impact both are vital for continued success.