Engagement is About What Happens When Nobody’s Watching

More than 300 healthcare executives gathered at The Engagement Conference in February 2017 to learn about “the E-Factor” -- how to get engagement, how to sustain it, and how to use it to deliver better clinical outcomes for patients. This insight series captures highlights from the conference and shares practical tactics for engaging every stakeholder at every level. Part one will seek to level-set our understanding of what engagement is and what it isn’t.

“Engagement is not the same as satisfaction nor happiness,” explained Craig Deao, MHA, Studer Group keynote speaker and author of “The E-Factor: How Engaged Patients, Clinicians, Leaders, and Employees Will Transform Healthcare”. “Engagement is when stakeholders are emotionally invested in and focused on creating value for the organization every day. They give discretionary effort when no one is watching.”

In the same way, engaged patients are seek information, monitor their wellness, participate in self-care, and provide feedback to providers. They feel empowered to take greater responsibility for their health. Today, 40 percent of patient deaths are caused by modifiable behavioral issues while those with chronic diseases take just 50 percent of prescribed doses. Meanwhile, 50 percent of patients don’t follow referral advice and 75 percent don’t keep follow-up appointments.

Clearly, the healthcare industry can’t fix the cost crisis without engaged patients. Engaged patients have better outcomes. And yet, the very people who can have the biggest impact on our patients—our employees and clinicians—are frequently disengaged themselves. Turnover is on the rise, and physicians are burned out.

It can be a challenge to engage physicians, but the return is worth the investment. Research has shown that engaged physicians deliver 51 percent more inpatient referrals, are 26 percent more productive, and bring in an average of $460,000 more annual revenue.

Studer Group’s Engagement Model shows how engagement cascades throughout an organization to all four major stakeholder groups – leaders, employees, clinicians, and patients and families. Engagement is a cascade, as depicted on The Engagement Model. If we want engaged and loyal patients, we must find a way to engage employees and clinicians first. And that starts with leaders because engagement, at its core, is about trust.

Engagement is a two-way street. Engaged patients replenish our own engagement. When a clinician celebrates progress with a patient, it renews his own sense of purpose. When a supervisor hears a thank you from her employee, she too reengages.

Stay tuned for Part 2 as we take a closer look at leader engagement. In the meantime, you can also view the full conference proceedings infographic.

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