The Ever-Important Metric: Communication

While 2012 was an interesting and dynamic year in health care with many moving and changing components, there was one thing that became abundantly clear: Patient engagement is going to continue to play an extremely important role in health care.

The new cost control law in Massachusetts law now requires patient decision aids to be used in healthcare settings in order to promote patient engagement and shared-decision making.

Patient decision aids are defined as an educational tool that helps patients understand and communicate their beliefs and preferences related to their treatment options, and to decide with their health care provider what treatments are best for them based on their treatment options, scientific evidence, circumstances, beliefs and preferences.

Additionally, participation in the Medicare/Medicaid Meaningful Use program requires physicians to focus on patient engagement as part of the criteria necessary to achieve meaningful use. The coming year will provide plenty of opportunity for the conversation to continue with the need for enhanced definition of patient engagement metrics by payers and providers, behind the scenes work to operationalize these metrics and ultimately implementation at the practice level.

Placing a proverbial flag in the ground in order to get your practice moving is key, but how do you decide where to start?

Why not make a resolution to start simply and break it down to the basics of communication? Communication is the basic core tenant of every relationship. Perhaps now is a good time to pause and review how well your practice communicates internally and externally with both physicians and patients.  Set your own internal metrics and strive for improvement in areas where you’ve identified deficits.

Perfecting communication will certainly benefit your practice, your patients and increase employee and patient satisfaction but also by setting the groundwork for success with patient engagement metrics.

To learn more about the importance of communication, join us on February 8, 2013, for an exciting program titled “The Impact of Effective Communication on Patients, Colleagues and Metrics”.  For more information visit

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