Quality healthcare outcomes depend upon patients’ adherence to recommended treatment regimens. Patient non-adherence can be a pervasive threat to health and wellbeing and carry an appreciable economic burden as well. In some disease conditions, more than 40% of patients sustain significant risks by misunderstanding, forgetting, or ignoring healthcare advice.
While no single intervention strategy can improve the adherence of all patients, decades of research studies agree that successful attempts to improve patient adherence depend upon a set of key factors. These include a realistic assessment of patients’ knowledge and understanding of the regimen, clear and effective communication between health professionals and their patients, and building a trusting relationship.
Sharing your treatment recommendations with patients in a format that is accessible and digestible can help reiterate important information relayed during your sessions. This information, which can include important resources, goals, and next-steps for your patients, can be communicated to your patients quite effectively through a patient “Care Plan.”
Healthie is an all-in-one practice management platform and mobile app designed to help nutrition and wellness professionals manage their business and build relationships with clients. Healthie’s Care Plans feature enables wellness providers to build a treatment plan for a patient which can be instantly shared within Healthie. Some items that can be included in a Healthie Care Plan include:
- Nutrition recommendations
- Activity recommendations
- Personalized patient goals
- And more
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When logged into their Healthie Patient Portal, patients are able to view this information, tab through recommendations, and check-off progress towards their set goals. Beyond sharing treatment recommendations, Healthie’s Care Plans enable a provider to track each patient’s progress, indicating when additional support is needed and ensuring increased treatment adherence.
Collectively, these aspects of Care Plans help to increase patient adherence to treatment recommendations, which drives improved health outcomes over time.
Using Nutrition Care Plans for Patient Adherence
Utilizing Care Plans in practice has extensive benefits for both providers and patients. For healthcare providers, creating a Care Plan enables treatment recommendations to be quickly shared with a patient, as part of a streamlined workflow.
For providers who are part of an organization, leveraging Care Plans also serves as an easy way to standardize treatment protocols — creating a consistency in the level of care across healthcare providers.
On the patient-side, Care Plans first and foremost allow treatment recommendations (and resources) to be communicated in a patient-friendly manner. Treatment recommendations can also include written summaries and additional resources, which help to improve a patient’s understanding. Both improving patient knowledge, and increasing patient-provider communication, serve as strategies in improving patient adherence.
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Here are some key benefits to utilizing Care Plans with your patients:
1. Keeps treatment recommendations visible and easily accessible
While working together, engagement between providers and patients is important and helps to build a strong rapport. However, oftentimes patients can be overwhelmed absorbing (or even writing down) information and recommendations. This can detract from the overall session, and ultimately negatively impact a patient’s ability to work on recommended health changes.
Creating and sharing a Care Plan post-session with patients is an effective way to reinforce the concepts discussed. Whether it’s a written summary of your treatment recommendations or additional resources for them to review, the care you give to your patient in session can continue afterward.
Healthie’s Care Plan features automatically organizes and structures plans in a way that is easy for patients to review. Update a Care Plan (or create a new one) at any time, and have the new set of recommendations instantly shared with your patient.
2. Allows for individualized health and wellness care
In the very first session together, it’s very likely that your patient has a specific wellness goal or several health goals that they would like to work on. Being able to translate those goals into smaller, actionable steps and incorporating a way to evaluate their progress towards these goals is crucial.
Creating a Care Plan allows you to provide individualized care that is tailored towards each patients’ needs. You can weave your patients’ goals into the Care Plan, to create a plan that is manageable and feasible and will allow patients to make solid progress in between appointments.
Additionally, patients’ progress is rarely a linear process. As you work with patients’, their Care Plan might change after each check-in you have. Having the ability to easily update their Care Plan to fit your patients’ needs for each week makes it easier to customize the plan to be most productive for your patient.
3. Enables patients to take an active role in their health care
Patient engagement enables patients to actively participate in their own health and wellness. In lieu of providing one-directional healthcare recommendations, implementing a patient-engagement strategy allows healthcare professionals to receive input (and information) from patients and to work collaboratively to create a wellness plan. In a two-way flow of information, healthcare providers are able to provide personalized care, and patients are more likely to adhere to these recommendations.
By sharing a Care Plan with a patient, including actionable goals they can work towards, patients instantly become active participants in their care. Marking off goals that they’ve managed to accomplish adds a level of accountability, and also serves as a strong indicator of patient progress. More than looking at metrics alone (such as weight) both providers and patients are able to see progress over time as patients actively make progress towards their Care Plan goals.
With consistent progress towards wellness goals and consistent adherence to treatment recommendations, patients are able to achieve long-term health improvements.
Creating a New Patient Care Plan in Healthie
Healthie reduces the administrative time of corporate wellness professionals by over 40%, and enables real-time communication within an organization and with clients. To set up a free starter account, click here.
To create a new Care Plan for a patient, navigate to their patient profile, and click on the “Care Plans” tab in the upper right corner. If there are no Care Plans there already, you will see a button to create a new one.
Within the new Care Plan, you will be prompted to fill out a variety of fields, including:
Care Plan title & Care Plan description
Be sure to give your Care Plan a title – this will not be visible to the patient. The Care Plan description, however, is visible to the patient. Use this space to provide an overview of the Care Plan, how long they should adhere to their plan (i.e. until the next appointment, for a month. etc), and even the health outcomes that can be achieved by following Care Plan recommendations.
Nutrition & activity recommendations
Providing nutrition and activity recommendations allows patients to see a guideline of what habits they should create, in order to achieve their goals while working with you.
Including these recommendations in your Care Plan not only reinforces them but gives you an opportunity to expand upon what was discussed in the appointment so that patients can review post-session and begin to incorporate it into their new lifestyle.
If you leverage the Healthie Documents feature, you can easily include resources and documents you’ve already created into a patient’s Care Plans. Healthie’s Care Plans feature allows you to upload any document already in your library to a patient’s plan, so they have easy access to it and can review any time.
This would be a great place to include meal plans, recipes, ebooks, or basic educational materials with patients. Uploading the document to a patient’s plan avoids it getting lost in their email or computer and therefore patients contacting you looking for another copy.
When you add a goal to a Care Plan, it will automatically sync with Healthie’s Goals feature, so that patients can access goals from their Care Plan from either feature. The goals added to your Care Plan will display within the Care Plan in your patient’s account — it will not replace any existing goals that they already have. They will be able to view ALL GOALS within their “Goals” tab within Healthie.
Creating wellness goals is one thing, but monitoring a patient’s progress requires the right tools. Setting goals within Healthie allows wellness professionals to create time-specific goals for each patient. Through their patient portal, patients are able to receive reminders of their goals, check-off completed items, and easily see their completion progress for each goal.
Adjust journaling settings for this patient
If you would like to customize any of the food metric journal settings for an individual patient, you can do so within the Care Plan. Adjusting settings here will override any global or patient group settings previously in place.
Healthie’s food and metrics journals can be customized using settings that determine what metrics and factors regarding their meal patient can track. For example, Healthie has an “Eating Disorder” setting that hides metrics like BMI, weight, BMR, body fat, etc. but still allows patients to log their meals, reflect on hunger cues, and monitor their emotions surrounding their meals. Leverage these settings within Healthie to create a custom journaling experience that supports each individual patient’s needs.
Once you activate a Care Plan for a patient, they will receive an email notification, letting them know they have a new Care Plan. They will be prompted to log into their Healthie Patient Portal, where they will be able to click “Care Plan” from their dashboard menu. Here, your patient can tab through any activity recommendations, nutrition recommendations, goals, and documents that you have included in their plan.
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