“If client engagement were a drug,
it would be the blockbuster drug of the century . . .
and malpractice not to use it.”
-Leonard Kish- Neuroscientist turned Healthcare entrepreneur
Multiple studies have shown that client engagement leads to better training outcomes, and it has been identified as a critical component for a successful training plan.
For example, a study conducted with Minnesota-based primary care clinics shows that patients with low engagement levels cost up to 21% more than patients that were classified as “engaged.”
Client engagement can also drive client satisfaction, which is instrumental in increasing retention and in staying competitive in a market that shows more and more characteristics of a consumer-centric industry.
But what exactly is client engagement?
“Client Engagement” can be defined as activities by the client facilitated by resources provided to them, aiming to promote behaviors and decisions that improve training goals.
Engaged clients are actively trying to improve training goals by seeking information and engaging in healthy behaviors.
What can trainers do to improve client engagement?
According to various studies, some key elements can be used to increase client engagement for better training outcomes. These include:
- Client Education
According to Deborah T. Gold, Ph.D., and Besty McClung, MD, RN, there is a correlation between client/patient education and compliance. Low levels of client education can have adverse effects on goals related outcomes and lead to increased healthcare costs. Well-educated clients, on the other hand, show higher levels of engagement and program adherence.
A study conducted by Schaffer and Tian compliance increased up to 19% after six months of treatment/training when patients were provided with educational material as opposed to a 22% decline in compliance without education.
Apart from better compliance, well-educated clients seem to be more engaged in their health care and have better results, which leads to higher client satisfaction.
However, according to a study, by McGuire MC, clients forget 40%–80% of the information given when they walk out of your door. Besides that, almost half of the information was not remembered correctly.
Therefore, it is critical to provide clients with resources that help them to review the information needed to successfully surround themselves with a healthy lifestyle to reach their goals.
- Client-Reported Outcomes/Self-Monitoring
“Frequent monitoring and feedback may be the most effective strategies for improving adherence.”
According to a study by the University of Kentucky, self-monitoring can improve exercise adherence and results of exercise program significantly and seems to be more effective than monitoring by others. Another study by the Cleveland Clinic showed that allowing clients to record data specific to their training programs can help to improve client engagement significantly.
One reason for this might be the active involvement that self-monitoring requires versus being monitored by others. The client must add their data regularly and frequently and is “confronted” with his/her behaviors whenever he/she does this.
Also, self-monitoring can be done more frequently and consistently, which can improve the benefits of training interventions and might help to create long-lasting behavior change.
The implementation of self-monitoring can be supported by the utilization of digital tools. The fact that the market for fitness trackers is booming helps self-monitoring in the medical context: Many clients are used to tracking and self-monitoring as consumers and are open to doing this as part of a training plan as well.
According to a survey conducted by CDW Healthcare in 2018, 70 percent of the participants of the poll said they have become more engaged with their care in the past two years due to the usage of a digital tool. In 2016, only 56 percent reported being engaged with their care.
According to Leonard Kish, an expert on client engagement, a critical success factor is two-way communication. Also included is an exchange of information. It’s a two-way street:
“One person cannot be engaged; there has to be sharing between two parties. Finally, engagement is dependent on a client being on a journey toward their own goals.”
That’s why client feedback is one of the main drivers of engagement. Apart from that, it can help trainers in many other ways:
- Feedback provides insights on the client’s progress and indicates if the exercise program should be updated. Regular data exchange can help to optimize training plans over time.
- It creates a touch point between client and trainer and can thus help to build a stronger relationship and increase retention.
- The client must track their sets and reps to provide feedback. Self-monitoring (see above) is a proven behavior change technique that can help to improve compliance.
- It can keep the client engaged in doing their exercises and in reporting their progress.
- It can help to reinforce encouragement by reminding the patient.
How can WebExercises help you to take your Client Engagement to the next Level?
WebExercises has been developed with the intent to provide clients with the resources they require to complement your exercise programs.
Our exercise videos and education resources allow clients to understand how to perform their exercise programs.
In 2016, we added the WebExercises Client Portal to further increase engagement and compliance. It allows the client to log their sets and reps and provide feedback on pain and perceived exertion, which will be displayed on the provider Rx management page instantaneously. We released an improved version based on the feedback from our WebExercises Provider Community and our experiences and data collected since 2016.
To increase transparency on the trainer side, we also developed a dashboard that will allow you to track the Ex Rx send to clients and the clients’ engagement level. The dashboard is live in your provider portal.
We also developed a library of client engagement and education handouts and videos that can be found in the resources section of your provider portal and that you can use to further engage or educate patients that are currently in your care or to re-engage previous patients.
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