Two Ways to Increase Your Patient Engagement

Healthwise Communications Team

The whole Jetson idea of the future hasn’t really panned out. We don’t yet have flying cars, full-blown robot maids, or widespread jetpack use. But these days we are in fact using life-changing technology in our everyday lives. Exhibit 1: Coffee makers that allow you to immediately guzzle a fresh, steaming mug of coffee upon waking up. Exhibit 2: Low-profile vacuum cleaners that do their job independently and occasionally allow costumed cats along for the ride. Exhibit 3: Digital wizardry that enables effective personalized and automated communication campaigns.


Patients may be on their own for coffee and cleaning, but your organization can step into the future with personalized communication campaigns. Studies show that personalizing health care information increases patient engagement and successful outcomes.1 Here’s how.

Automating and Personalizing: A Path to Better Outcomes

Automating your patient communication system takes the pressure off providers. Doctors with hundreds of patients simply cannot track every patient and reach out individually at each possible touchpoint. Instead, automated systems send patients personalized information at the right time. This approach is especially effective for many health conditions, including pregnancy, because of their predictable timelines and milestones.

Using an automated system with integrated health education makes a difference. When hospitals set up information bundles for common health conditions, they ensure all patients get personalized, up-to-date patient education. The right education and information system integrates seamlessly with the hospital’s electronic medical records (EMR) system, which means providers don’t have to pull information piecemeal from various sources and the information they share is consistent. If a provider needs to share more details with a particular patient, they can be confident the patient education they pull matches what they’ve already shared.

The information itself is also important. In one study, 41% of respondents said lack of clarity in the information and instructions they were given led to unplanned care.1 Furthermore, 33% of respondents said they could have avoided follow-up care if they had understood what to do after initial treatment or had been able to follow the instructions they were given.

UPMC’s Story

Between books, articles, and well-meaning acquaintances, there is so much information available about pregnancy and childbirth! It can be overwhelming to navigate. Providers at UPMC, one of the country’s largest academic medical centers based in Pittsburgh, were looking for a more efficient way to share educational materials with patients beyond hard copies.


UPMC partnered with Xealth® 2, a digital health platform that integrates with both Epic and the MyUPMC patient portal so that information can be distributed electronically, either direct from the clinician workflow or automatically based on information about the patient. Xealth is populated with trustworthy, up-to-date health education from Healthwise (among other vendors), as well as information produced in-house by UPMC. Embedding the education means that providers no longer have to jump from system to system seeking the health information they need. UPMC providers can now easily prescribe educational materials, and patients can access them through the familiar MyUPMC patient portal. It also ensures that patients receive consistent information regardless of which UPMC location they visit.

To address the maternity messaging overload, UPMC curated, created, and automated personalized bundles of maternity information that's delivered digitally at key points throughout patients’ pregnancies, triggered by appointment type. How well did it work? UPMC’s patient engagement rate has increased dramatically to 59% on the more than a million educational materials for maternity they’ve shared so far. Find out more about how UPMC found its success through automating and personalizing health information here.

For more about how personalization impacts patient engagement and success, read about Duke’s Smoking Cessation Program here.

1 https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-role-of-personalization-in-the-care-journey-an-example-of-patient-engagement-to-reduce-readmissions
2 UPMC has a financial interest in Xealth.