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Increasing Patient Engagement

  Increasing Patient Engagement

    Bowdoin Street Health Center's recent recognition as a NCQA level III patient centered medical home (PCMH) is a testament to the health center's commitment to providing care that puts the patient front and center. Improving patient experience and engagement with medical care is a fundamental pillar of the PCMH and is the focus of one of the latest initiatives underway at Bowdoin. 
    The importance of a collaborative relationship between the medical care team and patient seems intuitive, particularly since patients are in charge of making the decisions that matter most for their health- what they eat, how much they exercise, and whether they take their medications. Working with patients to set health goals and come up with action plans to achieve them is an important way of engaging individuals in their medical care, increasing empowerment, and ultimately improving health outcomes.
    The patient engagement project at Bowdoin aims to help patients with goal setting and achievement with these outcomes in mind. First, we will learn from our patients through surveys and focus groups how engaged they currently feel with their medical care and what barriers to engagement exist. We will then enlist medical staff to explore with patients their health goals and plans to achieve them. Medical assistant "health coaches" will work with patients to stay on top of their goals by touching base at each visit and through telephone conversations between visits. Progress will be documented in a dedicated part of the online medical record. 
    We hope that this intervention will empower our staff and patients to work together and improve health in the community we serve .