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Tips for Patient Engagement Barriers

by | Mar 25, 2022

Not only does anemic patient engagement lower the quality of care, but it also comes with a high price tag. For example, it is estimated that that nonadherence to treatment plans causes about 100,000 deaths or $100 billion in medical costs – both considered preventable*. 

5 Common Blocks to Patient Engagement 

Communication Misfires 

Condition: Patient does not feel heard. 

Remedy: Communication techniques like BATHE: 

Background: The full story in the patient’s words. 

Affect: How this issue impacts the patient’s life. 

Trouble: How this affects the patient emotionally. 

Handling: What the patient has about it. 

Empathy: “This all must be hard on you.”  

Condition: Patient does not understand next steps. 

Remedy: Provider uses the “teach back” method by asking the patient to repeat back important information or instructions. 

Trust Issues 

Condition: Patients (especially some minorities) are apprehensive or intimidated by the clinician or providers in general. 


  • Reassurance that the patient’s needs are a priority, and the provider keeps their word consistently.  
  • Communication shaped by “cultural competency” to foster a compassionate environment.  

Socioeconomic Factors 

Condition: The economic situation of the patient makes it difficult to follow a care plan. 

Remedy: Provider acts as an advocate for the patient, making adjustments for a feasible care plan. Connect the patient with community resources that help them be successful – assigning the patient a care manager may also help. 

Healthcare Knowledge 

Condition: Patient lacks motivation to follow the care plan because they don’t understand their own health issues enough to see its importance. 

Remedy: Use teaching aids such as take-home materials, diagrams, models, and videos to explain the relevant concepts. Encourage the patient to learn more about their health issues. 

Records Access 

Condition: Patient isn’t aware of what’s happening with their health over time. 

Remedy: Make an effort to supply patients with records either by hard copy or by helping them access the patient portal regularly. 

*Source: US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health 

To learn more about practice solutions for common patient population problems, call 800-594-6115, visit, or contact us by email at 

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