Shot of a caregiver sitting with a senior patient in a nursing home

The Difference Between Patient Experience and Patient Engagement

If you work in the healthcare industry, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the difference between patient experience and patient engagement. Patient experience involves someone’s experience within the healthcare system and patient engagement refers to how they participate in their overall care.  In short, patient experience can be passive in nature whereas patient engagement typically implies physical action.

There are many components of the healthcare process that can make a big impact on the patient experience. The ability to receive quick and accurate information about their health is an example of patient experience. As is the quality of communication between the patient and healthcare provider. A positive experience can make a big impact on the patient’s health outcomes.

To qualify as patient engagement, they must demonstrate certain behaviors that reflect their active participation in the healthcare process. The person may engage by interacting with doctors, nurses, staff and other people who work in a healthcare facility. Or they could interact with certain types of technology or within the health care system instead of engaging with others. A patient logging onto their doctor’s website and scheduling an upcoming appointment is an example of patient engagement. Other examples include reviewing their medical information online, tracking or making notes about their behaviors or symptoms, or ordering specific medical tests.

Overall, both patient engagement and patient experience are important since they put a strong focus on the person receiving healthcare. Many people, especially the patient’s family, and medical staff are involved in the overall healthcare process. When patients cooperate with their provider and actively manage their health, the easier it is for them to take advantage of their available health care services. Assessing different aspects of the patient experience and engagement can give healthcare personnel a more accurate view of the quality of care patients receive and the effectiveness of certain programs and initiatives.