In healthcare, care plans are being leveraged as a way to share wellness interventions with patients, in order to provide patients with constant access to recommendations from their provider in-between sessions. Care plans can include resources, goals, and next-steps for patients, all available in a format that allows them to understand complex recommendations and treatment protocols. Recording these recommendations allows health and wellness providers to review patient progress over a period of time, and reassess with patients at each appointment. This allows for a more collaborative relationship and enables patients to take an active role in their own health.
Healthcare providers can leverage care plans to share a physical (or electronic) overview of health and wellness interventions with their patients. Being that they are customizable, care plans can be adjusted to provide recommendations for patients receiving nutrition or chiropractor care, physical therapy, or even those who are managing chronic diseases. With complex conditions, having a written protocol helps patients adhere to the steps of their intervention and reach positive health outcomes.
By emphasizing transparency and cooperation in developing shared care plans, your nutrition or wellness practice can reshape and improve its relationship with patients.
5 Steps to Creating Wellness Care Plans
1. Create a plan template and personalize as needed
When working with multiple patients or in a multi-provider organization, you may already leverage general care plan templates to streamline workflows. Care plan templates are a great tool for saving time and creating consistency in the care you provide across your organization.
However, be sure that when using a template your care plan doesn’t become too general. Add specific information to each treatment plan so it is individualized to each patient. In order to make progress towards their health goals, it is important that each care plan is tailored to the patient. You can weave your patients’ goals into the care pPlan, to create a plan that is manageable and feasible and will allow patients to make solid progress in between appointments.
Additionally, patient progress is rarely a linear process. As you work with patients, their care plan might change after each check-in you have. Having the ability to easily update their care plan to fit your patients’ needs for each week makes it easier to customize the plan to be most productive for your patient. At the end of the day, each patient is an individual, and customizing the care plan for their specific needs makes your treatment protocol more realistic and feasible for them to implement.
2. Provide realistic nutrition and wellness recommendations
Oftentimes patients can be overwhelmed trying to absorb or write down information and recommendations. This can detract from the overall session, and ultimately negatively impact a patient’s ability to work on recommended health changes. Therefore, a care plan should be more than just a summary of the information you went over during the appointment. Care plans provide an opportunity for providers to break down complex treatment protocols into digestible recommendations for patients.
Care plans allow providers to clearly outline nutrition and wellness interventions, so patients can always have access to this healthcare advice and give patients a clear understanding of each step to take towards a positive health outcome.
When you create a care plan with a patient, be sure to communicate the purpose of the care plan, and how you will use it together. Your patients should understand that it is a tool you will both leverage when working together and not just a document for them to review each week. Care plan acts as an outline of their health interventions and should be followed closely and carefully until the next follow-up appointment. The plan will act as a guide lifestyle changes leading to positive health outcomes, as well as a way to measure progress over long periods of time.
3. Set clear wellness goals aligned with your care plan
Beyond making some steps towards change, health goals are achieved when patients can make consistent habit-forming changes. Making a collaborative effort towards goal setting shows your patients that you care about their progress and future success. Goal setting has been shown to be effective in helping adults achieve changes in their dietary or physical activity behaviors. Additionally, goal setting interventions that included support from a provider were much more effective than those in which patients set goals and worked on them individually.
Having the ability to monitor these goals through patient care plans has proven to be instrumental in sustainable patient progress. Each care plan provides an opportunity to assess goal progress and adjust for the coming weeks. More than looking at metrics alone (such as weight) both providers and patients are able to see progress over time as patients actively make progress towards their care plan goals.
4. Leverage additional resources to elevate recommendations
An additional advantage of creating physical care plans is that you have the ability to attach outside resources to the patient’s plan. Documents such as meal plans, recipes, exercise regimens, or educational resources can be included as an additional part of the plan.
These documents or videos help elevate the care you provide to patients, by expanding interventions beyond the care plan. Extra documents, such as recipe ideas, give patients concrete examples of how to incorporate recommendations into their daily lives. They are an additional form of support for patients, as they can act as a jumping-off point for introducing new habits into their routine.
5. Share your care plan with your patient electronically
The last, and most important, step in care plan creation is to share the plan with your patients. However, sharing the plan with patients goes beyond just sending it to them within their patient portal. In some disease conditions, more than 40% of patients sustain significant risks by misunderstanding, forgetting, or ignoring healthcare advice. However, almost 75% of patients said that if they could access their health information online, they would have a better understanding of their health.
How to Use Healthie’s Care Plan Feature
In a traditional sense, patient portals have allowed patients to access their records, such as notes, recommendations, test results, and other documents. Allowing patients to access important information regarding their health is effective, and research shows that patients who used an online portal with their healthcare providers were more likely to receive preventative tests and screenings.
With advances in software, patient portals can now enable a two-way flow of information between patient and healthcare provider. With the ability to share care plans through the portal, patients can connect with their healthcare provider more frequently and conveniently. Patients are also able to securely share their information, such as progress updates, sync their wearable healthcare devices, enter patient logs, keep a virtual food journal, and more. This two-way flow of information within a secure Patient Portal represents the future of healthcare.
Within Healthie, you can easily create individualized care plans for patients, using data from chart notes, metrics, and goals already in your patient’s profile. You can…
Make nutrition and activity recommendations
Providing nutrition and activity recommendations allows patients to see a guideline of what habits they should create, in order to achieve their goals while working with you.
If you leverage the Healthie Documents feature, you can easily include resources and documents you’ve already created into patient’s care plans. Healthie’s Care Plans feature allows you to upload any document already in your library to a patient’s plan, so they have easy access to it and can review any time.
When you add a goal to a care plan, it will automatically sync with Healthie’s Goals feature, so that patients can access goals from their care plan from either feature. The goals added to your care plan will display within the care plan in your patient’s account — it will not replace any existing goals that they already have.
Adjust journaling settings
If you would like to customize any of the food metric journal settings for an individual patient, you can do so within the care plan. Adjusting settings here will override any global or patient group settings previously in place.
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