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Is It Better to Educate or Engage First?

We had an interesting conversation in the office today regarding patient engagement and patient education. We were questioning whether an engaged person becomes more educated on managing their health or does an educated person become more engaged.

I came from the angle that an engaged person wants to learn more because the subject is meaningful to them and they are motivated to action. I took a personal take on this. I received the results of my annual physical and needed to learn everything I could on how to manage a couple of issues.

Ellen took the opposite view. She felt that only because I was educated on the importance of my diet to my overall health was I engaged to learn so much. She felt that giving people the facts prior to receiving any health news “T’s” up the engagement.

Because I needed to be right, I started googling articles about which is more important. As it turns out, we are both right. It depends on when the education and engagement occur. Education before receiving the news makes you more engaged when you receive the information. However, when no education is available prior, the news engages you in a profoundly different way.

Thankfully, getting a patient educated and engaged (or vice versa) greatly improves patient outcomes. According to Medicom Health, a study of 30,000 patients across 40 Minnesota-based primary care clinics showed that “patients shown to have the lowest patient engagement levels cost from 8 percent to 21 percent more than the patients who were actively engaged in their health.”

There are so many tools available to engage and educate patients before, during and after their appointments. We need to focus on getting these tools to healthcare professionals, their staff, and their patients in order to control our healthcare costs. Halo Health has a host of solutions that are easy to implement and are very cost effective.

To learn more or to weigh in on our debate, contact me at

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