Good compliance and patient engagement are two objectives in the healthcare world that converge more than one would think. Recent health trends have created patients more invested in their own health and willing to work with care providers to meet their objectives. This is outstanding for medical professionals looking to create a solid foundation for their patients and keep them as healthy as possible. However, it is all too easy to get caught up in a fad and make poor decisions, so another burgeoning aspect of patient engagement centers around correcting common misconceptions and getting individuals back on the right track.

In contrast, compliance is a process that happens beyond the perception of patients. As I’ve discussed in the past, an increase in sharing data also increases the need to secure systems and ensure that information is not compromised. However, safely giving patients access to their own data can help empower healthcare providers and patients alike.

While the mass exchange of data, both internally and to patient portals and other healthcare institutions, creates more points where it can be stolen, it also leads to opportunities to educate patients and involve them in the process. The increase in IoT wearables for patients that can track biological metrics also contributes to patient engagement as well as research. Some of these wearables, despite being an ever-present aspect of the lives of some individuals, do not provide data to the people that use them. Freeing up access to this data increases the number of ways that a patient can help sustain their own health.

This is, in many ways, the central premise of patient engagement. There is no one way to instill a desire for self-improvement in patients. The only thing that healthcare providers can do is give them the freedom and the tools to monitor their own health. Patient portals, for instance, give individuals access to their own records, allowing them to do the legwork of tracking their progress over time. Other systems may remind patients to adhere to medication schedules, or help work them through things like physical therapy.

It then falls to providers to achieve good compliance in order to safely give patients leeway to create the foundation for good health. In a competitive industry, a healthcare organization can fall behind if they do not provide a positive experience for patients—to say nothing about what can happen if compliance is not met.

These care providers stand at a crossroads, and they must decide in what ways they will innovate to improve patient outcomes. Compliance should not be a process of checking off boxes for the sake of staying in business—it should be leveraged as a strategic tool to reevaluate aging systems and promote engagement among patients. There are a plethora of other benefits as well, and savvy organizations can use compliance as an opportunity to rethink the way they conduct IT, saving costs and setting up better agility in the long term.

In short, the technology exists to help patients take control of their lives—but it’s up to organizations to adopt it in a safe way that still remains compliant. It may sound strange to some medical professionals to fixate on technology in this way, but the ideal of good patient engagement can only be reached if the systems behind it function seamlessly.