Male Patient Engagement: Improving Men’s Health Outcomes

Improving male patient engagement is a struggle for many providers who find that men are much less likely than women to seek care, whether it be for a specific health concern, preventive healthcare, or standard annual exam.

Consider the following alarming statistics concerning men’s health outcomes:

  1. Men have a higher death rate than women for 10 of the 11 leading causes of death in the U.S.

  2. The life expectancy for men (76.4) is 5 years shorter than the life expectancy for women (81.2).

  3. Up to 50% of men don’t follow their physicians’ recommendations regarding filling a prescription, taking a prescription as directed, or keeping follow-up appointments.

  4. Sperm count in Western countries has fallen by over 50% in less than 40 years.

  5. For every female death by suicide, there are 4 male suicide deaths.

Men’s Health Network provides these explanations for “The Silent Health Crisis” men are experiencing:

  1. “A higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage.

  2. Men make ½ as many physician visits for prevention.

  3. Men are employed in the most dangerous occupations, such as mining, firefighting, construction, and fishing.

  4. Society discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys.

  5. Research on male-specific diseases is underfunded.

  6. Men may have less healthy lifestyles including risk-taking at younger ages.”

Improving Male Patient Engagement

June is Men’s Health Month.  Men’s Health Month presents an opportunity for healthcare facilities to address the epidemic of poor male patient engagement.  Men’s Health Network offers many ideas for promoting Men’s Health Month and improving male patient engagement and men’s health outcomes, including:

  1. Host a health fair on your campus or at a local church or community center.

  2. Offer free preventive health screenings (consider bringing these to your male patients at their workplace, by partnering with a nearby business center).

  3. Distribute brochures and use social media to educate male patients about men’s health issues and preventive healthcare, as well as promote any men’s health events you organize.

  4. Encourage employees to wear blue on National Wear BLUE Day, the Friday of Men’s Health Week (which is the week leading up to Father’s Day each year), to raise awareness about men’s health issues and the need for regular check-ups and male patient education.  Share pictures on social media using #ShowUsYourBlue as your hashtag.

In addition, hospitals should educate male patients about their payment options.  Costs may deter male patients from seeing a doctor, and they may not realize that they could be eligible for free or low-cost screenings through their insurance carrier, Medicare, or financial assistance programs.

Healthcare facilities should also make the issues of improving male patient engagement and men’s health outcomes top priorities all year long.  A great example for providers is the work of Dr. Paul Turek (an international leader in men’s health who boasts a 90+% patient engagement rate).  Dr. Turek’s blog lists his suggestions and rules for improving male patient engagement.

Men’s health outcomes affect not only the men and boys in all our lives, but also their families and the women who love them.  Through improving male patient engagement providers can benefit families and their community by improving men’s health outcomes, all while boosting revenue (in the form of more appointments kept by, and more preventive screening tests administered to, male patients).

You can also find ideas for promoting other health observances throughout the year here, and a detailed calendar of this year’s health observances and recognition days here.