The COVID-19 pandemic forced patients and healthcare providers alike to embrace new ways to stay in touch, communicate, and seek and provide advice – which in turn catalyzed the adoption of digital tools.
While patients may not have thought of requesting them, the vast majority appreciated the convenience of digital tools. A survey found that 90% of the people those who used digital health tools during the pandemic rated their experience as good. Another poll found that 77% of Americans were very or completely satisfied with their virtual health visits.
A large part of the shift speaks for the metatrend of the digitized customer experience. Today’s healthcare patients are used to ordering pizza through a website, checking their bank accounts with a native smartphone app, and interacting with a touchscreen kiosk to pay for the bus. We get personalized marketing, bespoke discounts, and even our massage therapists send us automated texts when it’s been a while since we’ve booked a session.
In this context, it seems ridiculously outdated to come to a clinic in person for blood test results.
“Consumers expect to interact and transact online” says Jack Brock, Head of Healthcare Provider Practice at Cognizant. “They are used to smooth, intelligent and digitally supported experiences, such as recommendations based on purchase histories or safely moving funds via a mobile app. That is the standard that healthcare providers have to meet. “
It is no longer time for healthcare to step into the 21st century. Patients today say they value digital tools – but it won’t be long before they expect it and fret about vendors who aren’t adopting the technology. About 60% said that using digital health tools increased their trust in health care providers.
If you’re still trying to cope with the digital program, here are five ways technology can help you increase your patient engagement.
1. Track patient needs
Digital health platforms store the complete records of every patient in the same place, including test results, hospital visits, allergy information, etc. Integrate all of your data from different touchpoints and channels so that the doctor who is making a personal or telemedical appointment or arranging urgent care has all the information that he needs to make the right medical decisions.
Digital records can be more secure than paper records that can be viewed by anyone in the building – as long as you choose trusted platforms with a high level of security.
“Aside from the actual legal requirement to be HIPAA-compliant, today’s patients read about data breaches almost every day, so they are very aware of the risks.” says vcita CEO Itzik Levy. “That’s the real reason why no matter what healthcare business management platform you use, HIPAA compliance needs to be built in as part of cybersecurity defenses. It simply gives the people you care about, additional security. “
2. Trouble-free scheduling
The hassle of booking a physiotherapy appointment, finding an appointment with your favorite pediatrician or arranging a fountain check is one of the most common complaints from health customers.
Nobody has time to call the medical center at 8 a.m. to get one of the few emergency appointments available that day.
Scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling appointments online eliminates the friction and saves patients from waiting for the phone call or playing email ping-pong to schedule a mutually convenient time.
3. Integrated reminders
Clinics can use digital, built-in reminders to send an email, push notification, or text message to remind patients that it has been a year since their last Pap scan, or that Tommy’s Tetanus booster vaccination is due next week.
The whole process is automated so you don’t have to rely on the memories of your own employees. Automated reminders help reduce no-shows and late arrivals, and make life easier for your employees and your patients.
Everyone lives busy lives, so it’s easy to forget an appointment you made two months ago. Patients appreciate a polite reminder that appears on their screen or in their inbox.
4. Personalized content
It’s not just the tools, it’s what you do with them. Use them to keep in touch with patients between appointments, build engagement, and build a personal relationship.
Send automated, personalized health tips such as: You can also share bespoke promotions like an introductory discount offer, bundled therapy packages, and more.
“Organizations now need to invest people, time, and money to build on this momentum and expand and improve the tools and platforms they use to communicate with and care for patients.” says Stuart Henderson, global life sciences leader for Accenture. “But technology alone is not enough because companies must continue to involve patients directly in order to meet expectations.”
5. Self-service portal
Patients want to be empowered to make their own decisions and manage their own health care. You can check your account balance in the middle of the night, why can’t you check your scan results too?
Because of this, you need to offer a self-service portal where users can review test results, request repeat prescriptions, check the progress of transfers, and much more.
Self-service also enables patients to access after-hours care via chatbots and widgets so that they can diagnose themselves, decide the urgency of their problem and receive advice on health situations such as wound care or a mild sore throat.
Better patient engagement starts with the right tools
Today’s patients are both consumers and recipients of care. They are used to choices and choose their provider based on the services you offer.
Technical advances such as online appointment scheduling and automated reminders, self-service portals for patients to manage their care, relevant and useful content, and an integrated platform that brings together patient data across channels and touchpoints are the way to increase patient loyalty and loyalty.
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