Let’s face it: patient volumes were not at all where we imagined they would by the end of 2020, at least prior to the pandemic. If anything, many providers thought they would go up.
But with the incoming vaccine on its way to healthcare consumers, there is hope for a better year in terms of patient volume. It’s up to providers to reimagine the way they engage patients so that returning to their local health center is safe, easy and convenient.
Reinvest in Marketing
When the going gets tough, marketing is typically one of the first things to go. The problem with that is the fact that marketing is one of the most important aspects of growing your market share and patient volume.
If you’ve let your marketing efforts slide over the last year, now is the perfect time to reinvest in them with the COVID-19 vaccine rolling out. Start by focusing on regular and consistent messaging across all of your digital channels including email, social media, your website, mobile apps, etc. Use these platforms in tandem to support your current marketing campaigns. You can even use technology like PatientBond’s Digital Health Platform to share your COVID vaccination processes and updates with patients.
If you haven’t utilized your social media much at all, that needs to change. A point person for managing your social media is a good start and if you can afford it, social media ads can go a long way. The same thing goes for email and text communications. Implement a regular newsletter that shares your current offerings, blogs you’ve written for your website and pertinent health news.
These efforts are meant to re-engage your current patients and attract new ones so that you can retain and grow the patient volume you’ve lost. Without them, your health center will continue to be negatively impacted by the current pandemic.
2020 was a great opportunity for healthcare providers to expand their technological capabilities, especially with patient engagement, so why not keep the momentum going?
If you haven’t added one already, a PatientBond’s Digital Health Platform allows you to manage all of your patient interactions in one digital space, from before they make a visit all the way up to paying their bill and beyond. It’s one capability providers are hard-pressed to ignore. And the HIPAA-compliant telehealth capabilities built within it are icing on the cake.
Or maybe you’re looking to go a step further with engaging with your patients by integrating wearables, remote monitoring and at-home diagnostic tests into their care plan. Not only do these tools improve health outcomes, but they are also gaining popularity among healthcare consumers.
In the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationwide study of healthcare consumers, 5.4% of the general population used home testing and diagnostics and 9.7% used remote monitoring before the pandemic hit. Now, 10.3% of healthcare consumers plan to try home testing and diagnostics and 13.6% plan to try remote monitoring, and the increasing trend will likely continue.
Healthcare was already trekking toward the use of digital technology with patients, but coronavirus sped up universal adoption that would have taken years to build in a matter of months. It’s only a matter of time until it becomes the norm.
All of these options are great if you want to pull healthcare consumers your direction, but if they aren’t strongly motivated to see their doctor, you may still come up short on your patient volume goals.
This is a big reason why psychographic segmentation is an important part of what PatientBond does. Providers that use PatientBond have their patients complete a quick survey that looks at their psychographics, which are their beliefs and values that determine their motivators. From there, PatientBond groups these healthcare consumers into one of five segments, which providers use to guide their messaging, how often they engage with specific healthcare consumers and what communication channels they prefer.
Unlike other consumer segmentation methods, psychographic segmentation enables an understanding of the consumer on a deeper level that not only is compelling but also engaging. So instead of going to your competitor, the patient is more likely to go to you because they feel understood, even if they aren’t the most health-conscious person. You see them and value them for who they are and where they are on the health & wellness continuum. You can’t be more compelling than that.
These are just some of the effective strategies used to help retain and grow your patient volume. There may be other methods that you discover as you tackle this challenge, but when working with our customers like AmeriHealth, we find that these three areas help the most.