There’s a saying that honesty is the best policy, but in healthcare, transparency is the best policy.
Patients want a provider they can trust and depend on when they need it most, whether it’s a parent taking their toddler for a late-night visit to urgent care or an older relative who is weighing their knee surgery options. Whatever their situation, they want to know the provider they picked for their healthcare is the provider they want to stick with for the long haul.
Unfortunately, the term transparency can give providers the wrong sense of what patients actually want. The bottom line is that patients aren’t wanting a lot of unreasonable things and it’s very easy to provide the service and relationship they’re looking for without downsides. If anything, integrating more transparency into what providers do helps retain patient loyalty while improving the work they do best: care for people.
For years, healthcare consumers have paid for bills without knowing the costs associated with them upfront, also known as surprise bills. That concept is fading each year with price transparency laws and most providers have their costs listed openly on their website.
If providers are required to post these prices, why not make it as easy as possible? Three-quarters of healthcare consumers are looking up these costs ahead of time, so clearly it is something they are eager to have. It may be daunting to share this information if it hasn’t been done, but patients will choose the providers who share this information versus the ones who won’t.
Clear and Consistent Messaging
Let’s look at what we’ve learned from COVID-19: clear and consistent messaging with patients goes a long way. In a world of misinformation, there’s plenty of it to find these days. Patients want facts backed up with research and data. If they change, they want a good reason as to why. Trying to hide what used to be the case isn’t going to cut it because they can see right through it.
What’s actually helpful is offering insight into changes, whether it’s health protocols, a care plan or a treatment, and clearly communicating to patients as soon as possible in an accessible way. That’s what a patient wants.
Secure Patient Data
PatientBond talks a lot about patient engagement, but what about the security measures put in place to utilize it? Healthcare providers had enough to deal with in 2020 with coronavirus, but they also had hacks to worry about. Healthcare hacks went up nearly 42% in 2020, adding additional stressors to an already difficult year. And on average, healthcare workers have access to 31,000 sensitive records on their first day in a new role.
In any sector, it should be a top priority to tighten up security procedures, but it’s especially important when it comes to patient data. A HIPAA-compliant platform to manage digital patient engagement, like the PatientBond Digital Health Platform, is absolutely necessary, and if you are a smaller practice without an IT department in place, that needs to be addressed. Security processes should be put in place within your workforce so that certain issues can be prevented like phishing, data leaks and more. It never hurts to incorporate a regular schedule of updating passwords and implementing dual authentication for extra security. The same absolutely goes for patients as well.
It is tedious to do these things, but it is well worth avoiding the stress and financial headaches of security breaches. It also gives your patients much more faith and trust in you when they see that you're taking their data seriously. In today's technological world, this is one of the best ways to build trust and loyalty with your consumers.
Build on Psychographics
Doctors are strapped for time with patients more than ever, so there are only so many opportunities they can build a strong relationship with their patients. So when a patient gets generic messaging from their provider, they don’t get the sense that the provider is tailoring their messaging for them. It doesn’t feel genuine and they’re less inclined to work with them.
Providers can generate more loyalty if healthcare consumers feel as if they’re understood in a transparent way, which is why providers are beginning to integrate psychographic segmentation into their messaging. This patient segmentation model looks at patient attitudes and values to determine how to engage with a patient. Under the PatientBond psychographic model, there are five types of healthcare consumers, each with a unique engagement strategy to motivate and activate behaviors. Providers use these insights to determine how to interact with patients in a way that’s most appealing to them. The result is higher patient engagement thanks to more relatable messaging.
Providers can take this approach to a whole new level with the PatientBond Insights Accelerator™. The accelerator takes millions of data points and patient insights to steer marketing efforts in an effective way using a simple dashboard. With little effort, providers can generate better results on their patient loyalty that feels genuine to the patient.
So while a patient might move on from their provider because they’re tired of feeling unattached, providers that implement these tips can not only keep their patients but attract others in the process.