The use of remote healthcare technology was slow-moving up until coronavirus. Even with medical devices, wearables and AI gaining steam, there was nothing pushing them to the forefront.
A notable example is telehealth, which was only used by 5% of the general population according to PatientBond’s market research study pre-COVID-19. Now, telehealth on the fast track to playing a major role in patient engagement.
Telehealth is just one of the many technologies you can use to connect with patients. Here’s a quick look at some of these platforms.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is technology that makes machines mimic human behavior. This technology may seem a bit mysterious, because there isn’t solid clarity around a common definition; however, Andreas Kaplan and Michael Hainlein offer: “AI is defined as a system’s ability to correctly interpret external data, to learn from such data, and to use those learnings to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.”
AI is a great tool for healthcare. AI is being used to find treatments for all kinds of illnesses and diseases, including COVID-19. AI can also be used for messaging and completing other tasks that your staff may normally be stuck doing. By integrating AI in your practice to complete clerical or appointment tasks, you can save your practice valuable time and money so that staff can focus on taking care of patients.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
Augmented reality (a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view) and virtual reality may be examples of the latest technological advancements used in healthcare, but with the advent of COVID-19, these technologies could be in greater demand thanks to their hands-free capabilities.
Did you know that nearly one in six consumers own a wearable and one in five Americans use a fitness tracker or a smartwatch? These products have become the norm ever since the Fitbit tracker was first released in 2009.
There’s still regulatory uncertainty with wearables, how the data can be used and if the data can be used. Many providers have wearables of their own for patients to use with certain conditions, but mainstream wearables could still be part of the healthcare landscape in the future.
Online Educational Resources
There are plenty of patients who refer to Google before reaching out to their doctor these days. This can be a good thing if patients find the right resources before consulting with their doctor, but your center can be their main resource.
As a provider, try sharing helpful information on common illnesses and ailments (or even the latest information on COVID-19) through blogs, videos, infographics or even podcasts. Your practice can save time and resources by encouraging patients to self-diagnose, patients feel more empowered and valuable resources can go to patients needing immediate care.
Social Media and Online Reviews
31% of patients look at social media reviews before choosing a primary care physician according to PatientBond’s market research study and just as many people are willing to consider it. If you’re going to use social media, use it often and effectively. Post on a frequent cadence, ask patients to follow you in communications and encourage them to submit a review. A great way to get more reviews is to share a link after the appointment in post-op communications.
We predicted 2020 would be the year of telehealth in January not knowing what was ahead. Telehealth is quickly becoming the norm for patient engagement while also becoming a good source of revenue.
Patients are slowly coming back to providers, but with the uncertainty of the virus, they want options that are safe and flexible. That’s why there’s no better time to try telehealth. It’s a great option to continue to engage with patients, but also make the safety of your patients and staff a top priority. As telehealth continues to increase in adoption, it may soon become the norm.
How to Connect with Patients Using Technology
Now that we’ve learned a little bit about some of these technologies, you probably want to put some into practice. How can you do that effectively in a way to engage your patients? Here are our tips.
- Consistently Engage Patients: Out of sight, out of mind takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to remote patient engagement. When you aren’t seeing patients regularly, they either forget to connect or they don’t make it a priority. Consistently connect with your patients using messaging from various platforms and try using psychographic segmentation to amplify your efforts. Use touch points like appointment reminders, after the appointment or medical device data to make them relevant.
- Make Patient Communications Personalized: A generic message gets providers nowhere. Patients want to feel like they’re talking to a human being or better yet, their doctor. A great way to do this is through psychographic segmentation, a way of segmenting groups based on their attitudes, values, lifestyles and personalities. Depending on what psychographic segment that person is in, that determines what motivates them to take action. PatientBond uses this method to build market share and patient payments, but also has it integrated with the PatientBond Digital Health Platform.
- Utilize a Digital Health Platform: A digital health platform allows you to engage with patients at every stage of the patient journey by integrating multiple technologies like telehealth, virtual triage, bill pay, patient surveys, and even patient-provider match. The PatientBond Digital Health Platform does it all while being the only digital health platform to integrate these tools with psychographics. The integrations help you save money, build acquisition and loyalty and increase revenue while improving health outcomes.
Patients want to connect with you remotely more than ever and you can do it all with the PatientBond Digital Health Platform. Learn more about how you can start using it today.