Healthcare consumer technology went from being something providers were meandering around into a sector that became a necessity for survival relatively quickly.
Looking ahead, it’s more important than ever for providers to find the right technology so that patients continue to stay loyal and it adapts to the ever-changing needs of patient engagement. Now that the market is flooded with digital patient engagement options, here’s how you can use them to jump-start patient loyalty.
Loyal patients want a provider that cares. They want to see their doctor as a friend that has their back. It should always feel like this, but it doesn’t for many patients. That’s where technology can help.
Let your patients know you’re there by keeping in touch with them before, after and in-between appointments with automated communication tools. Create new ways for patients to contact their provider if they have a question or concern, like digital messaging platforms or telehealth. And when it comes to patient responsibility payments, offer payment plan options so that they’re not having to worry about paying their medical bills.
When you’re in the patient’s corner, they’re willing to stick around.
Make Room for Improvement
Patient satisfaction surveys are a fantastic way to see where you stand on fulfilling your patient’s needs. Satisfaction surveys like HCAHPS are a good start, but you can go beyond that with post-appointment or surgery surveys on how well you did. Surveying the patient payment process and even the digital health platform you use is also another great way to see if patients like using the technology offered.
Patients appreciate provider surveys, because it shows that they’re looking to improve, value their patients’ insight and they’re for innovation… assuming the provider implements solutions to address opportunities for improvement. These surveys determine not only how well you’re doing, but what patients’ value. And depending on how you use that information to improve patient experience, it will also show if they will stay with you long-term.
Utilize Communication Tools
It’s safe to say many healthcare providers undervalue (or don’t understand) the digital communication tools they have at their disposal. Appointment and bill pay reminders are a must, but why not go beyond that? Offer follow-up messages a week after an appointment to see how they’re doing. As mentioned, include a patient satisfaction survey in that message to see how well you did so that you can continue to improve your patient experience.
It could be in the best interest of a patient to do their appointment at home, whether it’s due to coronavirus or another health issue. If you’re looking to get patients to use telehealth instead of in-person services, promote it. You could end up increasing telehealth registrations 7.5X like our client AmeriHealth did.
And if you have the capacity, create a monthly newsletter to share with patients via email or through the messaging integration on your digital health platform. You can share health tips, feature doctors at your center and include reminders about annual check-ups or flu shots. Patients will appreciate the updates and the reminder to schedule an appointment. Plus, it feels more personalized and localized and not something that screams automation.
These approaches go a long way to branding your practice as the neighborhood provider patients can trust.
The whole point of technology is to make our lives easier, not harder. If your patients are having to adjust to different platforms constantly or can’t get what they need, their patience will wane and they will move on to another provider.
So how are you staying connected with patients? Are you offering telehealth and other at-home alternatives? Does your engagement platform offer bill pay with multiple options? What about ways to interact with doctors and you as a provider? Do you offer numerous ways for patients to contact you? These are all questions to ask and consider when finding the right tool.
One platform more and more providers are using is a digital health platform, which can integrate all of these processes and more into one system, consolidating vendors for efficiency and cost savings. Patients can make patient payments, message their doctor, talk to their doctor using telehealth and schedule appointments all in one place.
The last thing you want to do is spend money on a system that isn’t user-friendly and patients aren’t using. A well-designed, patient preferred digital health platform solves both of those problems, which increases loyal patients, saves money and generates revenue.
It’s one thing to get patients to use your technology, but it’s another to motivate them to take charge of their health. But there is a way to do that by using psychographic segmentation.
Psychographics look at what motivates a patient to take action based on their values, attitudes, etc. PatientBond uses this approach in healthcare, creating five segments that represent different types of healthcare consumers. Certain psychographic segments are prone to using digital solutions, while others can be motivated to do so with segment-specific propositions and messaging.
When psychographic segmentation is used in unison with the PatientBond Digital Health Platform, it results in deeply engaged patients, which improves loyalty, but also market share, patient payments and health outcomes.
When it comes to patient loyalty, nothing beats in-person interaction. But healthcare technology tools, especially ones like a digital health platform, can augment and enhance patient engagement, making a difference in patient loyalty in the era of social distancing and beyond.