Successful healthcare is arguably most effective when patients feel a personal connection with their provider. Yet, the recent 2017 HealthLeaders Media survey examined the many challenges organizations are having with building a culture of patient experience excellence.
The survey found that one of the largest reasons healthcare organizations stumble when creating an effective patient experience program is the difficulty changing organizational culture.
However, there are segments of the healthcare industry that are suited to adapting their approach to the patient experience: urgent care clinics (UCC).
“I think urgent care clinics are realizing that they need to shift their focus to a customer-centric approach - not a big shift in thinking as we are seeing this in retail, finance, and all other customer to consumer areas,” said Trevor Anderson, vice president of customer success with PatientBond, a company with solutions to change healthcare consumer behavior.
“The medical field is catching up with what we’ve already seen in consumerism over the last 10 to 15 years. Since urgent care centers have always had the most in common with retail outlets, they are really adept at making these shifts. As a result, they are moving away from the usual in-and-out service and becoming a place where patients seek out available commodities, such as flu shots, regular screenings, and immediate urgent acute care.”
Building a relationship with patients is key to surviving the shifting and crowded urgent care landscape. Click here for a case study on one 13-location UCC chain and its solution to increase outreach and improved collection rates.
The main issue that many urgent care centers face is how to effectively make this transition, particularly when the physicians and staff are already so busy.
“For many urgent care centers, the owner is also the doctor who is meeting with patients,” said Anderson. “I was speaking with one owner who said, ‘I’m just so busy. For years, I’ve tried to figure out how to connect with my patients individually after each visit to make sure they are feeling better, with only so many hours in a day its simply impossible ’”.
This is where technology can help. Modern solutions can help urgent care centers connect one-on-one with patients after their visit through thank you notes, follow up texts and surveys. They can get alerted immediately through email, text, or dashboards when a patient needs a quick follow up call. They can track social media and respond proactively to negative comments, send tailored education messages to encourage follow-up visits, and send a “thank you” or surveys to patients through their preferred communication channel, whether that’s an email, text message, or phone call.
“You can reach out to every patient to ask about their wellbeing and whether or not they need to have a conversation in the event things aren’t going well. Then, you can filter down to the five patients that really need extra attention,” said Anderson. “While you’re creating a bond with those five patients, you’re also maintaining a connection with all of your patients and letting them know you care. They don’t get a response from every patient, but they hear from a lot of patients who say, ‘I’m doing fine, thanks for asking.’ And a small response from people who say, ‘Yes, I would love a call back to further discuss my condition.’”
It’s important to identify an urgent care’s specific needs when shopping for software – as not all EMR’s have the functionality that allow for the agility/shifts required for UCCs.
“Everyone in PatientBond has worked in software long enough to see a lot of solutions that don’t live up to what they expected when it was sold to them – as they later prove to be either ineffective or require a lot of maintenance,” said Anderson. “We built the PatientBond solution with all of our past experiences in mind. Dynamic messaging functionality allows us to personalize each engagement at scale to drive behavior change and provide immediate feedback to the clinic, nurse, or owner of the office where we’re working. We can text the nurse on call, send an email, or generate an automated phone call. And we also share daily reports which all of our urgent care centers find critical in order to track and perform patient follow-ups.”
A technological solution like PatientBond can provide the personal touch that’s essential when trying to connect with your patients once they’ve left your four walls.
“My focus is to understand each customer I work with and cater their PatientBond deployment to their needs and the needs of their patients,” said Anderson.
“I believe success with any digital engagement program starts with a personal touch and my goal is to help them connect with their customers using the same philosophy.”
Click here to learn how PatientBond’s personalized solution helps urgent care centers:
- Improve patient satisfaction scores through “real time intercept” and individual follow-up to a negative survey
- Automate follow-up visits, consistently and effectively, throughout a patient’s lifecycle
- Reactivate patients through relevant messages and digital touchpoints