Patient engagement is a delicate process and if we’re being sincere, it never used to be this challenging (thanks, technology). Balancing in-person and virtual patient engagement is tough, and integrating the virtual aspect into the process is changing the game entirely. When you factor in constraints you’re facing such as budget or a pandemic it makes your job as a provider immensely harder because you want to ensure each patient has the best experience, no matter what care option they choose.
There will always be times you’re strapped for resources, time and/or money, so you need a system that works consistently. To do this, here are four key steps to follow.
1) Create a Compelling First Touchpoint
Did you know that an average person sees somewhere between 4,000-10,000 ads per day? And on average, 269 billion emails are sent worldwide each day. These numbers sound high but think about how many messages you get in a day from ads, emails, texts, app notifications, mail, etc. It isn’t hard to understand why your center has a hard time getting attention from potential and current patients.
What you need to do first is hook them in. In messaging that you send like a text, letter, email or an ad, use a compelling subject line or first sentence to draw the patient in. While it’s tempting to cram everything in one message, less is more. Offer one call to action such as needing an annual check-up or flu shot or a deal on a service.
To take it a step further, differentiate your approach using methods like psychographics in addition to demographics when targeting your messages. Psychographic segmentation looks at the patient based on their values, lifestyles and attitudes, which is extremely important, as members of an age group, ethnicity or gender do not think and act alike. When using PatientBond, you can use that insight to determine what motivates a patient and then engage with them based on what segment they represent. For example, one patient, like a Self Achiever, may want to receive messages from you that emphasize achieving health goals, while another type of patient, like a Priority Juggler, may want to talk about how busy they are and how they need to remember to take care of themself because people are counting on them to be healthy.
As a result, PatientBond customers get a better response to messaging and overall engagement. And as you continue to engage with the patient using the PatientBond Digital Health Platform, the system continues to learn the patient’s preferences, deepening the relationship.
By setting yourself up using these approaches from the beginning, you’ll have a higher chance of generating better engagement over time, leading to higher patient volume and generating more revenue.
2) Streamline Inquiry Process
Make it simple for a patient to ask a question or schedule an appointment by offering multiple options in multiple places. Prominently display appointment sign-ups on your website and digital health platform and have contact information for your practice highly visible on your website, digital health platform and your Google business page. Allow options for in-person and virtual appointments using telehealth and virtual consults..
If you have the capability, add a chatbot to your website for more immediate service. If you don’t have someone managing your social media messaging, wait until you do before adding an option like this. It’s great to have as many communication channels as possible, but not so much when it comes at the cost of doing your job well.
3) Always Follow-up
After an appointment, use the patient’s segment to determine when and how to reach out to follow-up. In that communication, have the patient take a patient satisfaction survey and also mention rating you on Google, Yelp, Healthgrades and social media.
A survey like the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is helpful but isn’t robust enough in terms of priorities patients have that are characterized within psychographic segmentation. A patient satisfaction survey and social media reviews will give you a clearer picture of what your patients are looking for in your immediate community.
4) Continue the Conversation
Patient engagement doesn’t end after the appointment. Draw them in with other offerings like flu shots, annual exams, mammograms and blood drives. You could start a paper or email newsletter with tips to stay healthy, important updates and other information. Or, you can have patients sign up for alerts on their phone through text, an app or the digital health platform. When patients regularly visit their provider, it improves their health outcomes, but also their patient engagement with you, increasing market share.
These steps will steer you in the right direction with your patient engagement efforts, but if you want to do more beyond these, that is encouraged. And a platform like the PatientBond Digital Health Platform will get you well on your way to happier and more connected patients.