There’s a lot to be said for how 2020 shaped the patient experience, but for this blog, we’re focusing on the good.
Healthcare jumped leaps and bounds in the use of various technologies, especially in telehealth, which improved care for the better. Patients complied with the changes providers made in response to the virus and patients made adjustments that were best for them and their families. And some of those healthcare consumers found tools they had never used before and actually liked them and use them regularly now.
Who would have thought so much would change with the patient experience in a year? Not many, which is why we want to highlight what providers learned this year and how they can use these lessons to shape 2021.
Patients Are Willing to Adapt
It’s no secret that healthcare has been slow to adapt to consumer-facing technology. And admittedly, it’s safe to say that healthcare providers are blamed for it the majority of the time.
But when you look at the data, much of the blame lies elsewhere. In the PatientBond Consumer Diagnostic, a nationwide, market research study of healthcare consumer attitudes and behaviors, we found that only 11.6% of healthcare consumers had tried telemedicine and virtual consults prior to COVID-19. During March - June 2020 of the pandemic, 23.3% started using the technology. Now, nearly 31% of the general population indicate they are likely to use it to manage their health. For other technological tools like remote monitoring and home testing and diagnostics, those percentages also went up.
In order for these gains to continue, transparency regarding how the data are used and shared, how easily adoptable the technology is for patients and how necessary the advancements are is critical. Healthcare consumers are shifting toward convenient tools like digital health platforms and if they are a fan, they’ll keep using the tools.
But what we do know is that when healthcare changed overnight, many patients shifted their habits to match current trends. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more likely that some of these behaviors and preferences will change for good. And that is good news for providers who hope to stick around for years to come.
Communication is King
Now that many patients are opting for virtual care, it’s more important than ever to communicate with them the best way you can by using digital health tools. A digital health platform allows you to communicate with patients based on their digital preferences, whether it’s by text, email, over the phone or through your provider’s health portal app. Platforms like these, including the PatientBond Digital Health Platform, can handle the entire care journey and can be easily adjusted to fit the patient’s preferences with it being all in one platform.
Digital health platforms save you money on print mail while saving staff time and building efficiency through automation so that you’re able to make changes on the fly without an issue.
In-person appointments won’t go away, but utilizing these types of appointments as the only way for communicating with patients is now a thing of the past. The sooner you transition into using digital tools and boost their effectiveness using psychographic segmentation to personalize communications, the better.
Transparency and Empathy are Priceless
2020 had many unknowns due to COVID-19. Local protocols and regulations are changing consistently, including among local healthcare providers such as hospitals, urgent care centers and physician offices. Patients have a lot on their mind and their plate, so vagueness hasn’t sat well with them this year.
When healthcare consumers are in need of medical care, they want a provider that’s transparent and values empathy, now more than ever. For the providers that have done well, they’ve been outlining and reemphasizing their COVID-19 safety guidelines, updating patients when they have changed and making sure they have consistent communication going out to them. When loved ones are receiving care and their family members can’t be there physically by their side, doctors, nurses and other hospital staff are more than willing to find ways for them to connect no matter what. Even when they are exhausted, they are going above and beyond their capacity to make sure their patients are taken care of.
Healthcare can sometimes lack these qualities, but that hasn’t been the case in 2020. Providers and their workers have gone the extra mile, no matter how tough it has been, and patients are thankful for it.
The patient experience has changed drastically in nearly every way in 2020, but most of it improved the way providers do healthcare. Moving forward, it will lead to a better way of delivering healthcare so that providers can improve their market share, their bottom line, and most importantly, their patient’s health outcomes.
If you want to start the new year off better than ever, contact us today about trying the PatientBond Digital Health Platform.