Can Improving Patient Engagement Benefit Your Practice?
Today’s medical practices struggle with a variety of challenges — everything from rising operational costs to collecting patient balances to keeping up with fast-changing technologies. An underlying challenge is that patient expectations have increased rapidly over the past decade. No longer are patients content with “average” experiences: they want to feel truly known and understood by their medical practices.
Achieving these types of experiences isn’t an easy task unless you have patient engagement tools. These tools can help you more effectively connect with patients and deliver a customizable patient experience. Improving patient engagement technologies can help you increase patient satisfaction, improve revenue cycles, and build a stronger patient-provider relationship. But how? It starts with understanding the critical role of patient engagement technology and matching that innovation with patients’ rapidly changing needs.
Why technology empowers your patients
People are having experiences that weren’t possible a few decades ago. Patients are holding “mini-computers” in the palms of their hands and saving time with one-click shopping experiences, online grocery ordering, and Zoom consultations. These hyper-connected experiences are setting the bar high for medical practices. Technology empowers your practice to engage patients on their terms.
An increasing number of people have high-deductible insurance plans, which leaves them paying out of pocket for services. This transforms the patient mindset into one of a “consumer” as the patient demands to feel valued by your medical practice. Just over a quarter (26%) of patients report they would leave a medical provider if another could offer high-quality digital services.
Practices that implement engagement technology improve patient access to the tools they need with greater convenience. For example, imagine the patient who struggles to pay their medical bill. Once the payment is past due, they receive a friendly text reminding them of affordable and flexible payment options, which allows them to set up a plan directly from their smartphone. By streamlining patient payment collections, this digitally–enabled experience leads to better patient engagement with your practice.
Accessing medical data is easier
As patients’ needs have quickly changed, how they use mobile technology to interact with medical practices has evolved as well. In 2014, the proportion of patients using smartphones to manage their healthcare was 16%; however, that proportion has jumped to 25% in 2020.
The ability to access your medical record and account details digitally empowers people to get the information they need more easily. What’s more, evolving technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, allow doctors to provide more specific recommendations based on previous patient data from earlier procedures.
Patients want critical details about their health, but they also want a more effective way to manage the cost of care. An effective patient engagement solution to address this need is a customized patient portal. For example, HealthePayment delivers payment solutions to the patient’s computer, tablet, or mobile device.
Engagement technology improves efficiency
An engaged patient is more likely to feel informed, empowered, and truly valued by your practice. An effective patient engagement platform enables people to interact with practices using the device that they prefer, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Patients can stay connected to your practice even after they leave your office. What’s more, this technology not only greatly improves the patient experience, but it also helps your practice achieve better outcomes by increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
For example, every patient’s communication preferences are different. Some prefer to receive text messages, others prefer email, and some like to receive a phone call. Many medical practices are still using a “one-size-fits-all” approach to patient communication, leaving people feeling disconnected and not known by your practice.
A patient engagement platform automates many processes, allowing your staff to reduce time spent on mundane tasks and repurpose that energy into other areas of patient care. For example, instead of calling patients regarding late payments, your healthcare organization can automate that process by sending emails through a secure messaging system, along with reminders about customizable and flexible payment plans.
Designing a more personalized and connected healthcare experience
The healthcare industry has entered the age of personalization. Delivering on this demand is even more important to medical practices, which build relationships based on trust, loyalty, and connection. Patient engagement technology allows your practice to connect more effectively with patients, empower them with access to critical information and tools, and build stronger long-term relationships. As a result, patients will feel more connected to your practice and continue returning in the future.