There is no turning back now — patients are demanding more engaging and personalized experiences from all organizations, including their healthcare providers. Tools that are simple, meet needs with ease and do so by empowering patients are in high demand. The subject has become a hot topic, with over 70% of physicians reporting that engaging patients is a major priority at their organizations in the healthcare industry. However, a recent survey indicated that only 8% of providers said they have “very clearly defined patient engagement strategies.”
A more personalized and thoughtful approach to patient engagement solutions is a good starting point for meeting these evolving demands. But what should you look for in a patient engagement solution? Having a few tips can help guide your strategies so you can ensure patient satisfaction.
Integration With The Technologies That Patients Already Use
The expectations of patients have rapidly changed in recent years. Patients are connected like never before – tethered to their smartphones, tablets, and computers. Calling your doctor’s office may have been an acceptable method to make appointments in the past, but today people expect a faster, easier and more technologically enabled patient experience.
These tech-enabled experiences are creating stronger and deeper relationships with healthcare providers. For example, patients and physicians communicating via apps and online portals have been found to improve engagement rates by 60 percent or higher. These demands aren’t confined to only the millennial generation but expand to older populations as well. Patients in their 60s show no difference in their adoption of portal accounts when compared to patients in their 30s through 50s.
Ensuring that solutions integrate seamlessly with patients existing preferences and communication patterns is key when considering solutions. Emphasis should also be placed on simplicity and ease of use.
Improving Processes to Foster Positive Interactions
Complex and difficult collaboration and technology tools hinder the development of a strong customer relationship. People expect to receive the same simple experiences they do with providers outside the healthcare space. For example, they can order items online and receive them faster than ever, get groceries delivered to their doorstep and book transportation at a moment’s notice. This “on-demand” service economy means that customers want the information and services they need from providers 24/7.
A large stressor for patients is the financial implications of paying for healthcare services. Patients with health insurance plans might have a high deductible or expensive copayments. The financial strain placed on a person to pay for a service can be difficult. A technology solution that acknowledges these pain points and focuses on simplifying and streamlining the process makes it much easier for patients to pay their bills and set up payment plans.
Ease of use in setting up a fair and reasonable payment plan is also critical. Not all partners have 100% credit approval rates, or they charge higher interest rates or fees when a patient misses a payment. Financial issues are a key area that can positively or negatively shape a person’s perception of and satisfaction with a provider.
Deploying Technologies That Help Patients Feel More Secure
Trust is a central issue when selecting a provider. Patients entrust their lives and very personal information to their healthcare providers. This sensitive data does not reside with only the providers but also with third parties that are integrated into the care process. Any type of breach can instantly chip away at patient trust.
According to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Report, 24% of all data breach victims are healthcare organizations. A recent Medical Group Management Association study showed that 90% of practices have implemented some type of online patient portal.
Any patient engagement roadmap or solution should consider trust and reliability. The platform must be seamless, simple and easy to deploy but designed to help patients feel secure about the safety and security of personal details.
Improving Patient Engagement in The Future
Engaging patients in the healthcare industry will be a critical element for all care providers in the future. Learning your patients’ largest pain points and finding solutions that are built to solve those problems give providers a competitive advantage.
The best solutions typically offer a range of capabilities, integrate seamlessly with your existing technology, and offer more accessibility and control for the best patient experience. Providers that consider these elements are empowered to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with patients and to improve their bottom lines.