The healthcare sector is more competitive than ever, and healthcare consumers expect more. Patient satisfaction and health outcomes really matter and transforming the patient experience to reflect today’s digital age are now critical.
Digital patient engagement is at the heart of this process. It creates a more informative and smoother experience for patients and a more efficient workflow for staff.
Here are our 8 top tips for engaging patients throughout the healthcare journey from initial enquiry to post-treatment and beyond.
1. Activating interest
Review sites are no longer something that can be ignored in healthcare. Consumers use them every single day as a guide for purchasing decisions, and that includes healthcare.
People genuinely want to know what patients are saying about a provider before they commit to the big (and often scary) decision of choosing the right organization to look after their health. As 94% of consumers read reviews before choosing a healthcare provider, your online reviews could be just the thing to push a potential patient to pick you.
Timely and courteous responses to patient reviews are an integral part of any effective patient engagement strategy. It’s especially important to engage with patients who leave poor reviews. Ironically, it is often patients who have had a complaint satisfactorily resolved that refer the most. And people reading the reviews will get an idea of how they might be treated if things don’t go according to plan.
Investing in reputation management software makes managing reviews a whole lot easier. PatientTrak enables you to capture, categorize, prioritize, manage, and report on all your online, survey, and social reviews, putting you in complete control of your digital front door.
2. Pre-visit appointment reminders
No-shows are frustrating for healthcare staff, and they play havoc with your bottom line. But they are just as frustrating for patients too. A genuine mistake in recording an appointment time, or a moment of forgetfulness can mean a patient misses an appointment without meaning to. This is so easily done when patients make appointments weeks or months in advance!
Appointment reminders are a sure way to eradicate a significant proportion of no-shows. PatientTrak customers, for example, have been able to eliminate 90% of missed appointments by switching to our text reminder service.
Sending appointment reminders via text is a no-brainer given that 92% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt! Patients appreciate reminders and they help to improve engagement in the healthcare process. They also save staff time by cutting down on no-show calls.
3. Online scheduling convenience
Calling to make an appointment over the phone is old-school. These days, people lead busy lives, and many prefer to make appointments on the go. Understandably, most individuals don’t want private medical conversations overheard.
Online scheduling gives patients the flexibility and convenience they want and enables them to see real-time information about the facility, such as wait time and capacity. When patients feel more in control of their healthcare journey, they are more likely to commit to your care.
4. Pre-visit registration
Filling out forms in a busy waiting room is a pet hate for patients and a time-consuming job for staff. Sending registration forms pre-visit via text enables forms to be completed by patients at their own pace in the comfort of their own homes, or on the go.
Digital intake forms simplify the onboarding process and make the in-person visit less stressful for patients. Medical information and insurance details can be checked and verified pre-visit, making the arrivals process and patient experience smoother for all involved.
PatientTrak takes the stress out of the registration, enabling you to create bespoke forms that patients can fill out pre-visit and send securely back to you. Send via text. Patients click on a secure hyperlink to access the form and it is automatically returned on completion.
5. First-rate arrivals
Supercharge your engagement with patients from the get-go. Let patients know before their visit exactly what to expect via text. A virtual waiting room can help to streamline the arrivals process and text messaging can be used to let patients know when they are ready to be seen.
Introduced during the pandemic for obvious safety reasons, the virtual waiting room is still proving a popular way to manage arrivals. Patients can check wait times online, arrive via mobile phone, and wait in their car or somewhere nearby.
Text updates let people know the whereabouts they are in the queue and can help patients feel less anxious about the wait.
6. Conversational texting before, during, and aftercare
Communicating with patients via text pre-visit, during, and aftercare, keeps patients informed every step of the way. Stay in touch with patients and family members throughout the entire healthcare journey and direct patients to the next steps throughout their visit.
Text messaging during care delivery dramatically increases patient engagement and overall satisfaction.
7. Post-visit surveys
Automatically send surveys out to patients via text at optimum times post-visit. PatientTrak enables you to create unique satisfaction surveys to obtain valuable insight into your patients’ experiences.
Surveys help to demonstrate to patients that you care about their experience and contribute to building meaningful patient-provider relationships. Quality and timely feedback enable you to nip problems in the bud and improve.
8. Medication and treatment protocol reminders
At any healthcare visit, there is often a lot of information for patients to absorb. This can be difficult for individuals if they are feeling unwell, anxious, or stressed. It means that important information can easily be forgotten once a patient leaves the facility.
Engaging with patients via text to remind them to take medication and/or stick to treatment protocols helps with compliance. Analysis of 2,742 patients from 16 studies showed the use of text message reminders improved medication adherence by 17.8%.
Why engagement is so important
Patients who aren’t engaged with their care miss appointments, are less compliant, less informed, and can even drop out of the treatment process altogether. It’s bad for patients’ health and for the provider’s reputation.
Poor engagement impacts staff too. Positive relationships between patients and staff do wonders for staff morale.
PatientTrak enables healthcare organizations to maximize patient engagement throughout the entire healthcare journey.
We support you to create a vibrant healthcare community. Book a demo and we’ll show you how.