Unfortunately, the truth is that many Americans say healthcare does not deliver consumer experiences that are on par with other industries. So how can healthcare organizations close the gap and deliver experiences that are more in line with patients’ expectations? The short answer is that teams need to improve communication. Below are five simple ways for healthcare teams to achieve this. All that’s needed is the patient engagement technology most healthcare organization already use to deliver appointment reminders. Teams can easily expand the use of these notifications to achieve the following:
- Send every patient an automated message prior to their healthcare appointment if they need to bring a copayment. More than a quarter (26%) of patients say expenses are less predictable in healthcare compared to other industries. Communicating with patients in advance of appointments can eliminate surprise expenses and ensure appointments don’t start off negatively. A brief text or voice message can easily do the trick.
- Send automated messages to patients when healthcare providers are delayed or need to reschedule. Eight in ten patients (83%) say they feel healthcare providers run behind schedule and keep patients waiting for more than professionals in other industries. When a provider is behind schedule, staff can send messages to patients whose appointments will be impacted. The courtesy message, for example, could ask patients to arrive 15 minutes later than their scheduled appointment. Alerting patients of delays can decrease the amount of time patients spend sitting in the waiting room. It also shows patients their time is valued.
- Send a message to every patient who is overdue for preventive services. Thirty-one percent of Americans say healthcare organizations are less customer experience-oriented than businesses in other industries because healthcare organizations offer fewer deals, coupons, and specials than consumers receive from other businesses. To help patients get the maximum value out of healthcare, providers can send patients messages to let them know when they are eligible for no-cost preventive services. Encouraging patients to schedule preventive exams and screenings help providers improve patients’ healthcare experiences by potentially protecting them from future illnesses and medical expenses.
- Follow up with patients after appointments by sending an invitation to complete an online satisfaction survey. Twenty-two percent of Americans think it is more difficult to provide feedback to healthcare providers if they’re dissatisfied than it is to provide feedback to other businesses and organizations. Sending patients email invitations to complete a satisfaction survey helps patients feel valued and enables providers to capture insights that are necessary for improving healthcare experiences.
- Create and execute patient engagement campaigns to support patients with health management between appointments. More than one in five patients (21%) say there is not enough communication between in-person healthcare interactions. Use automated communications—either texts, emails or voice messages—to send relevant engagement messages. For example, these messages could share wellness information, chronic disease management tips or health monitoring surveys with patients.
Communication can greatly impact patients’ perceptions of healthcare. Healthcare teams that want to learn more about how they can leverage their patient engagement technology to improve communication and create better healthcare experiences for patients can check out Compared to Other Industries, Healthcare Experiences Need Elevating.