Healthcare organizations routinely leverage technology to keep patients engaged in their care. A key piece in the engagement puzzle is communication, and by automating outreach efforts, providers are able to improve key initiatives, i.e., delivering better care and health outcomes, building stronger patient-provider relationships and achieving better operational efficiency for the organization. These benefits directly relate to a healthcare organization’s success. Yet there is often room to expand these benefits by refining and optimizing automated patient communications through technology.
To maximize the benefits of this technology, providers need to look at how their current outbound communications are performing. Different departments within an organization often have different goals for their communications. So before analyzing specific metrics, it’s important to define the goals of any automated communications and the distinct patient populations they are meant to engage. For example, if a routine care communication is delivered to a patient population that is due for a mammogram, then the metrics that define success (scheduled appointments) will vary from a communication that is meant to drive overdue patient payments (increased collections).
To measure the outcomes of these communications, organizations can utilize the data from sources such as their EHR and the performance metrics available from their communications provider. Returning to the example of patients in need of a mammogram, a provider can use their EHR data to see if there was a significant decrease in overdue preventive care appointments after sending a campaign of reminder communications. A provider can also review and analyze the data from their communications, such as delivery rates, interactions and unsubscribes. This will help to identify possible issues such as out-of-date patient contact information or poor message content, which may be negatively impacting engagement.
After identifying possible issues, the next step is to develop and test possible solutions to drive higher engagement. This can be as simple as adding more communications to a campaign, asking patients to update their information at check-in, or testing to see which messages get the highest response. To see how a large healthcare organization effectively used communications data to optimize its reminder strategy across all its facilities, click here.
Though perfecting a patient communications strategy is a continuous process of tracking performance metrics and implementing improvement initiatives, achieving success is feasible with consistent effort. Learn more about using patient communications data to help you deliver successful patient outreach by downloading our Healthcare Insight.