If it seems like it’s getting trickier to keep up with the speed and pace of change in healthcare today, you’re not alone. Patient communications technology, and the way practices and patients use them, is continually evolving. It often feels like you’re trying to hit a moving target, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
What are these patient management changes and how are they impacting my practice?
First, technology is rapidly advancing offering you new tools and functionality to help you communicate better and more efficiently with patients. Many of these new solutions can also assist you in guiding patients through their care journey while also giving you the added benefit of better managing your business. Essentially, what you need is an all-in-one communications solution that will help you increase appointment volumes AND gain efficiencies and cost savings to grow your practice.
And while technology now involves your patients in everything they do in life, their expectations and communications preferences have changed. What isn’t new is that most patients prefer text messages over emails or phone calls. But what is new is that your patients now demand more digital conveniences and paths to access your practice, communicate, and book an appointment—at any time and from anywhere.
What patient-centric practice accessibility tools do healthcare consumers want?
Specifically, they’re looking for self-service tools that are easily accessible from their smartphones like:
- Real-time two-way texting
- Digital intake
- Online scheduling
- Online bill pay
- A more user-friendly patient portal to view test results
And more than one-third of patients are willing to switch practices in order to get these fast, easy, and convenient practice services.
Will my old appointment reminder solution still cut it?
Make no mistake. Amid these seismic changes, tools like reminders, recall notifications, and group messaging remain critical. But they’re no longer the only tools you need to keep your patients happy and your business profitable. So, in short, the answer is no.
Practices like yours are increasingly turning to more modern patient solutions with capabilities that allow them to:
- Reach more patients with fewer staff
- Keep soaring operational costs down
- Help patients better navigate their care experience
- Get more patients through the front door
These software tools not only provide a better patient experience but they also aid you in managing appointment workflows, boosting acquisition and retention, and giving you insights to adjust operations to optimize your resources and create greater revenue.
What features and tools should I look for in a modern patient engagement solution?
To identify patient communications solutions that will enable you to increase appointment volumes, lower no-show rates, reduce your staff’s manual workload, and lower costs, consider these five critical features:
1. Digital Surveys
It’s difficult to know what your patients think of your practice or if they would recommend it to others without actually asking them. A patient satisfaction survey tool that sends an automated survey after a patient’s appointment can help you pinpoint areas that need improvement and identify your happy patients. You can then invite these “practice champions” to leave your practice an online review that will help you attract more new patients by upgrading your online reputation.
2. Post-Appointment Follow-up Messages
You can’t guide patients through their care journey if you’re not checking in with them and leading them to important next steps. A robust patient solution will include text, email, and voice messaging capabilities to help patients remember care instructions, remind them to schedule follow-up care, and ensure they complete needed lab work or testing. Send automated messages based on each patient’s communication preference to help support increased care adherence and get them back in your office for ongoing care.
3. Templated E-Newsletters
To keep your practice top of mind, both for preventive and chronic care management and your own marketing purposes, send patient education newsletters regularly. You can help keep patients up to date on timely healthcare topics, share practice news and introduce new providers, and promote your latest services and amenities. A quality solution will offer you a library of prebuilt newsletter templates to choose from and provide easily accessible links to book an online appointment and/or refer a friend.
4. Online Reviews Management
Prospective patients search online reviews before choosing a new doctor or dentist. Make sure they choose you rather than the guy down the street with a feature-filled online review management tool. Monitor and track patient reviews, and be more responsive to returning patients to get more five-star reviews that help your practice place higher in page search results. Build your business and your brand by getting the reviews that will put your practice on the map and increase revenue by attracting more new patients.
5. Reliable, Live Customer Tech Support
A patient communications platform is only as good as its tech support and customer service. Ensure the stability of your practice’s operations by choosing a solution that offers unparalleled live customer support for when you need it. No software is infallible but it’s crucial that you go with a solutions provider that’s responsive and gives you the expertise you need to overcome hiccups whenever they occur.
The nature of healthcare is evolving and you need to stay one step ahead to remain competitive in an ever-growing market. Patient communication tools are no longer enough—you also need: a patient engagement solution that will:
- Help you guide patients at every step of the care journey
- Give your patients the on-demand-self service options they want
- Provide tools that will help you gain efficiencies, save time, and grow your business
To learn more about how you can increase appointment volumes using tools that save staff time and reduce costs, download the free guide, “An Expert Guide to Scheduling More Appointments.”