It’s like a meme of healthcare practices offering their patients better and more accessible care. Their patients respond by throwing cash at them, saying “Please, take my money!” Though that may be a bit of an overstatement, the sentiment still rings true.
A recent poll shows that more patients are begging for the same kind of user experience they get in the consumer world—one of convenient and easy digital interaction. Specifically, four in 10 patients in the poll said they’d be willing to fork out more money for quicker and easier access to care appointments. Perhaps less surprising, 57 percent of patients are willing to pay more for higher quality care.
This reinforces an overall trend we’ve seen in recent years of patients migrating toward increased healthcare consumerism. Patients, like consumers, want to be able to schedule visits sooner and more easily for a more convenient care experience. Just like any other service—dining out, buying products or booking a ride-share—your patients want their healthcare access just a few clicks away on their smartphone.
How can technology provide a better patient experience?
Faster, better, sooner—they’re not just gimmicky marketing words. It’s simply the reality of serving your patients in a more responsive and patient-centric way. Practices that are able to meet those service expectations will be better positioned to retain more patients while giving you a competitive advantage over other practices.
But as skilled as your front office staff are, they can’t provide you with those capabilities. Only by providing patients with “the digital front door” that they’ve become accustomed to in the retail and business worlds can you dramatically improve the patient experience. Your patients want digital, self-service access they can access 24/7 to book visits and interact with your staff. The last thing they want is to be stuck on hold in a phone tree.
Technology can bridge that gap between higher patient expectations and your ability to deliver a more seamless and satisfying patient experience. Patient communications tools give you extra functionality and ease of access that polls show people are willing to shell out more dollars for. Instead of having to reach out to you by phone or during office hours, patients can book appointments, text questions, or submit intake forms digitally at their leisure.
Let’s look at some key tools that can help you give patients the type of digital patient communications experience they’re craving while equipping you with solutions to run your practice more efficiently and effectively.
What patient communications tools can help my practice better meet patients’ expectations?
Though supplying quality healthcare certainly isn’t as simple as delivering an Amazon package, processing a DoorDash order, or booking flights on Delta, many of the same principles apply. Patients want to be able to interact with your practice quickly, in a hassle-free way to book appointments with the minimum amount of fuss.
There’s a handful of patient communications solutions that empower you to give your patients what they want—while also helping your book more appointments, reduce manual workloads, and earn your practice more revenue:
- Online scheduling: Let your patients book appointments digitally with a quick visit to your practice’s website, newsletter, text, or email. Online scheduling gives your patients more options when scheduling their care while allowing you to retain complete control of your schedule, reduce incoming call volume, and fill in those nagging holes in your schedule.
- Two-way texting: Give your patients the freedom and convenience to text your practice questions or reschedule in real time rather than having to make a call. Patients want to be able to text your front office staff just as they would anyone else they do business with. Two-way texting prevents frequent call interruptions and lowers call volumes so staff can concentrate on in-office patients and other high priority tasks.
- Digital intake: Don’t make patients fill out pages of paperwork in the waiting room prior to a visit. A digital intake tool allows them to complete the forms easily from home prior to the appointment, making check-in easier and dispensing with long wait times.
- Appointment reminders: Make sure your patients never accidentally miss another appointment with a reminder solution that automatically sends text, email or voice reminders at a proven cadence. Your patients will appreciate the heads up while you’ll shrink your no-show rate and amount of lost revenue from missed appointments.
- Recall notices: When patients don’t remember to schedule regular maintenance visits, preventive screenings, and other incremental care, you both lose. They suffer from poorer outcomes and you fail to reap all those recall dollars. An automated recall tool allows you to automatically send out recall notices based on a range of criteria from date of last appointment, patient age, or diagnoses. Help your patients see better outcomes while you add a sizable monthly revenue stream.
- Digital bill pay: Few things are as frustrating for patients as complicated and outdated bill payment options. An online bill pay option allows you to easily send patients a text payment reminder and balance due with a secure link to make a payment digitally. Let patients make quick and easy bill payments toward their balances while helping you collect more efficiently and effectively collect outstanding balances that adds to your bottom line.
Give your patients the digital connectivity they’re begging for that also enables you to boost retention, help you win over prospective patients, and keep your practice one step ahead of competitors. The future and present of successful patient engagement is via digital patient communications that give patients the convenience and access they want while powering up your practice’s ability to drive higher appointment volume and profitability.
To learn more about how to better meet patient expectations while streamlining your practice’s patient engagement, download the guide, “Discover the Sweet Sauce of Patient Satisfaction.”