Patient Engagement: Why Continuing Communication Matters
Personalize. Customize. Digitize. Technology has fashioned a world driven by – and for – tailored buying experiences at every turn. For complex industries like healthcare, it’s not an easy bar to meet. But delivering a better patient experience is achievable.
Steve Curtin, an expert on the topic of customer service, defines the customer experience (CX) as “the art and science of coaxing lifetime loyalty from daily transactions.” In the high tech, high touch ecosystem of healthcare, CX translates to profitability.
A good patient experience begins with effective communication at every touchpoint. Without it, according to a 2019 article in the Harvard Public Health Review, the quality of healthcare would be impaired. Healthcare costs and negative patient outcomes would also rise. Integrating key messages across multiple platforms facilitates a clear understanding between patient and provider, and yields better care.
According to Xtelligent Healthcare Media, patient-provider communication and patient activity outside the office is fundamental to maintaining patient relationships. Healthcare technology has made this process easier, specifically through the growing popularity of patient portals. Patient portals have changed the communications paradigm, enabling secure direct messaging between patient and provider.
Secure direct messaging helps patients determine when they should and should not consult their doctors in person. When they message their provider with a healthcare concern, the provider can respond with the appropriate course of action. Treatment plans can also be fine-tuned through the portal. Providers can adjust care remotely, mediate any basic treatment needs and prevent their patients from falling seriously ill.
IVR calls have been shown to be effective in routine care, too, ranging from increasing flu vaccination rates to improving adherence to medication schedules. Today, non-compliance costs the healthcare industry millions of dollars annually. Communicating with the patient at multiple points along the care continuum, and in follow-up communications via technology, reduces some of those costs by encouraging patients to manage their health. For both patient and provider, this adds up to better, longer-lasting relationships.
In addition to the original purposes of electronic health records (EHR), patient portals and phone systems, these platforms offer opportunities to cultivate patient trust and loyalty. Health systems that charge their IT and marketing departments with shared goals of patient engagement can reap the benefits. By finding new ways to integrate relevant messaging with technology, these non-clinical teams can help prevent patients from taking their business elsewhere.
This excerpt is a part of our healthcare trends brief, Beyond Words: Patient Engagement Makes Dollars and Sense.