Every patient is different, but the way they want to be treated remains the same. People want to be handled with dignity and respect from the moment they step into a hospital until the moment that they are released. With this in mind, the healthcare industry has taken the concept of the “customer experience” and revised it in a way that meets today’s advanced technological world.
A growing number of patients and members of healthcare organizations require immediate access to trusted and reliable health information. Through a range of online and wireless channels including e-mail, web portals, text messaging, social media outlets, and mobile devices, today’s patient is more informed than ever before.
In order to keep up with patient demands across all demographic groups, providers must engage their patients by interacting with them via the communication method that is most convenient for them. This is critical because it ensures the health and wellness of consumers. If they receive pertinent information in a timely manner, with self-service options, they are more likely to make informed decisions and engage in programs that impact their health.
There are a number of challenges facing healthcare organizers and providers:
- Poor Patient Communication. Appointment no-show rates are 15 to 20 percent. Each appointment’s value is more than $230. This results in millions of dollars of lost revenue each year per hospital. Hospitals can only hope to recoup a small portion of this for each missed appointment.
- Low Patient Adherence and Compliance. Prescription non-adherence costs the healthcare system an estimated $290 billion annually. Patients also fail to adhere to wellness programs, medical advice or instructions. Not reaching out to patients through the proper channels can cost healthcare organizers and providers tremendously because they are stuck relying on live support staff only to provide the outreach, which can cost as much as $20 per contact.
- Scalability. Scaling patient engagement efforts can prove to be difficult. Healthcare organizations need a more cost effective way to handle members.
Live support staff can only handle a certain amount of requests before becoming inefficient.
Ways to Improve Patient Engagement
There are a number of different ways to improve patient engagement. Here are a few ways that healthcare providers can assist:
- Furnishing patients with meaningful and trusted education and information.
- Delivering information to patients wherever they may be—in the hospital, at home, at work, or in the car.
- Incorporating technology solutions that are familiar to patients (such as text messages, email and phone calls) and easy to use (such as an online portal to view health records and increase access to information).
In today’s competitive and mobile landscape, healthcare organizations and providers strive to make the customer experience as efficient and successful as possible. Gaining and retaining the patient’s confidence when it comes to making informed healthcare decision is critical and, if done right, organizations and providers will be in a position to attract new patients and vastly improve patient healthcare outcomes.
If you would like to read more about my thoughts about the evolution of the patient experience, you can download my whitepaper Healthier Connections: The Evolution to More Patient-Centric Customer Interaction Management.