5 ways automation can improve patient-centered communicationPosted: April 26, 2021 - By Melody Gandy-Bohr
When patients feel informed about their health, they are more likely to make positive lifestyle choices and adhere to treatment regimens. In the past, medical practices had limited options to stay connected to patients beyond in-person visits. But today, the widespread adoption of digital technologies makes it easy for physicians to adopt patient-centered communication techniques.
All practices benefit from advanced patient-centered communication tools that facilitate multi-channel communication with patients. When combined with telemedicine, patient-centered communication solutions allow healthcare providers to deliver a higher-quality patient experience.
Plus, when practices improve patient communication, patient satisfaction will improve, leading to a better reputation and new patients. There is no doubt that patient-centered communication can be a driving force behind revenue increases and business growth for today’s medical practices.
Technology Empowers Patient-Centered Communication
There is no shortage of healthcare technology options available in the marketplace today. For that reason, providers can feel overwhelmed when deciding which solutions will help them achieve their goal of delivering quality patient-centered communication. We recommend focusing your efforts on the following digital communication tools.
A patient portal lets patients access account details, request or cancel appointments, and review educational materials about their health. In addition, patient portals also provide a convenient way for patients to communicate with their providers and get expedient answers to health-related questions.
Because patient portals are accessible online 24/7, patients can log in at their convenience, even after hours or weekends. Patients will appreciate the opportunity to learn about their health on their own time without needing in-person medical encounters with providers. That way, patients can feel empowered to take charge of their care and make choices to achieve better health outcomes.
Through a mobile app, your practice can seamlessly manage patient communication anytime, anywhere. Most mobile apps provide a secure two-way messaging option through the app. Patients can reach out at any time with a question or to let you know if they’re running late for an appointment. This can help reduce inbound calls and the time your team spends playing phone tag when responding to patient’s calls.
Also, a mobile app gives you the ability to access patient information on the go. Access information including appointment history and communication preferences to best address patient concerns. Your practice can manage appointments on the go and receive instant notifications when a new patient appointment request is made.
Although many healthcare practices were exploring telemedicine options before the COVID-19 outbreak, the pandemic accelerated telemedicine adoption. In the early days of the pandemic, physicians had to reduce the volume of patients they could see in person to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but this didn’t halt the need for medical care.
Even after the pandemic, medical providers can use telemedince for routine or less critical appointments to limit in-office medical encounters. For example, physicians can conduct a medical interview remotely to reduce office visits. While this may be a significant change, providers can use strong communication skills and empathy to deliver positive experiences and enhance physician-patient relationships at a distance.
As patients grow more accustomed to the new way of engaging with health care providers, they are recognizingthe value of remote care. Patients can save the time they’d spend driving and waiting in medical offices and still receive sound medical advice and care options without an office visit.
As the day-to-day impacts of the pandemic subside, telemedicine is here to stay. It’s important that providers accept this reality and make telemedicine an integral part of their core offerings.
The majority of Americans carry a mobile device with them everywhere they go. Most people check every text message they receive, including those from businesses. If you try to reach patients via text messaging, they’ll see your message and are more likely to respond. You should make the most of this opportunity by making text messaging a part of your communication strategy.
Many medical practices use texting for appointment reminders to help reduce costly no-shows. Text messaging are also useful for collecting patient reviews. Your practice can send automated review requests by text message after each patient visit. By making it easy for patients to leave feedback, you can increase your reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and WebMD. This can also boost your search engine ranking and enhance your online reputation.
Email has been a mainstay of business communication for decades and remains a cost-effective way to stay in touch with your target audiences. For health care providers, email marketing makes it easy to improve patient communication between visits. You can provide education through a monthly email that updates patients on conditions, health care trends, and more.
Advanced email solutions also let you segment audiences to deliver more personalized messaging. For example, a family practice or primary care physician may see patients across the lifespan. With segmented emails, that practice can customize content for young adults, middle-aged patients, and seniors. That way, patients will receive information that resonates with them instead of communications that feel less relevant.
You can also use emails to remind patients about upcoming appointments. Set up campaigns that align with a patient’s current treatment status. You can send more frequent emails to patients undergoing active treatment and less frequent outreach to those who have been discharged.
Choose the Right Technology for Patient-Centered Communication
Running a medical practice isn’t easy, but the right technology can streamline your operations. While operational efficiency is important, you also need to focus on delivering the best possible experience to every patient. Fortunately, advanced automation solutions can provide the best of both worlds–automation of many routine tasks and opportunities for patient-centered communication.
Why is patient-centered communication so important? When patient satisfaction is high, you benefit from referrals and positive reviews that bring in new patients. Plus, satisfied patients will be far more likely to continue being seen by your practice for future visits. By emphasizing patient-centered communication, you can foster strong business growth that helps your practice thrive and endure. Clearly, an intense focus on patient-centered communication benefits both your medical practice and your patients.
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