The Evolution of the Patient Experience

Investing in the right digital tools can help healthcare organizations attract new business, get paid faster, and provide better patient care. The rapid advancement in technology has wedged a large gap between patients and providers. To close this gap, providers must meet patients where they are, and that means having a presence in the digital space. So, what is the digital experience about and how is it driving better patient outcomes?

The Digital Front Door

Before a patient arrives at your practice’s physical front door, they have already engaged digitally. Chances are, your patient has Googled you, read reviews, visited your social media, and/or peeked at your website, all before stepping foot in your office or before making the first phone call.

  1. Website: When patients find your name and proceed to Google you, your website should be visible and designed for ease of use (and don’t forget the mobile view, too!). According to a patient perspective survey conducted by Patient Pop, 48.5% of patients said the practice website is very or extremely important when choosing their doctor.
  2. Reviews: When choosing a healthcare provider, 74% of patients find online reviews very or extremely important. 69% of patients say they will not consider a healthcare provider with an average star rating lower than 4.0/5 stars.
  3. Directories: One in every three patients looks at provider information on WebMD, Yelp, or other local business directories when looking for a physician.
  4. Social Media: According to Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans say they use social media sites. Having a presence on social media can help attract new patients and give patients another way to contact or book you right from in-app features.
  5. Traditional Media: Features in magazines- particularly those that mention “best doctor” features- are an effective way of positioning your practice. These listings don’t necessarily give all the details a potential patient may be looking for, so many patients use this information as a starting point to do some research.

The digital space is a way to leverage the internet to keep your business competitive and up to speed with what other competitors are doing. Although building a digital presence takes time and a bit of elbow grease, it is well worth investing the time to do so. The patient journey has expanded to many more touchpoints, and they all have an impact on patient experience.

Omnichannel Approach

The shift to patient-centered care plays a key role in developing ease-of-communication and convenience within each step in the patient journey in effort to enhance the patient experience. In a patient study conducted by Avtex, 68% of respondents said their healthcare providers need to improve how they interact with their patients. Each channel of communication serves a different purpose within the patient journey, and each channel should also have a corresponding plan to get optimal use and deliver quality care. Understanding and anticipating the needs of your patient demographics is key in developing quality patient care and delivering better patient outcomes.

  1. Phone: Scheduling and changing appointments.
  2. Email: Appointment confirmations, reminders, post-visit surveys.
  3. Text: Upcoming appointment reminders, appointment info, and prep.
  4. Mobile App/Patient Portal: Transactional activities containing personal information such as billing, test results, medical records, and medications.
  5. Automated Phone/Reminders: Appointment reminders via phone call, text, or email to reduce no-shows and complete other transactional tasks.
  6. Chat-box: Request billing information, and schedule appointments.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need for technology integration within the healthcare space. Not long ago, paper and phone calls were the only main ways of communication between patients and providers. Today, the tide has shifted to where healthcare providers must now engage patients with an omnichannel approach, with a focus on patient experience.