Using Automated Communication to Enhance Patient Experience
March 01, 2017
Great patient care shouldn’t end when your patients walk out the door. With smartphones, email, texting, and various other technological tools at our fingertips today, sending a regular stream of patient communications is both easy and effective for reminding your patients to pay attention to their own health priorities.
Most healthcare providers have heard the term “patient engagement,” but few truly understand what it means in terms of application. To put it simply, engaging your patients means getting them involved in their own health outcomes by encouraging them to adopt nutritious eating, regular exercise, and good decision-making habits. These goals can be reinforced through regular interaction with a healthcare provider through various methods of patient communication.
In short, the more you communicate with your patients, the more engaged they become.
Technology is making all kinds of things possible that we once thought only existed in sci-fi books. Telemedicine, mobile health apps and trackers, and the potential for automated patient communications are just a few of the incredible developments. According to a recent study from West, roughly 4.9 million people across the world used some kind of home-based healthcare technology in 2015. Since researchers expect that number to reach more than 36.1 million by 2020, practices would be wise to jump on the high-tech bandwagon. The end result could be better overall health for your patients and community.
Best of all, with automated patient communications, you and your staff barely have to lift a finger to keep your patients engaged and conscious of their healthcare needs. With the right system, automated messages via text, email, and phone call can be sent to your patients for reasons like upcoming appointment reminders, monthly outreach fact sheets, and even reminders about general health goals. For patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, these little reminders and communications could help your patients stay on track with overall health objectives.
Below are five ways that automated patient communications and increased patient interaction can improve overall healthcare outcomes for your patients:
Medication reminders - According to an article originally published in the American Health & Drug Benefits, “Adherence to medications is essential for patients with chronic disease for optimizing clinical outcomes.” Making sure patients take their medications, many of whom may forget when a new medicine is introduced or when multiple medicines pile up, can mean the difference between health and sickness in many chronic sufferers.
Appointment reminders - This could be used for either upcoming appointments or to touch base when a patient hasn’t scheduled a yearly check-up. Life gets ahead of many of us so quickly. We forget to schedule yearly physicals, screenings, or dental cleanings. With automated patient communications, a quick reminder can get your patients back on track.
Positive or encouraging health information - This could come in the form of newsletters, fun fact emails, or further information about a condition your patient is having to manage on a daily basis. By adding a positive and uplifting message, you create positive associations for your patients regarding their health. Through these types of patient communications, you give your patients control over their own health and help them feel good about it.
Preventive care - In general, giving your patients information about different preventive treatments can only improve their understanding of their own healthcare needs. These types of patient communications can be strictly informative or you can push specific actions by offering details about coupons, events they can attend, or other action-related items to encourage your patients to take a more active role in preventive care.
Build a relationship - According to a recent West Corporation article, patients who receive communications from their providers tend to feel more trust for them. Even more, roughly 85 percent of patients wish they received more communication from their providers. To make a long story short, your patients will respond better if they think you care. They will truly believe you care if you reach out to them more often than for scheduling and billing phone calls.
Healthcare is not the same industry that it once was. Today’s healthcare field is filled with new opportunities to achieve incredible health outcomes. Through automated patient communications, your practice can get started on making those positive results a reality.
About the Author - Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood.