Software is a powerful tool for provider-patient collaboration, which is one of the most important factors for determining outcomes in every area of health.
For a modern healthcare practice, patient communication on every level is a key factor in achieving good outcomes. There was a time in healthcare when practitioners could limit communication with patients, positioning themselves as experts who informed rather than collaborators who listened. There was a time when a quick conversation during a 15-minute appointment was considered sufficient opportunity for patients to ask questions and learn about their treatment plan.
Today, patient-centered care is essential to both patient satisfaction and health outcomes. That’s why an effective patient experience platform is an essential tool for the modern healthcare practice. Frequent communication, effective education, and continual patient engagement will improve patient satisfaction, staff efficiency, business growth, and health outcomes.
At the most foundational level, your practice’s use of technology should improve the patient experience. Features like being able to schedule online appointments and fill out intake forms online help streamline the patient experience. Convenient appointment reminder texts and emails help patients feel valued, and they also help patients stay engaged in their care, enabling them to easily confirm or reschedule if needed. Online onboarding and intake reduce wait times, enabling patients to spend less time in the waiting room and more time receiving care. Providing quick, convenient access to health information and personal health records enables patients to quickly view results of lab tests or get more information about a recent diagnosis, all of which increases patient knowledge and therefore improves satisfaction and outcomes.
A patient experience platform can also give patients an automatic opportunity to fill out a customer satisfaction survey or a provider review after their appointment. Including this as a standard part of a practice workflow demonstrates care what patients think and help improve their experience. Surveys and reviews provide a practitioner important data that can be used to improve patient satisfaction. Setting this as a standard for a practice recognizes the role of a patient as an evaluator of healthcare, which is a key concept in patient-centered care.
In addition, having a database of patient reviews readily available online provides transparency to new patients, giving them valuable information to make informed choices about their care. Over time, a database of positive patient reviews becomes a marketing tool for a growing practice.
Most healthcare practice staff spend hours per week on rote patient communication. Administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, sending reminders, rescheduling no-shows, and sending invoices require significant staff time. Performing these tasks by hand adds no value as compared to automation, and it’s frustrating and time-consuming for staff. In addition, many practices have insufficient systems for tracking informal communication, resulting in even greater inefficiency.
A good software can automate much of the work of communicating with patients while maintaining personalization. Patient actions can trigger specific communications, allowing staff to focus their time on more interesting and complex customer care needs instead of rote administrative tasks. A patient experience platform can also maintain automatic, instant records of every patient communication, ensuring seamless transition among different staff members.
For providers, too, a patient experience software can streamline care in a variety of ways. Features like digital contactless charting help providers spend less time tracking information and more time caring for patients. When communication is fully integrated with EHR, a provider can see everything about a patient—from healthcare records to recent conversations—at a glance, giving providers more detailed information about patients and enabling more efficiency, higher satisfaction, improved communication, and better care.
Gaining new patients and retaining existing ones is another key benefit of a powerful patient experience platform. Because it makes communication personalized, easy, and seamless, software can enable a practice to implement new marketing initiatives with little effort. Built-in email features enable quickly creating and sending a newsletter that includes personalized information for each patient. Refer-a-friend features help a practice grow organically by referral. And, as mentioned above, inviting patients to fill out online reviews helps build a positive reputation for a practice.
But there are two ways to grow a practice. The first is by gaining new patients; the second is by increasing care for existing patients. The patient experience is especially valuable for the second type of growth. Many existing patients don’t seek care as frequently as they should, especially in primary care practices. Automated reminders are a powerful tool for encouraging patients to schedule an appointment, which many patients put off when they feel healthy.
Finally, a patient experience platform can help improve overall outcomes for a practice and its patients. Software tools accomplish this through a variety of paths.
First, and perhaps most importantly, it improves outcomes by improving patient involvement and education. Software tools accomplish this by providing opportunities for communication that are personalized and targeted, without requiring undo administrative effort from the practice provider and staff.
For example, imagine a patient who is overdue for his annual checkup with his primary provider, and who has also been experiencing minor concerns related to a chronic condition. Since he doesn’t currently feel any urgency to solve a health problem, this patient is likely to delay scheduling an appointment until the minor problems become more serious. Conversely, software could send him an automated text reminder to schedule his checkup.
This patient would be likely to schedule his appointment with just a text reminder. But what if the system went even further, and included in the text a link that he could click to ask a question of his doctor? Clicking the link could enable him to immediately ask a question about the concerns he’s experiencing and receive a quick answer, enabling the doctor to assess whether the patient needs an earlier appointment or needs to take additional actions first. By providing convenient, quick communication tools, patient experience software enables a patient to be more active, informed, and knowledgeable about their health and healthcare needs.
For a private practice, implementing a patient experience tool can improve marketing, increase efficiency, and boost patient satisfaction. It can also exponentially improve a provider’s ability to communicate with patients to help them better understand their health, know more about their care, and be more involved in making decisions about their care. Software is a powerful tool for provider-patient collaboration, which is one of the most important factors for determining outcomes in every area of health. That’s why a patient experience platform is such an essential tool for every healthcare provider who wants to offer effective, quality care.