The pandemic influenced a lot of change over the past year, including the quick adoption of new digital health tools by patients and providers alike. In 2019, only 11% of patients were using telehealth; however, that proportion shot up to 46% by April 2020.
At first, providers encouraged patients to try virtual health options out of necessity, but according to a survey by consulting firm Accenture, many patients found that they in fact preferred virtual health tools and wanted to continue using them even after the pandemic. In fact, 60% of patients said they wanted to continue using virtual care to communicate with their providers as well as manage their health.
In order to meet these new expectations providers and their clinics will need to maintain the technological upgrades they’ve implemented, add new features, and update existing processes and procedures.
Focusing improvement efforts on virtual health offerings not only enhance the patient experience, but office productivity as well. Don’t know where to begin? Here are five key places to start!
Five Ways to Meet Your Patients’ New High-Tech Demands Post-COVID
1. Educate them about all the options you offer.
You’re steeped every day in the business of your practice, but patients may not be aware of all the changes you’ve made throughout the pandemic. Most are busy living their own lives and when they do engage with your clinic, they are focused on an immediate health need.
That’s why you need to over-communicate to get their attention. Announce your current lineup of virtual care options via digital and real-world signage and communications.
As you expand or offer new digital services, keep over-communicating and update your website with any new offerings, regularly. Use broadcasting capabilities (at a reasonable frequency) to notify patients of any new developments that might make their life easier or their experience more positive.
Remember, even if it’s now safer for patients to be seen in person, virtual appointments may be more convenient, and patients may really appreciate using the new digital services you offer.
2. Streamline your waiting room.
Even before the pandemic, nearly a quarter of healthcare consumers wanted the healthcare waiting room experience to mirror that of other, more technologically advanced industries. According to one consumer experience survey, 23% want to check in virtually, like they can with many restaurants.
Modern medical check in software allows patients to check in to their appointments remotely, allowing patient to wait almost anywhere (like their car, the clinic’s parking lot, their home, etc.), while still being able to monitor their place in line.
3. Make checking out easier and faster.
As with the waiting room experience, time spent checking out with the front desk can also be streamlined. All the major tasks that occur immediately after an appointment (delivering follow-up instructions, accepting payment, booking the next appointment) can now also be performed digitally.
4. Solicit feedback digitally.
Forget about physical comment cards. By now, your patients are quite comfortable filling out surveys online after consumer interactions. And there’s no reason not to ask for feedback on their patient experience with you, especially since digital tools make it so easy.
A patient engagement platform also enables you to program e-forms to easily collect feedback from patients right after they interact with you. This feedback is invaluable as it allows you to find out how patients currently rate your patient experience and even how to improve your patient experience, at the same time.
5. Incorporate texting into patient engagement efforts wherever possible.
Texting is now the most popular method of communication, according to patients. In a survey of communication preferences, nearly 80% of patients said that they wanted to receive text messages from their providers. The same survey found that interest in phone calls had plummeted 14% during the pandemic.
Robust Patient Engagement Platform Key to Success
Notice how many different features are on the list above? Your patients will want (and expect) you to offer multiple digital touch points post-COVID.
Implementing a full patient engagement platform, rather than an assortment of one-off programs, is an opportunity for you to improve clinic efficiency and patient experience at the same time.
Pomelo is committed to helping you take advantage of this unique moment. Contact us to discuss how the Pomelo Platform can help you meet your patients’ needs post-COVID.