Patient Experience Goes Digital (and it’s here to stay)

Posted in Business Practices, Digital, Marketing | May 17,2021

Some things have changed forever. 2020 accelerated the adoption of digital tools in the healthcare arena, permanently altering the way patients access care and information. Accenture recently surveyed 2,700 patients all around the world and found that 60% say they want the choice to continue meeting with their healthcare providers and managing their conditions using technology implemented as a result of COVID-19.

This is big. Huge. And if you’re a medical practice, you’d be wise to pay attention. Because this shift in the way patients want to receive care calls for a new approach to how medical practices (and marketing agencies who represent medical practices🙋‍♀️) look at patient experience. While the pandemic has certainly accelerated the adoption of digital tools, now is the time to reassess them for long-term success.

Why Adopt Digital Tools

Digital tools help providers, and they also help patients. Win-win. Many digital tools give providers a more holistic view of patient health through access to data. And they give patients more control over their health. All with the goal of delivering a better (and more convenient) patient experience.

Many of the practices we work with use digital tools to:

  • Reduce inefficiencies within their practice
  • Improve access for their patients
  • Reduce costs
  • Increase quality of care for patients
  • Improve patient engagement

All that sounds great, right? We have a question for you:

Is Your Practice Providing a Best-in-Class Digital Experience for Your Patients?

If not, or even if you’re just not sure, this is a conversation that needs to be had. So let’s have it! Not sure where to start? We can help.

Make it Easy for Patients to Find You and Choose You

Forward-thinking practices will rethink care delivery to fit their patients’ busy lives and communication preferences. With the right technology, you can streamline how you schedule appointments, verify patient insurance, consult with patients and answer questions about elective procedures like LASIK and premium cataract surgery. Things like paying a bill should be as simple as tapping a smartphone. And non-emergent healthcare appointments should be available virtually through a telehealth/telemedicine service for those patients who want it.

Do all these things, and do them well, and just watch your patient satisfaction and retention soar! One word of caution: There are thousands of platforms out there, and they are not all equal. We have our favorites, and would be delighted to consult with you on which platforms will work best for your unique situation.

A Word About Reviews

You probably know that reviews and online reputation play a major role in consumer spending decisions; that includes how patients choose their providers! Consumers increasingly use reviews left by other consumers as part of their research efforts.

Studies show that good reviews drive revenue up, while negative reviews do just the opposite. Most people, when asked, admit that online reviews are important to them when researching a procedure or selecting a provider. Yet, despite the data, many of the great medical practices we have worked with don’t fully appreciate the importance of gathering and promoting great reviews while not ignoring bad ones!

Let’s imagine for a moment that your practice receives a negative review online. What should you do about it? Ignore it and hope better ones push it down out of sight?

Hard NO. You must address negative reviews. This is no time for sticking your head in the sand. You may be offended and/or outright disagree with what the reviewer said. That’s okay, but work through that privately before responding to the review.

“Nuclear reactions never serve the situation.”

Cyndi Miller, founder and CEO of Miller Public Relations

If you’re able, reach out directly to the person who left the review as, in many cases, the negative review is the result of a miscommunication or a misunderstanding that can be cleared up with a conversation. It’s even okay to ask the reviewer to remove their negative review.

If you’re unable to identify the reviewer or they won’t remove the negative comments, a heartfelt, sincere response can go a long way. This allows potential patients to see both sides of the story. It reinforces your online reputation as a caring provider while at the same time, reduces the impact of any negative comments.

A Better Patient Experience Demands More

Convenience is no longer just a nice-to-have perk. In today’s climate, people demand it from every business they do business with. Companies that do it well understand that convenience signals a commitment to their customer. For this reason, medical practices need to rethink patient engagement through the lens of, say, shopping on Amazon or the personalization of Netflix. Doing so means you can provide patients with the on-demand experiences they love and have grown accustomed to from private sector services. At a time when patient preferences are changing, and healthcare as an industry is learning to adjust, there’s no question about whether to adapt. You must! Technology can win you new patients and prevent longtime patients from straying to new providers.

Yes, We Can

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, or at the least, confusing, don’t worry. Moving in this new direction is not as hard as you might think. Sometimes, all you need is an experienced guide.

At Miller Public Relations, we sincerely love partnering with our clients to develop a 360-degree approach to growing their business. It can include building and protecting your reputation, developing your team and, yes, making sure all your processes (including software, platforms and marketing channels) are working for you. We’d love the opportunity to serve you. Let’s talk.