The Secret to Patient Engagement in 2020
Editor’s Note: Kristi Hudson, CPCO is a keynote speaker at our upcoming Ignite2020 one-day conference. She will be presenting to staff about Using Technology to Improve Outcomes Through Patient Engagement and Practice Efficiency. You can find out more about Ignite at www.ChiroIgnite.com.
According to the 2019 Healthcare Consumer Trends Report (NRC Health, 2019), the thing patients want more than any other is convenience, and the best way to meet that need is through technology. It states that using technology to better connect with patients is an idea that gets discussed often but can often feel out of reach for many healthcare providers. With technological advances happening at warp speed, how do we know which technology is most cost-effective and will meet the needs of our patients?
Convenient Visit Experience
In the same report, 20% of patients reported that they would switch providers if forced to wait too long. How long are your patients waiting to see you? When was the last time you walked in your patient’s shoes and came in the front door, sat in the waiting room, walked into a treatment room, and saw your office from their point of view? What do they see? What do they smell? Are there magazines or a TV in the waiting room to help them pass the time? Do you have Wi-Fi? Is the password posted and readily available? Is your office welcoming and inviting?
When was the last time you actually filled out your new patient intake forms? I recently filled out new patient forms for myself at a provider’s office in my area and had the delight of completing them online in less than 5 minutes. It was amazing. When I arrived for my scheduled appointment, I was stunned that I didn’t have to complete additional forms and was taken back to the treatment room after only a few minutes. When I checked out, my insurance had been verified in advance; I paid my co-pay and left. Several weeks later, I had to fill out new patient paperwork for my son, and that experience left a LOT to be desired. It was very similar to the pain and agony that most chiropractors put their patients through. I had to fill out multiple forms upon arrival, writing the same information on several sheets of paper, a task I had not completed before we saw the doctor. It was tedious and annoying. Why wouldn’t we utilize modern technology to improve the patient experience by having forms completed online that can be submitted electronically and uploaded directly to our EHR software?
Did you know that 51% of the time spent online in the US is on a mobile device? Or that 40% of people only search on smartphones? And 63% of all online traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. (Petrov, 2019) If your website is not mobile-friendly, then you’re creating a roadblock between your practice and your patients. A simple way to stay connected with your patients and give them instant access to your clinic, ensuring they receive the best experience possible while growing your brand, is by having a clinic app. In fact, mobile apps have higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing. Can you imagine the convenience of mobile online scheduling, push notifications for appointment reminders, or scheduling delays?
An article in the NY Poststated that Americans check their phones 80 times a day. (New York Post, 2017) (I bet you feel the urge to check your phone now.) Another website reported a year later that we unlock our phones on average of 150 times a day. WHAT!?!?! (G., 2019) Our phones have become a crucial piece of technology in all of our lives. Many providers feel that technology is something embraced by younger patients, like Millennials, when, in fact, older generations are also embracing the digital life. (Vogels, 2019) When it comes to becoming more engaged with your patients, we need to meet them where they are – their phones – and integrate technology that makes it convenient to choose us over someone else.