How to bolster patient satisfaction in the digital age — 5 insights

Strong communication between patients and providers is the key to creating a positive patient experience. And the channel for that communication has shifted in recent years.

Today, patients prefer text messaging for nearly everything—from scheduling to billing to review requests. Texting offers a modern way to connect, engage, and bolster patient satisfaction in the digital age. 

In an October webinar, hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, Marc Hansen, director of mid-market and enterprise marketing at Podium, and Melissa Haught, director of strategic marketing and communications at Monument Health, reviewed ways to elevate the patient experience and boost patient connection. 

Here are five key insights from their discussion: 

1. Convenience is critical for patient satisfaction
Convenience plays an important role in customer satisfaction. Nearly 80% of consumers say that convenience is part of a positive patient experience. Today's patients now expect the same level of on-demand service they experience with every other industry. More than 70% of consumers want to digitally schedule appointments and 63% are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. Offering appointment scheduling via text and a web chat option on your site can help providers reduce call volumes, improve response times with patients, and boost conversion rates overall. 

2. Texting is patients’ preferred communication channel
Most healthcare providers are misaligned with customer-preferred communication channels. While surveys show that a majority of consumers rely on digital communications, businesses often fall back into what they think consumers want most—phone calls and emails. “What we're finding is that 89% of our customers prefer to engage through texting, social media messaging or video chat," Melissa shared. "There's a misalignment that's happening; a clear disconnect for our patients." From a management perspective, it's critical that communications from all these sources are centralized to a single inbox for rapid and quality response.

3. Patients want and need ongoing healthcare conversations
Two-way text messaging and follow-ups can facilitate ongoing healthcare conversations. Marc explained, “patients often cannot recall the advice and instructions received during an appointment.” Texting creates an opportunity to address the issue and educate patients. Melissa agreed, sharing how Monument Health is taking advantage of those opportunities. "Both our doctors and nurses are following up with patients," she said. "We're making sure they understand their discharge instructions and what they are supposed to be doing at home."

4. Patients want mobile payment options
Not only do patients want more payment options that are convenient—like pay via text—those options promise to increase collections. "About 80% of patients have said they would prefer to use their mobile device to pay healthcare bills,” said Marc. He added that Podium’s customers who use mobile billing are seeing higher accounts receivable conversion rates.

5. Texting can improve patient review requests
Nearly 90% of consumers read reviews and nearly 75% trust the content. Asking for patient reviews can not only drive new business, it can fuel improvement for healthcare organizations. And asking in the right way can improve response rates even more. Monument Health found that 77% of their patients are willing to leave a review if they are asked to do so. Since implementing Podium in March 2020, Monument Health has grown their reviews to more than 9,000. "We report these reviews to our leadership quarterly," Melissa said. And each review has been used to improve the overall patient experience at Monument Health. "For us, we need to work on reducing wait time," Melissa said. "Reviews reveal very manageable things we can control, helping us improve our overall patient experience."

To watch the complete webinar, access the full recording here.

And to register for upcoming webinars, click here.

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