September 25, 2020 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team
Think back on the last time you had an amazing experience with a customer service executive. Maybe you got the wrong item when you ordered something online, you called customer service and had the right item delivered to you the next morning. Or imagine, your flight got delayed by several hours and you received a voucher for a free flight for the next time you book a flight with that airline. In today's customer-centric market, these types of cases are common.
With the bulk of companies already competing mainly based on the customer experience, it is no longer optional to provide customers with extraordinary service. According to a recent study by Aberdeen Group, companies with strong customer engagement and experience programs retain an average of 89% of their customers, as opposed to 33% for companies with weak ones.
Now look back at your last experience as a patient. Possibilities are you waited more than a couple of hours to consult your doctor and, when you finally got into the exam room, you had to repeat all of the information you had previously given about your sickness over the telephone. It's no secret that healthcare has historically failed to live up to expectations from patients. Patient-centric strategies have fallen by the wayside as hospitals have instead focused on - how to decrease costs and increase their bottom line. The healthcare industry has some making up to do – particularly when compared with retail and other direct-to-consumer industries. Considering healthcare is essentially very personal in nature, a solid engagement and customer experience strategy are especially vital.
Let's understand what is patient engagement journey? And understand why it is so important throughout the whole journey of care?
Everyone uses the term "patient engagement" but not everyone knows the meaning of patient engagement. While patient engagement does take place during a single encounter, engagement shouldn't be restricted to that one encounter alone. Healthcare providers should be focusing on the ways through which they can drive patient engagement during the whole patient care journey.
In today's healthcare ecosystem, patients have more choices and responsibilities when it comes to managing their care. This ecosystem shift indicates that the patient journey is not a linear one, but rather a multi-stage journey with many different channels and touchpoints along the way (much like a tree with many different branches).
Self-analysis of condition and symptoms leading to online research, training, and posting questions on social media.
Communication with health care providers with a call to their call center.
Assessment of health status in the doctor's office.
Follow-up, medicines, prescriptions, etc.
Modifications to decrease re-admissions and promote proactive health.
Patients care management between patient visits, promoting engagement between the patient and physician, and allowing the patient to manage their health and care.
It's necessary to know that the patient journey is dynamic that continuously develops with the patient life.
Now, with more informed patients, healthcare organizations have a significant challenge - How can they effectively reach their patients and keep them engaged through the platforms they love to use like social media, mobile, digital, phone, personal mail, etc. The secret is to give personalized care to each patient. Active patient engagement includes engaging patients based on their data (demographic, medical history, social history), all of which can be managed by an EHR system. With this information in hand, healthcare providers can build and manage multi-channel operations to target specific demographics, patients at risk, patients with special conditions, etc. to efficiently involve patients in their care. Healthcare providers need to understand where exactly patients are in the engagement journey (awareness, help, etc.) to increase the engagement with the patient.
Patient journey mapping is a useful approach to use during the build-out of any healthcare engagement campaign. As discussed above, the patient journey happens in 6 stages. It starts with awareness, and it never entirely ends.
As patients become more intelligent than ever before, encouraging patient engagement isn't just best practice - it's crucial. Clinics need to do more than to simply improve engagement during a single encounter. They need to discover ways to engage patients during the entire continuum of care, keeping regular communication and giving content, resources, and reminders to promote an ongoing relationship.
What's more...patients want to be engaged!
A recent study stated that 9 out of 10 patients would like providers to offer preventative care tips. The result is that patients, who more proactively handle their care, prefer a healthcare organization that enables them to do so. It's a win-win situation.
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