Digital transformation has impacted every industry, encouraging more convenience for every customer and in turn, increasing consumer expectations. And healthcare is no different. Patients are ready and searching for the same digital conveniences offered by banks, online retailers, and curbside restaurant pick-up.

Today’s healthcare decisions are met with endless choices and options. And when patients aren’t satisfied with their digital experience, a simple Google search can connect them to a new provider within a few seconds. 

In our most recent webinar hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review and sponsored by Podium, industry experts Felicia Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at HCA Healthcare, and Craig Daly, Podium General Manager of Healthcare at Podium, gathered to discuss best practices for healthcare and digital transformation for the patient journey.

Here are five key takeaways from the discussion: 

1. Mirror your digital presence with your in-person patient experience.

Healthcare organizations tend to place most of their focus on the in-person care delivery that occurs once patients are in the office, but there are critical touchpoints in the journey leading up to the actual appointment. Reflecting on the quality and great service you’re delivering in person adds value to your digital front door. Online reviews and your website experience (think web chat, FAQs, office hours, etc.) can impact your digital presence, and upleveling each of those can reflect the quality of care you offer in person.

2. Humanize all possible digital interactions for your patients.

There are countless opportunities to digitize different aspects of the patient journey, but it’s critical to maintain authenticity in every response. It’s a key challenge many organizations face as they advance their digital presence—finding the balance between being human while increasing efficiency with digital solutions. 

Patient feedback is an important area to incorporate a real-time human element in digital interactions. Responding to reviews, incorporating web chat, and even opening additional digital channels (e.g. texting) can help healthcare organizations accomplish this task. By implementing a strategy to humanize all possible digital interactions, negative feedback becomes a real-time opportunity to turn a potentially lost patient into a supporter.

3. Inform digital transformation initiatives and reduce call volume with patient inquiry data.

Taking note of commonly asked questions—such as questions about your telehealth options—presents a critical opportunity to provide more information online. Patient inquiry data can help you clearly identify exactly what patients and potential patients are searching for in their Google searches, on your website, and in reviews. Checking in regularly on search traffic and Google Analytics can help identify high-demand information gaps within an organization’s digital presence.

4. Utilize COVID-19 digital processes long term.

COVID-19 has accelerated digital growth in the healthcare industry, and many of the procedures implemented in the wake of the global pandemic are worth continuing. To eliminate exposure risk, for example, many healthcare organizations added a texting channel to communicate appointment start times and to allow pre-visit forms to be completed virtually. With these changes, patients have more convenience and more control throughout their patient journey.

5. Be proactive and communicate aspects of the patient journey that can’t be optimized.

While Amazon is a model for the type of convenience and speed consumers expect, some elements of the patient journey simply can’t be optimized. And while the healthcare industry has more compliance and privacy concerns, in terms of patient data, compared to the retail industry, certain digital adoptions that work for a business like Amazon are infeasible. In those cases, it’s important to proactively set expectations. 

Don’t forget to download our Ebook “The Modern Patient Journey”.

To watch the full webinar and hear more about effectively digitizing the patient journey,  click here.

Bryan Oram
Bryan Oram AVP of Healthcare Enterprise Sales

Bryan Oram is a Healthcare professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects healthcare businesses with their patients.

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