The healthcare patient journey is driven by opportunities to connect. From discovery online to appointment scheduling to check-ins and follow-ups, patients and providers are communicating. And many of those touchpoints fall short when convenience and speed aren’t the top priority.

Nine out of 10 consumers say they want to communicate with businesses via text. It’s time to upgrade your communication options, ditch those that don’t work, and connect to patients in a modern way.

In this August 2021 webinar, hosted by Becker’s Hospital Review and sponsored by Podium, Bill Fukui, senior vice president of MedShark Digital, and Taylor Boldt, a valued engineer at Podium, discussed the modern patient experience and how an Interaction ManagementTM platform can improve patient acquisition, engagement, and retention.

Read on for the five takeaways from this discussion:

Add convenience at every stage of the patient communication journey.

The modern patient experience can be chaotic and disjointed, and current solutions often exacerbate the problem. What do patients really want? “They want convenience at each stage of the journey,” said Taylor.

Current approaches in providers’ toolkits include phone trees, emails, and chatbots—none of which truly add convenience for the patient, or even the healthcare staff. In fact, 14% of every day for many staff members can be spent forwarding emails, taking phone calls, or duplicating information. And for patients, nearly 50% cite long hold times as one of the top reasons phone calls are so frustrating.

Solution options:

Consider adding an Interaction ManagementTM platform to transfer web chat conversations to text, easily request patient feedback via text, and schedule appointments digitally.

Patient acquisition efforts must shift to conversion.

“The acquisition and conversion of leads is the lifeblood of any healthy business,” said Bill. While exposure is expensive, interaction management can convert more of those leads by building credibility through reviews and providing consistent, relevant, and timely communications through texts. “Ultimately, this means converting current traffic without spending more money for exposure.” Podium has seen a 25 percent to 40 percent increase in lead generation when chat and texting services are added. “The key was that it didn’t diminish the number of phone calls, which tells us we were converting a higher percentage of people,” he added.

Solution options:

With an Interaction ManagementTM platform, it’s easier to request reviews via text. You can prioritize your online reputation by increasing review counts online, improving average star ratings, and updating the entire patient experience so that information is reflected in online reviews.

Ongoing patient engagement must be seamless, easy, and fast.

Taylor emphasized that the patient journey can’t stop with acquisition. “Their ongoing experience must be better or equal to that acquisition experience,” he said. “Whether that is asking for feedback, collecting payment, or setting an appointment, it all needs to be easy and efficient.”

Solution options:

Make it easy for patients and staff to communicate—convert your landline to a textable number, route all communication into a single inbox, and centralize all marketing data to make conversation history and patient updates easier.

Organizations that successfully implement Interaction ManagementTM platforms retain more patients.

“We’ve found that practices that provide strong omnichannel, consumer experiences retain 89 percent of their customers,” said Bill, senior vice president of MedShark Digital. On the other hand, “those practices that don’t [have an omnichannel experience] retain patients at a much lower rate, only around 30 to 33 percent.”

Solution options:

Meet modern patient expectations with modern communication tools. An Interaction ManagementTM platform makes it easy to facilitate private, one-on-one conversations, automate review requests, and collect patient feedback at all stages of the patient journey.

Managing positive patient reviews enhances online reputation, improves SEO, and capitalizes on the growth opportunities.

Texting is an effective way to solicit feedback and create a reputable online presence. “When you add reputation and reviews into an online marketing program, it’s going to help with visibility in your Google My Business profile,” said Bill. And dealing with negative reviews isn’t the only baseline for healthcare providers, it’s critical to respond to positive reviews as well. In fact, 97% of consumers who read reviews also read responses to reviews (and take that into account as they evaluate local businesses).

Bill also encouraged healthcare practices to “put your best resources on your greatest opportunities, not your biggest problems” and “build relationships with those people who are already publicly championing your practice.”

Solution options:

With an Interaction ManagementTM platform, it’s easy for your healthcare practice to not only request more patient reviews but to also respond to those reviews. And with a text messaging platform, you can build relationships with patients that make it easier to solve patient issues.

Watch the full webinar to access the full conversation and additional tips on selecting a text messaging tool for your healthcare practice.

To register for upcoming webinars, 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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