Digital patient engagement tools can help your practice meet and exceed patient expectations. MedTech is a growing sector of technology, and there are several great tools already available on the market.
The issue many healthcare providers grapple with is finding or developing a tool that their patients will use. Patient engagement tools can be a significant investment. Therefore, it is natural for health systems and local healthcare providers to consider the potential ROI, adoption rate, etc., especially when there is a chance that it might not be used.
This post will explain why you should consider investing in digital patient engagement tools. We’ll explore the benefits of digital patient engagement and the top features of patient engagement tools.
The Benefits of Digital Patient Engagement
Patient expectations have never been higher. Today, there are mobile apps to complete almost any task a user might face. Healthcare organizations are different from other businesses, but they are not exempt from changing patient expectations. If I can schedule an appointment, handle all banking transactions, or book a vacation online using my phone, why can’t I manage my health, data, and doctors using the same device?
Patients expect more access and control over their health records, payment history, treatment plans, etc. And healthcare systems should encourage patients to be more engaged with their health. This will lead to better outcomes and reduced patient stress on healthcare organizations. The primary benefits of investing in digital patient engagement tools include:
- Improved patient experience
- Greater patient access
- Financial clarity
Improved Patient Experience
In the past, communication flowed in one direction, from healthcare providers to patients. Today, health care is more collaborative. As a result, patient expectations changed. People expect to be able to speak with their providers and share information with them digitally. Changing expectations combined with the rise of wearable technology, health data, and telemedicine has led to several platforms and engagement tools drastically improving the patient experience.
Your practice should consider the ways you can drive patient engagement through technology. Other practices adopt these tools, and if you fail to provide your patients with the experiences they expect, you could lose them. Technology has helped improve the patient experience, but it has also given patients more options.
Greater Patient Access
Technology has greatly expanded our access to almost every service, product, and piece of information available. Digital patient engagement tools give people greater access to their doctors, health information, treatment plans, etc. Health issues rarely pop up at times convenient to the traditional nine to five business hours. Engagement tools can help patients get the help they need when they need it. They also provide greater access to health data and records.
Having the ability to share symptom information, treatment effectiveness, etc., in real-time helps to improve patient outcomes and gives people greater access to their treatment. Digital patient engagement tools also remove barriers like automated messages and phone trees that typically plague patients and complicate the completion of routine clerical tasks like paying bills and scheduling appointments.
There has been a significant shift in payer responsibility in the healthcare industry. Now, more than ever, patients are absorbing a greater share of health care costs. Large deductible and high co-pay health plans are leading patients to pay more attention to the financial side of healthcare, and they are also leading patients to shift how they make health-related decisions.
Today, patients are actively playing a role in their health care. They are doing research and making informed decisions about when and where they seek medical care. Digital patient engagement tools can help give patients financial clarity about the true costs of their treatment. Financial clarity and clear communication of costs are crucial in reducing patient no-shows and encouraging patients not to put off treatments due to cost. Patient engagement tools can also educate people on financial issues and offer them valuable resources to help ease financial anxiety.
Popular Features of Digital Patient Engagement Tools
There are several different types of technologies that drive digital patient engagement. When evaluating software for your practice, the two aspects to closely monitor are product design and data security. A poorly designed product won’t make life easier for your patients, and it won’t be adopted. Instead, it will be a waste of your resources. Additionally, data security needs to be a top priority. Most MedTech solutions should be HIPAA compliant, but it is your responsibility to make sure you are complying with federal and state data regulations.
Some of the most popular features of digital patient engagement tools include:
- Appointment reminders
- Digital check-in
- Payment plan options
- Patient portals
People have self-service options for booking hair appointments, dinner reservations, movie tickets, etc. So why not healthcare? Self-scheduling tools allow patients to make appointments on their time, which removes barriers, increases access to care, and improves patient satisfaction. It can be difficult to place a call during normal business hours when one works for a living.
Plus, self-scheduling grants patients greater privacy when describing the reason for their visit and reduces the number of errors caused by miscommunication over the phone.
Healthcare providers can use digital patient engagement tools to set automated appointment reminders and follow-up notices. Appointment reminders help reduce the number of no-shows, which protects the revenue of the practice and ensures there are not several empty appointment slots being wasted.
Automated reminders can be set to match the preferences of the patient via text, call, or email. Typically, these tools also give patients the ability to inform the practice if they can’t make their appointment, which gives providers more time to fill newly opened slots.
One major inconvenience associated with health care is the amount of check-in paperwork. Digital check-in tools can help practices save resources like paper, ink, clipboards, etc., and they make checking in more efficient and convenient for patients. All disclosure forms, privacy agreements, family histories, pre-existing condition forms, etc., can be quickly filled out, and key, unchanging information can be saved to autofill on the next appointment.
Payment Plan Options
Patients are covering a greater share of health care costs. Bill payment can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for patients and lead them to put off essential care. One of the most popular types of digital patient engagement tools enables providers to set up payment plans for their patients. Offering patients flexible payment plans not only helps reduce patient stress but also helps practices reduce bad debt and improve collections.
Patient portals can include a suite of patient engagement tools, from scheduling and bill payment to health record management and provider matching. The patient portal is a digital engagement tool that offers a wide range of different patient services. It can be thought of as a communications hub where patients can communicate with their providers, refill prescriptions, schedule appointments, pay bills, and so much more. The patient portal is one of the best ways to drive patient engagement and expand patient access.
Technology has changed patient expectations. If your practice wants to keep up with modern expectations, you need to adopt patient engagement tools. Determining which tools are the best fit for your practice can be a challenge. If you need assistance finding the right digital patient engagement tools or developing a custom solution, reach out to an app development partner.