In a Digital World, Patient Engagement Starts with Your Website
Patient engagement equals patient retention
As more people worldwide do more of their consumer activities online, their user experience expectations are on the rise. Websites in all industries are working to meet that bar, and it’s important that healthcare organizations do the same in order to improve their patient engagement.
In an industry as multifaceted as healthcare, patients may not have considered their online options, but if given a useful tool that helps them navigate the complexities of the industry and allows them to be partners in their care, they will gravitate to it and become loyal to the organization that provides it.
The internet offers an overload of health information from myriad sources. Patients benefit from having a trusted source. Healthcare organizations can be that source for their patient communities, helping them proactively engage in their own care.
Here’s how healthcare organizations can improve their patient engagement through a better digital experience:
Make creating a profile and logging into patient portals painless.
Patients with all levels of technical intuition need to feel included and have access to the portal. Integrating email logins – Gmail allows users to log into non-Google applications using their Gmail password – makes it so patients don’t have to create and keep track of a new username and password. For patients who do create a username and password, it’s important that they can recover their credentials easily without compromising their account security. It’s also important that portal functionality doesn’t suffer on phones and other mobile devices.
Provide access to lab results and health records.
Timely email notifications are a key here. Let’s not put it on the patient to continually log back into the portal to see if their lab results are in. Email notifications make it so patients know exactly when their results are ready or their health record has been updated.
Whether in the portal or on a website, patients benefit from quality information in one trusted place. Let’s make it so they aren’t searching the web for anything they can read about their health issues. Let’s prove they can turn to their health network to provide the best, most accurate information.
Offer treatment cost information.
Insurance coverage differences notwithstanding, patients deserve transparent cost-per-procedure information from providers. To the extent possible, explanation-of-benefit statements from insurance companies should also be available alongside procedure cost information.
Review your processes for online scheduling and payment.
Make sure that the user experience is easy and as simple as possible. While most healthcare organizations today provide these features, they are not always user-friendly. Given that payment and scheduling are frequently used features on healthcare websites, focusing on improving how these processes work for the user can be a big win for healthcare organizations.
These are meaningful improvements to the way healthcare organizations engage their patients. Digital tools make this level of partnership possible and increasingly expected.
Let us know what you think.