A version of this article appeared on Customer Experience Magazine. You can read it here.
Two years into the pandemic, healthcare providers are entering a different era, one that’s earned the nickname “the new normal.” Used to describe the long-term consequences of COVID-19, this new phase has brought about nursing shortages, supply chain issues and — most often overlooked — changes in healthcare consumer needs when it comes to the patient experience.
A new study on behalf of CVS Health uncovers what today’s healthcare consumers are looking for. At the top of the list? Over 80% think personalization is important when it comes to their care plan.
Unfortunately, the current patient experience doesn’t reflect this. While providers are working towards a digital-first approach to make the entire experience more convenient, patient engagement is lacking the personal touch needed in the industry.
But there’s good news: healthcare providers have the power to change this. Leveraging the latest personalization technology lets providers engage with patients on the devices they use, 24/7, on demand in a way that’s relevant, human and helpful. The result is a more streamlined and meaningful patient experience.
Patient Education at a Personal Level
The numbers don’t lie: patients want personalization. The issue, though, is that it can be hard for providers to decide which touchpoints to focus their engagement efforts on.
A great place to begin is patient education — key for allowing individuals to take better control of their care plan. Research shows this has a real impact. Just 45 minutes of patient education can improve outcomes for those with chronic conditions.
Some of the biggest healthcare providers are already upgrading their patient education with personalization. Take NHS, for instance. The healthcare provider sent patients with Type 2 diabetes an Interactive Video during the height of the pandemic. Sharing personalized tips for taking better care of their health, the campaign saw impressive results, including an 86% patient approval rating.
By focusing on the specific steps individuals can take, providers enable patients to take better care of their health. And providers agree. Over 90% believe interventions like this positively affect a patient’s ability to successfully follow through with their care plan.
Patient Navigation Done Right
The value of getting patients to the right resources cannot be understated. Healthcare consumers and providers agree on the importance of coordinated care.
- 85% of healthcare consumers would like their PCP to be aware of other physicians they’re seeing.
- 64% of physicians think offering patients access to other professionals to coordinate care has a moderate to high impact.
Proper patient navigation gives patients the right care when it matters most. Using the right digital tools makes this easy, letting providers engage patients at a personal level — and at scale. Here are some examples of what this approach looks like in action:
- Address common questions by sending patients an Interactive Video that answers them all with relevant data. Add a link viewers can click within the video that takes them straight to their patient portal.
- Send an automated text letting visitors know the estimated wait time for their appointment.
- Share a customized checklist via email or in-app reminding patients of what needs to be brought to their consultation.
Patient Communication Goes Visual
While moving processes online has its benefits, it also has its challenges, such as a lack of in-person interactions key to humanizing the patient journey. How can providers bring a human touch back to this experience?
Make it visual. This might be a GIF reminding patients to fill out their paperwork or an infographic highlighting key information about new medication. An especially useful medium for providers to talk to patients is video. When customized for patients, video has been shown to boost engagement approximately 10x.
And with the latest technology, video can be even interactive, creating a two-way conversation that humanizes the patient experience at scale. An approach like this not only delights the viewer, but it also builds deeper connections for better healthcare relationships.
Better Engagement for Today’s Patients
Supply chain issues and staffing shortages are both serious concerns in healthcare at the moment, but the patient experience — and patient outcomes — remains priority.
Creating an efficient and streamlined patient experience doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. Take a holistic, digital approach to personalization. Tell patients what they need to know without overwhelming them with irrelevant details. Show that you care. Even if the medium is digital, the matter is someone’s health, and that couldn’t be more personal.