By Jim Higgins, Solutionreach
Let’s face it, whether you are a small practice or health system, everyone in healthcare wants the same thing—to thrive and be successful. So, what is the secret to happy, satisfied patients? You know, the ones who are likely to not only return but also bring their friends and family with them. Not surprisingly, one of the secret weapons of successful healthcare organizations is on-going communication. In fact, a 2018 study from Aetna found that one of the things patients want most from their physicians is better, and more in-depth, communication.
Of course, you want to provide good communication with patients. However, have you ever wondered just how much (and what types) of communication patients want from you? In general, we can break down the types of communication patients want into three major categories: preventative communication, disease management, and billing information. And while each of these topics should be addressed during on-site visits, it is very important to make sure that you are providing information on each of these categories between visits as well. In fact, research has shown that doing so can result in better care outcomes and, ultimately, higher patient satisfaction rates. Let’s look at each of these categories in depth, along with some of the specific types of messages you can send to address these needs.
Technology Addresses The Communication Challenge
At first glance, communicating with patients so frequently and with such depth can seem daunting. Moreover, without the proper tools in place, it would be too cumbersome and complicated to accomplish. Fortunately, with modern technology (like text message, email, chatbots, and more), it is possible to reach out to patients without adding a tremendous workload to the healthcare organization. How? Patient communication tools allow for communication that is both automated and customizable.
It is simply not possible for a healthcare organization to manually reach out to every patient. That is why automation of communication is critical. Some organizations shy away from automated messaging, thinking that it is too impersonal. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, automation puts patient needs at the top of the priority list. Automation ensures that not a single patient is lost in the shuffle of daily business.
In addition to automating communication, today’s patients expect communication to be personalized. In order to address the different healthcare conditions of patients, it is important that a patient communication tool can categorize patients (and send communication) based on different chronic conditions. By grouping all patients with diabetes, for example, a healthcare organization can send out recommendations and education that are directed toward those patients.
Research shows that there is a direct correlation between a healthcare organization’s communication skills and a patient’s overall health and satisfaction levels. Fortunately, through the use of modern technology, it is possible to give patients the type of communication they want without overextending your healthcare organization.
About The Author
Jim Higgins is the CEO and founder of Solutionreach. Since 2000, Higgins has innovated and guided the direction of the Solutionreach technology to meet all patient relation management needs of dental, vision, plastic surgery and medical practice specialties.