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Go Digital or Go Home

By July 21, 2020 July 30th, 2020 No Comments

The COVID-19 experience has awakened many business sectors, especially healthcare, into realizing the importance of the Digital Patient Experience (DPE). How we communicate with patients may never be the same.

The healthcare industry has already undergone the transformation to become more consumer-facing, and that consumer is calling for more digital options. To win in the current, albeit ever-changing, landscape is to revisit your technology platforms, especially those that interface with consumers, and focus your attention on creating a digital experience that is engaging, efficient and delights your current and potential patients.

Is Social Media the Answer?

It’s no secret that social media has become a potent tool to communicate with patients. However, once the clinical aspect of an encounter became more challenging with social distancing, the social element has slipped into the abyss. At the same time, everyone is scrambling to provide care in a private and secure manner. It is safe to assume that a large segment of healthcare consumers will demand the same level of access, quality, and cost. The access portion of the equation requires multiple channels to meet patients where they choose to receive their care.

What About Patient Portals?

Since the inception of EMRs, secure patient portals evolved rapidly and were considered the gold standard for patient-physician communication. However, to use these portals, patients must first become established and have an account. This creates a barrier to access for new patients. Additionally, the layers of security, confusing navigation, and ill-defined e-workflow at the physician’s office to respond in a timely fashion collectively result in a user adoption rate that rarely exceeds 18%.

We also have yet to see an EMR portal with advanced video conferencing capabilities or secure text messaging for patients who demand a digital experience. Overall, a patient portal is a useful tool for a small percent of patients who are satisfied with email correspondence or would like to review their medical records, but they’re not a “slam dunk” for digital care.

Is Your Website Working for You?

Websites are seeing a reemergence as the renewed portal for consumer-facing interaction. As web-based platforms for video, secure text, file sharing, and appointment scheduling become more sophisticated, all of these APIs can easily integrate with your EMR, and the link for the consumer resides on your website!

The digital healthcare development community has gone wild with creating platforms for every facet of the digital healthcare experience.

Yes, social media will continue to play a role, and having a presence on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter will continue to be useful sources of connectivity. What’s changed, however, is that these platforms are best suited to drive patients to your website, where they can connect with their physician using multiple easy-to-use platforms.

Do You Need a Network Assessment?

For a traditional physician’s office, what is most needed is an assessment of your network. To accommodate digital healthcare, you will need a complete network assessment to determine if you have sufficient network resources to provide consumer-demanded access points and still support EMRs, call centers, and cloud-based tunnels to ancillary providers. Fiber optics, cloud-based platforms, web-based APIs are all enhanced, cost-effective, efficient, and (most important) consumer-driven strategies that create a better digital experience for the consumer who is at home, spending their healthcare dollars on their smartphone.

The winning move is to evaluate your digital experience with as much zeal as you did the face-to-face experience.

  • Create a digital roadmap that blends the human and digital aspects of the patient experience.
  • Open new channels using web-based APIs that can easily interface with your EMR.
  • Reassess your network architecture to determine if it’s robust enough.
  • Evaluate your internal workflows to create a seamless digital experience that you created for patients who come into the office. People are the driving forces of the success of any digital tool you add!

Important Reminder: The best digital tools in the world will only be as useful as the adoption of digital culture in your organization.

Confused? We’re Here to Help.

At Healthwise Management, we’re ready to guide you through the swamp of the DPE and help you create an experience that leaps over your competition while respecting the tenants of access, quality, and cost as the pillars of excellent patient care.

Ultimately, your success is our success! Contact us today.

Mark Ackley

Author Mark Ackley

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