- The Growing Importance of Patients’ Digital Experiences and How They Impact Feelings About a Healthcare Business (On Google, their website, app, social media)
Now more than ever, people are using mobile devices and computers to find businesses, make appointments, gather information, and form opinions. This trend is much stronger with younger, more tech-savvy patients, but with time, a digital approach will be the preference for all age groups. The healthcare industry is not exempt from this shift, so it is imperative that every healthcare facility ensures patients have positive digital experiences.
A recent study found that 86% of patients who have access to an online portal prefer this method for some or all communication with their healthcare providers. Not surprisingly, 80% of patients who have utilized a mobile application for real-time communication prefer this method over the more traditional in-office experience.
Despite the overwhelming preference for a digital experience, 85% of healthcare insurance executives don’t have the necessary tools in place to meet this growing demand. It’s clear that a patient’s digital experience can greatly impact their long-term feelings about a healthcare business, but what steps can healthcare executives take to ensure future success?
With the wealth of information available online, patients can and often will decide how they feel about a healthcare business without having to step through the front door. The first step toward influencing patients’ feelings about your facility is to consider the following questions:
- Can they find the information they need? Patients can utilize search engines, your website or mobile application, social media, and other platforms for informational purposes. Utilize all of these platforms to ensure patients always have access to any necessary information.
- Is all your information up-to-date and accurate across all platforms? If the information displayed on Google search results differs from the information on your website or mobile app, the resulting confusion can be very damaging. Streamlining your online presence is the best way to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
- Can patients easily find this information? Websites and applications lose their convenience if patients can’t find what they are looking for or can’t find it in a timely fashion. Everything must be intuitive and speedy, otherwise patients will become frustrated and will find another healthcare provider.
- How will patients contact you with specific questions? It’s vital to have a streamlined process for handling any questions or requests from patients. The longer it takes to provide helpful answers, the less likely it is for the patient to be happy.
- Can patients complete an interaction without having to make an in-office visit? As highlighted above, many patients now prefer to communicate solely through an online portal or application when possible. Supplying patients with the option to complete an encounter online should be the top priority for each healthcare business.
While each of your patients has unique needs, it’s safe to assume that all of them want to quickly and easily find accurate information and have reliable methods for completing interactions from the privacy of their homes.
In addition to answering the questions discussed above, there are three great ways to improve the chances of patients having positive digital experiences:
- Google and SEO
If patients have trouble finding your healthcare business online, that makes it so much more difficult to deliver positive digital experiences. Setting up a Google business profile is the best way to ensure that your facility shows up in search results – and shows up with all the correct information. Search engine optimization (SEO) is also important for ensuring current and potential patients can find your business.
(I figured it would be good to mention Google/SEO so you can tie it back to your business. Let me know if you want more specific/different information included here)
- Consider the Future of Communication
Phone calls and emails are no longer sufficient for attracting forward-thinking patients. Mobile applications, online portals, live chats, and even social media are all emerging as the preferred methods of communication for patients. Working to implement these types of communications will not only immediately help improve patients’ opinions, but it will also set up your healthcare business for years to come.
- Marketing and Content Strategy
One of the biggest challenges facing the healthcare industry is simplifying information so that all patients can understand it. The growing preference for digital channels is due largely to convenience, but convenience goes out the window for patients who have trouble understanding messaging from healthcare providers. The messaging must be simplified in a way that is still medically accurate and then paired with images and videos so it is quick and easy for patients to take in.
Healthcare businesses only have one opportunity to leave a positive impression in the minds of patients, which is why your company’s digital experience is so important these days. The shift in patient preferences has left many healthcare businesses woefully unprepared when it comes to delivering positive digital experiences. However, the good news is that patients are clear about what they prefer, and the relevant technology already exists. The next step is to plan your strategy and embrace the digital revolution.