With the majority of healthcare consumers beginning their provider search online, it's imperative that health systems have a digital front door strategy that focuses on convenience, access, and efficiency. Today's patients have high expectations; therefore, they expect to be able to search, find, and book their appointment with your health system all online. To have a successful digital front door, your health system must give the same time and energy to your digital patient journey as you have your physical patient journey. Here are three tactics your health system should consider when creating your digital front door.
Consumers Use Data to Drive Engagement
Today's patients apply their consumer-buying experiences when making healthcare decisions, relying on searches, reviews, and digital self-service options to guide them. Today's patients expect to conduct a keyword search, find a provider, scan qualifications and reviews, self-schedule appointments, and receive confirmations and reminders. To meet these expectations, health systems need an efficient way to connect patients to the right provider in the right venue of care at the right time, and to provide an easy conversion with online patient self-scheduling at their moment of intent.
Of course, stating this is simpler than doing it because there's no central source of data. There are many siloed data feeds that impact the accurate delivery of physician profiles, availability, and schedules. Here are just some of them:
- Provider information and bios
- Locations and contact
- Clinical terms of conditions treated, but in consumer-friendly and easily searchable language
- Health plan participation
- Open or closed panel
- Telemedicine capacity
- Marketing information and facility videos
- Availability of on-site pharmacy or laboratory
How do you connect all of this data, and is the cost and effort worth it? One Stericycle client that integrated approximately 20 data feeds saw improved conversion, reduced call center volume, and increased online scheduling as a result of their provider data and online scheduling solution.
Provider Data as a Product
Traditionally "provider" or "provider data" conjures up the image of a single person. But to deliver on patients' consumer-centric expectations, it's helpful to reframe providers, locations, and services--all as products. Health systems need to create centralized, standardized, and usable data that is served to public-facing sites for consumers to take action on.
Don't forget that provider data is fluid and complex. It's not just integrating the various data streams one time but keeping it current amidst a changing healthcare landscape. Ensure you update data points when business as usual is interrupted by a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic or when health plan contracts change. In fact, 30% of provider data changes every year, and the annual cost of provider directory maintenance in the U.S. is $2.7 billion. Vast volumes of information must be continuously curated and updated.
To successfully execute digital initiatives, health systems need to look at their provider data as one of their organization's strategic assets. Showcasing your online data as products with accurate profiles for providers, locations, health plans, reviews, and other consumer-driven information can increase patient acquisition—and can be the digital equivalent of an inviting digital front door.
Unlock the Digital Front Door with Patient Self-Scheduling
Once patients are at your digital "welcome mat," it's important that you invite them in. A big part of that is being able to take action at the moment of intent by self-scheduling within a search result or on a webpage. KPMG reports that 58% of millennials and 64% of Gen Xers value online booking of appointments to the extent that they would switch providers in order to do so. Stericycle Intelligent Scheduling combines the best of human communication and a convenient, online self-service experience to help patients schedule, confirm, or reschedule appointments in the right venue of care.
It also facilitates patient-friendly processes such as contactless payments, virtual check-in, and telehealth visits, all of which are important to the modern patient journey, emphasizing patient self-service and the new, safety-centered realities of healthcare delivery amidst COVID-19.
Ensure your digital front door is friendly, hospitable, and a primary focus area with Stericycle Reputation Management. We help health systems manage and optimize provider data through robust, flexible, and unique provider profiles that highlight clinical expertise, health plan and network participation, medical education and research programs, and other data points that better match patients and providers.
To learn more about the importance of accurate provider data and your digital front door, watch our webinar.