In a fiercely competitive healthcare space, patients have more options than ever for their healthcare needs. As such, offering great medical service is no longer enough to win over most patients – especially those who have grown accustomed to the conveniences they find in the commercial space. To meet the needs of this diverse patient population, healthcare organizations are beginning to introduce a combination of human communication support and technology-enabled solutions.
Here are three ways you can better server your patients as consumers:
- Make your website easy to find and navigate. Prior to ever booking an appointment, 77 percent of potential patients use search engines to find care,1 while 25 percent of Americans use web searches as their primary method of finding a doctor.2 If your website is not optimized to perform well within search results, potential patients may never find it. Even if they do, a website that is outdated, offers little information or unclear calls to action, or provides an overall poor user experience (especially on mobile devices) will do little to convince patients to schedule an appointment with you.
- Provide options when scheduling, changing, and canceling appointments. Reaching for the phone and calling to schedule appointments is still the most common method used by many patients, but 77 percent of consumers think scheduling and modifying appointments online is important.3 The commercial space has fostered this convenience with options to order food online and via smartphone apps, as well as stores offering convenient in-store pickups that save consumers from having to collect the items themselves and wait in a checkout line. By 2019, 64 percent of patients will book appointment digitally,4 and by not offering this option you risk missing out on a large number of potential patients.
- Remind patients about appointments and preventative care. Humans are forgetful and aren't always diligent about adding appointments to their calendar. As mundane as no-shows are, when coupled with failure to follow up, they can pose some of the greatest legal risks for physicians.5 Messaging services can help mitigate these risks and create better patient experiences, as 59 percent of patients feel it's important to receive reminders to schedule preventative care appointments via email or text message.6 What's more, by leveraging appointment reminders, no-show rates can drop by as much as 80 percent.
Learn more about what modern patients expect from their healthcare experiences in our infographic, Consumer Expectations Define Today's Patient Journey.
1 Think with Google's The Digital Journey to Wellness
2 Catalyst Healthcare Research, 2014
3 Accenture, 2014
4 Accenture, 2016
5 American Medical News, 2013
6 Harris Poll, 2016