Communication Plays A Vital Role In Building Strong Patient Relationships
Healthcare providers are more aware of the vital role communication plays in building strong relationships with patients. Being ill or having a procedure is stressful, and patients want to receive timely, useful information that reduces their anxiety.
When healthcare providers are consistent and transparent in their communication, patients are more likely to engage when they have questions, feedback or even compliments on the service they received.
Here are 5 ways to build better patient engagement using multichannel communications:
1. Put the customer at the core of communication design
Healthcare is a highly regulated sector, which can lead to communication that is not designed for easy reading. When you review current communications, its essential to look at them from a patient’s perspective.
While you cannot discount regulatory requirements, you can buffer the patient from some of the complexity by focusing on the information that is critical to them. And then identifying how you can make that information easy to find and understand.
Keeping these guidelines in mind will ensure that the patient remains at the core of communication design, which in turn will help build better patient engagement
Avoid basing design decisions on what “can be done” using the technology already in place. Rather focus on providing the best patient communication experience and find the right technology to support that.
2. Personalization is a must
Patients experience personalized communications from their suppliers in other sectors. In a survey conducted by Redpoint Global, 63 percent of consumers said they expect personalization as a standard of service.
Patients expect their healthcare communications to be customized based on their health/treatment, stage of life, and personal circumstances.
Start by personalizing communications using the data you have. Then, make sure your organization has a focused data strategy. This will help to build more detailed and specific profiles of each patient in order to better customize future communication and ensure better patient engagement.
3. The best communication channel is the one the patient prefers
There is no magic communication channel that will appeal to all patients. The best approach is to allow your patients to choose the channel on which they want to communicate at any given time.
If they prefer to receive their patient statement in the mail, you can make the experience a great one by adding inserts with personalized messaging and custom advice. If they prefer a digital statement, let them choose between receiving it by email or logging into a secure portal to self-serve.
You also need to guide them as to the best channel for a communication type. For example, you wouldn’t provide a detailed bill via text message, rather a notification by text with a link to the detailed bill on a secure portal. Likewise, sending a time-critical notice by printed letter does not make sense. This notice must be delivered on a channel that the customer views often during the day, such as text or email.
4. Keep things simple, but provide access to the detail
Make communications easy to understand, with the most important information up front and clearly presented. This may seem like a simple objective; however, healthcare systems can provide masses of data that is simply too much for the patient to digest.
Your customer communication management platform must be able to massage the source data into communication that addresses what 90% of patients need.
For those that want to understand the communication in more detail, provide access to more information or transaction-level data on an appropriate channel.
5. Channel integration is critical for patient experience
When offering multichannel communication options, it’s important to make all the necessary, updated, patient information available to all the customer interaction channels. Don’t make customers repeat their personal details or explain their query again when they switch channels or reestablish a dialogue.
For example, when a patient calls in and says, “I sent an email with a query about X”, the service representative should be able to access that email, understand the query and save the patient the frustration of explaining the issue from scratch.
This means that the content of a digital communication (email, text) must be readily available to other service channels, whether self-service, human, or chatbot.
Invest in a Customer Communication Management (CCM) platform
The foundation of building better patient engagement is a comprehensive CCM platform that enables patient communication at scale and adheres to regulatory requirements.
This is where outsourcing is a great option, as it offers a low capital outlay, faster speed to market and expertise in design & development of healthcare communications that achieve results.
A vendor with good CCM credentials will advise you on designing a great patient experience, as well as have the ability to work with complex data in order to support that experience.
Regional Vice President, Utilities and Healthcare at Doxim.
Jason has 22+ years of experience serving a diverse array of industries, across a wide range of print and digital communication technologies. Prior to joining Doxim in July 2020, he was a Senior Client Services Manager at Taylor Communications.
In his current position as Regional Vice President, Utilities, Jason is focused on developing long-term client relationships to facilitate account growth and expedient conflict resolution, He retains a key interest in communication management in other regulated industries, such as the Healthcare sector.