Overcoming barriers to achieving paperless adoption targets in healthcare
Healthcare companies are known for generating a lot of transactional communication. Surprisingly, in a time of digital transformation, research done by Keypoint Intelligence in 2021 found that healthcare companies only send just over one third of transactional communication (i.e., bills, statements and other critical documents) by ‘electronic only’ (35%). The remaining communications are sent by ‘print/mail only’ (34%), and by both print and electronic channels (31%) - these recipients are referred to as ‘double dippers’.
How healthcare companies currently distribute transactional communication:
Based on research by KeyPoint Intelligence
That’s a lot of paper! And although there will always be a role for paper in healthcare communications, it does come with an increased operational cost and slower delivery timelines. That’s why it just makes sense to maximize the paperless adoption rates of healthcare communications.
Healthcare providers of all types are exploring how to increase their paperless adoption rates, as the industry continues to digitalize. Recent research by Keypoint Intelligence reveals which tactics healthcare providers feel have been most successful at promoting paperless adoption in healthcare. The results are:
- Hospital respondents (the largest group in the healthcare segment) mostly cited having an effective multichannel marketing strategy as key to successful adoption, while making it easy for patients to switch was a close second.
- For doctor’s office or outpatient clinic respondents, making it easy for patients to switch was first, while providing a better patient experience and setting realistic goals tied for second.
- All the revenue cycle management respondents said a better patient experience was a key reason for successful adoption, but also mentioned the need to focus on educating patients on the benefits of paperless adoption.
We can help your healthcare organization leverage digital adoption processes that simplify the switch and encourage patients to go paperless.
Patients want the ability to select the channel they would prefer their healthcare provider to use, when communicating with them. A single channel strategy assumes all patients are alike, which is not the case.
A multichannel strategy meets the patient where they prefer to operate, providing a higher likelihood that they will open and consume the information received. Interestingly, Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) respondents did not see a multichannel strategy as a tactic for successful digital adoption, meaning this is potentially an untapped opportunity for RCMs to encourage patients to adopt digital healthcare communications.
Making it easy for patients to switch
To encourage paperless adoption, switching to digital healthcare communications needs to be an easy, straightforward process, without fuss, friction or too much paperwork. According to Keypoint Intelligence, this tactic has been successful in meeting paperless adoption targets for both hospitals and doctor’s offices or outpatient clinics.
Interestingly, making the decision to switch to digital healthcare communications an easy one should not mean imposing penalties on those that prefer receiving a paper document in the mail. For example, charging a fee to receive communications by mail is not a success criterion to getting customers to switch. As a tactic, charging a fee for print documents scored low on the list for all healthcare respondents.
Offering a better patient experience on digital
The number one driver of success for revenue cycle management companies that are meeting their paperless targets is providing a better patient experience, which for the purposes of the research was defined as making it easier to receive, view, pay, and store documents when received digitally.
Providing a better patient experience is critical to motivating paperless adoption, and the way to achieve this, is to approach communications with the patient at the core of all design decisions. Paying attention to what patients want to be included in their healthcare communications is the difference between a complex, unfriendly document and one that meets the patient’s requirements immediately.
The ‘double dipper’ challenge
As the world continues its online transition, healthcare respondents project that ‘print/mail only’ communication will decline and ‘electronic only’ and ‘double dippers’ will take up that volume.
The two-year projections saw print volumes decline from 34% to 26%, while electronic only grew from 35% to 41%. Double dippers also grew slightly from 31% to 33% of total volume.
The issue here, for healthcare providers who want to cut the paper, is that ‘double dippers’ are content to receive both digital and print communications and may see no reason to move to digital-only.
Key barriers to paperless adoption – and how to overcome them
Healthcare providers who are attempting to coax their patients who prefer print and ‘double dippers’ into moving away from paper communications may consider focusing their attention on the following key barriers to achieving paperless adoption targets, as identified by Keypoint Intelligence:
1. Not easy enough for patients to use
If your digital communications, or the portal the patient uses to access them, are not designed with ease of use in mind, it can be intimidating for patients to make the switch. Be sure that your digital communications solution does indeed offer patients clear benefits, like superior accessibility, convenient customer notifications, easier payment options, or even hyper-personalized and interactive experiences like interactive video.
Then don’t be shy about showcasing these benefits to your patients to encourage higher rates of paperless adoption. Your Customer Communication Management (CCM) vendor may well have consultants who can help your marketing team design a paperless adoption campaign that moves the needle on adoption rates for your organization.
2. Compliance concerns
Healthcare organizations maintain the highest levels of compliance control in all facets of their operations. Patient communications, which contain sensitive personal information, must also adhere to the highest levels of compliance.
By working with an industry experienced CCM solution provider, your healthcare organization can be assured its compliance protocols will be supported during the creation and distribution of digital patient communications and can pass on that assurance to patients.
3. Not easy enough for patients to switch
When encouraging patients to shift to digital-only healthcare communications, your organization will want to make the switch as easy as possible. If there is any friction in the sign-up process, patients will quickly lose patience and abandon the task.
Healthcare organizations can overcome this obstacle by selecting a Customer Communications Management solution which makes patient onboarding easy. Then they can support the effort to increase adoption rates with omnichannel marketing campaigns that walk patients through exactly how to move to digital communications.
4. Industry-specific regulatory restrictions
Healthcare organizations are governed by stringent legislation, including HIPAA and the HITECH Act. Customer communications, whether on paper or digital, must comply with these laws. Moreover, as the field of healthcare information technology evolves, it is likely that additional regulatory burdens will be placed on healthcare organizations in relation to patient data and communications.
Healthcare organizations seeking to increase digital communication adoption by patients must first choose a vendor who can accommodate current regulatory imperatives and pivot to accommodate future ones. Then, they must be willing to share appropriate details with patients regarding how their sensitive healthcare information is protected when communicating online. Such an approach builds trust and helps fence-sitters feel comfortable embracing the benefits of paperless healthcare communication.
How Doxim helps healthcare organizations increase their paperless adoption rates
At Doxim, we understand desire in the healthcare sector to go as paperless as possible and can advise on how to overcome the barriers to successful paperless adoption. Our healthcare specialists are experienced in digital adoption processes that simplify the switch and encourage customers to go paperless.
We also know how to design communications so that they meet the patient’s needs immediately, with the most valuable information front and center. Our omnichannel Customer Communications Management platform generates and distributes communications across multiple channels, allowing customers to select their preferred communication channel/s.
In addition, Doxim maintains the strictest compliance levels that meet the requirements of highly regulated industries and are regularly audited.
Lets’ discuss how Doxim can help your healthcare organization overcome the barriers to successful paperless adoption
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.