Though in the past, healthcare consumers routinely ranked the patient-provider relationship as their top healthcare priority, convenience seems to have surpassed it in recent years.

A survey found that more than half of patients selected convenience and access to care as the most important factor in their decision-making with doctor-nurse conduct, brand reputation, and quality of care finishing a distant third, fourth, and fifth.

While younger generations might lean toward convenience, older generations of patients, especially those with chronic care conditions that require routine management, might give relationships the nod. The latter may have managed their care for several years or more with a particular healthcare provider that engendered a level trust and loyalty that’s hard to beat.

But when forced to pick one over the other, which will most patients pick? Perhaps Tony Stark said it best in the 2008 film “Ironman,” in the line, “I say, is it too much to ask for both?”

Suffice it to say the two values are not mutually exclusive. A patient can still have all the convenience of a modern, well-connected appointment experience and also have a strong and lasting relationship with their doctor. Hospitals and health systems that offer both will not only deliver a great value to patients, they’ll also be more likely to be able to retain and attract patients than their competitors.

But what’s the common denominator between the two characteristics? How can providers bridge the gap? The answer of course is more effective communication. From a patient engagement standpoint, a text-first approach can easily and conveniently help connect providers with patients across a more refined and dynamic appointment workflow. On the patient-provider relationship side of the coin, making improvement to bedside manner and personal engagement can go a long way in helping patients develop stronger ties with their providers.

Patients today want the ease, speed, and convenience of being able to interact with providers at their own convenience. Texting gives them that ability. At the same time, patients highly value a physician or caregiver that listens well, is aware of and empathetic to their concerns, and who they feel is truly striving to give them the best care possible.

Providers who leverage modern communication tools like texting and a digital patient engagement platform while seeking to improve personal relationships with patients in the exam room can offer patients the best of both worlds. Better yet, they’ll save patients from ever having to make the difficult choice between convenience and patient-provider relationships.

For more information about how a text-first approach to a more modern and dynamic appointment workflow can help you connect better with patients digitally and in the exam room, check out the guide, “The Perfect Appointment Workflow: A Guide to Improving Patient Outcomes and Increasing Revenue.”