Personalizing the Patient Experience: Small Changes, Big Impact

Posted on Feb 13, 2018 by Laurie Morgan

The following is a guest post by Laurie Morgan, consultant and partner, Capko & Morgan

Create a personalized patient experienceDoes the phrase “It’s time to offer patients more a personalized approach” make you shudder with fear? Do you wonder how more customization could even be possible, when it seems like there’s too much to do already?

When we talk with our practice administrator and physician clients, the idea of more personalization often sounds more daunting than it needs to. Physicians already customize their treatment plans for every one of their patients, after all. Shouldn’t the administrative side of the practice keep pace?

More important, there are small things most practices can do right away to give patients more choice – and they don’t have to cost a lot or create big disruptions to flow.

The biggest enabler of a more personalized patient experience is technology. Practice management systems have come a long way in recent years. Many of them have excellent features that make more options available to patients – with nothing new to buy, nothing new to deploy. For example, many systems allow practices to automate appointment reminders via email or text. Add-on solutions offer even more practices the ability to customize reminders. Today’s third-party solutions can be deployed quickly and work with a wide array of practice management systems and EHRs. And they often are combined with other valuable services, such as online reputation management tools.

If you haven’t automated them already, appointment reminders are a fantastic starting point for greater personalization, because they give patients what they want while solving a costly problem for you.

 Voicemail reminders are increasingly ineffective. With caller ID and text available, more of us are ignoring voicemail and simply relying on caller ID to respond when people try to reach us. But if the caller’s number is unfamiliar, it’s likely to be ignored – along with any voicemail that the caller left behind.

Technology can improve patient connectionIf your reminder call doesn’t reach your patient ‘live,’ odds are good that the patient wasn’t actually reminded. A text reminder, on the other hand, is almost certain to be read. And if you enable the patient to reply to confirm or cancel, it will only take a moment – meaning they’re much more likely to respond in the moment. That means you’ll get word of a cancellation in time to rebook – and you’ll avoid a no-show.

Once you start offering a choice of reminder options, patients will embrace the convenient electronic notifications they already rely on for other services. And as they do, your practice can dedicate less staff time to tedious, costly reminder calls. Plus, as you add text and email contact information to your patient records, you’ll have the option to use it for other types of personalization. For example, you’ll have more ways to nudge patients when they’re overdue for a visit. And you can give patients the option to communicate via text or email for certain types of questions.

Start using technology to give patients more convenience and choice, and you’ll soon find many other ways to personalize the patient experience – while also making your practice more efficient. I’ll be discussing several of them in the upcoming free webinar, “Five Ways to Personalize the Patient Experience – Without Adding Work,” on February 22. I hope you can join us!

Join Solutionreach and Laurie Morgan on February 22 at 10 am PT/1 pm ET for more tips and tricks to personalizing the patient experience. If you aren't available on the 22nd, feel free to still sign up. We will send you the recording for you to watch at your convenience.

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