Patient needs in modern healthcare are shifting—the needs are greater and ease is expected at every turn. The pandemic has furthered this shift by pushing consumers and patients toward convenience in everything from a personalized experience, self-serve opportunities, and reduced friction at every touchpoint.  

How can healthcare providers and practices keep up? In an industry that demands thoroughness and quality, finding ways to add convenience without sacrificing care can be difficult. But according to Craig Daly (Vice President of Healthcare Solutions at Podium) and Craig Kartchner, (Associate Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth), it’s not only possible, there are clear next steps.

Join Craig Daly and Craig Kartchner in this webinar, as they discuss technology shifts in healthcare, barriers to transformation, and the important task of increasing convenience for patients.

Read on to learn the five takeaways from their discussion:


1. Discovery

The discovery phase of the patient journey—how the patient finds you initially—is critical to the rest of the patient experience. A growing number of patients are taking to Google to find their healthcare providers by searching “urgent care near me.” And with this process, if you’re not part of the top three to five searches, you miss out on 75% of the clicks. To stay relevant you must focus on search engine optimization and making it as easy as possible to find you, contact you, and schedule with you.

In this world of growing convenience, you need to meet the patient where they want to meet you—online and in Google search results. Capitalizing on the massive resource of Google will boost your potential discoverability, and at the same time, your patients’ convenience. 


2. Scheduling

In one example of a large health system, they found that 60% of their new appointments came directly from Google, bypassing the website altogether. Patients don’t want to be required to navigate your website or download another app; they even want to book appointments online quickly. And they will choose another provider if they can do it faster and easier.

The relationship between physician and patient is changing dramatically, with patients viewing physicians more transactionally and valuing convenience in the experience more and more. And patients are more willing to switch healthcare providers. In fact, over half of millennials and Gen Xers said that they would switch providers if they could book appointments online. The doctor/patient relationship is still important, but convenience in other things, such as the scheduling process, is becoming increasingly critical to patient growth and retention. 


3. Patient Care

It’s obvious that patient care is a crucial part of the process which typically labels this phase as not a direct issue in the patient journey. But what emerges at this touchpoint is that the actual visit with the physician and patient has become such a small fraction of the time the patient spends in the entire process. If the journey as a whole can go as smoothly as the patient/provider visit, the overall experience feels much more convenient for the patient.

COVID-19 has impacted this phase with new options for delivering care. Patients can call or video call in to their physician when possible and convenient. And as we look toward the future, we expect these options to continue. Convenience is now part of the discussion around delivering the right quality of care to every patient. 


4. Billing and Financial

While the billing phase of the patient’s journey can be unpleasant, we know it can be improved with added convenience. 91% of consumers were surprised by a medical bill in 2019 alerting us to the fact that transparency isn’t clear in paper-mailed invoices. Upfront estimates, a thorough explanation of patient costs, and managed expectations around due dates can all add to a more seamless patient experience—and delivery of this information digitally puts it in the pockets and palms of patients faster.

Improving the payment process itself is another key step in transforming the billing and financial phase of the patient journey. By centralizing it all in one place, and/or offering a simpler process to pay, you’ll get paid faster, reduce patient billing surprises, and add more convenience and speed to the patient experience.


5. Follow-up

Once the patient leaves their appointment, there is still more that can be done to add convenience. 75% of patients expect some follow up message from their provider within 48 hours. Consider follow up with appointment details, reminders, and check-ins to meet the needs of today’s patient. 

Delivering these messages via text can personalize the experience and quickly put critical information in the hands of your patient. 

To watch the full discussion and hear the full Q&A, watch the full webinar here.

Bryan Oram
Bryan Oram AVP of Healthcare Enterprise Sales

Bryan Oram is a Healthcare professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects healthcare businesses with their patients.

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