We do just about everything digitally these days — working, shopping, finding information, staying connected to friends and family. Whatever we need, we turn to our laptops or mobile devices. Digitization has radically reshaped consumer expectations around convenience, ease, and personalization.
And these expectations have now reached the healthcare industry, too.
Driven in part by younger generations that have grown up using technology and amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, today’s patient expects consumer-like experiences when it comes to getting healthcare.
At every stage of the patient experience, they expect convenience and ease. Even more importantly, they expect experiences to be personalized. They expect their healthcare provider to understand their needs and proactively tailor interactions to meet them.
To thrive in the era of consumer-driven healthcare, practices must be able to personalize patient experiences — at every step, and at any scale. This includes in-office visits, digital interactions, and any kind of communication.
Tebra’s platform is designed to meet the consumer-centric needs of the modern healthcare practice, catering to today’s patient. By using a single, integrated platform to manage your entire practice, you can personalize the patient experience to keep people engaged, and keep them coming back.
What is a personalized patient experience?
Put simply, a personalized patient experience is one that meets the individual patient’s wants and needs while making them feel valued. It’s beyond just calling them by their name. At Tebra, we take a broader approach, finding opportunities to personalize the patient experience before, during, and after a visit.
Start by making it easy for both new and returning patients to find your practice and schedule an appointment. This should all be done online — because the majority of people use a search engine like Google to find a provider, and over half of patients prefer to do most things digitally.
3 out of 4 people have searched online to find a healthcare provider
Once patients have scheduled an appointment online, you can start to tailor specific interactions. This includes simple things like letting patients decide whether to receive appointment reminders by email or SMS text. A practice management solution that can automatically personalize these reminders to include their name and other relevant information will help make patients feel valued from the get go.
51% of patients prefer to schedule appointments, fill out forms, ask questions, pay bills, and access medical records digitally
While much of in-office personalization depends on the practitioner and staff doing things like making eye contact, asking engaging questions, and listening actively, technology can also help.
A unified practice management platform makes it easy for front office staff to review upcoming appointments so they can be sure to call patients by their name.
For practitioners, taking personalized electronic health record (EHR) notes will also allow you to familiarize yourself with the patient’s history and any unique needs or challenges they may be facing prior to their appointment.
This information will prepare you so you can provide highly personalized care. It’s also important to be mindful of your body language and take the time to ensure your patients understand and agree with each stage of treatment that you’re providing.
Acquiring a new customer costs 25x more than retaining an existing one
After the visit, you can send personalized reminders for follow-up visits, prescription refills, and bill payment. Giving patients the option to choose their preferred communication method, such as text message, helps to keep them engaged and makes them feel seen. Sending an automated survey requesting feedback is another opportunity to build confidence — just asking shows patients that you value their time and opinions.
Why patient experience matters: succeeding in today’s healthcare environment
While sweeping changes to consumer expectations have rippled out to just about every other vertical, from retail to banking, the healthcare industry as a whole has lagged behind. Many healthcare organizations still rely on disparate systems and outdated processes.
Coupled with ever-changing government regulations and resistance to change, this has left many practices with a somewhat archaic way of doing things in our digital-first world.
Patient experience is 5x more likely to influence loyalty than other marketing strategies
The good news is, independent practices have a real opportunity to transform — and in doing so, to differentiate. Today’s patient not only expects the same ease and convenience that they get when they’re buying clothes, ordering food, or dialing up on-demand entertainment, but they’re also taking more control of their healthcare.
As a result, they expect more from the practices that serve them. They expect easy access to care, clear visibility into their health outcomes, and total transparency around billing and pricing.
36% of patients have left a healthcare provider in the last 2 years
With rising costs and increasing competition — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there are over 1 million professionally active physicians in the U.S. — meeting patient expectations is critical to helping your practice thrive in the modern era. A personalized patient experience helps to build loyalty, turning patients into repeat visitors and ultimately increasing revenue in the long term.
Patients naturally gravitate towards providers and practices that recognize them as individuals. This is true no matter what you specialize in or who comprises your patient base. We all like to feel seen, heard, and valued — especially in a setting as personal as healthcare.
In terms of practice growth, providing a better patient experience also increases the likelihood that they’ll recommend your practice to friends and family, or post positive online reviews — a vital part of your marketing toolbox.
The power of happy patients:
— 74% of patients find online reviews very or extremely important
— 69% won’t consider a provider with an average rating below 4/5 stars
Getting started: Steps you can take to personalize the patient experience
A personalized patient experience starts with a modern approach to practice management. If you’re still relying on manual, paper-based processes and disparate systems for scheduling, EHR, and billing, it’s time for a change.
Remarkable advances in technology have made it possible to transform the business of running an independent practice while also allowing you to meet the needs of today’s patient. Doing things “the way we’ve always done it” will not serve your practice, your staff, or your patients. Look for a unified platform that empowers you to personalize the patient experience at every step of the care journey.
Make it easy to find and choose your practice on Google and other search engines by actively cultivating your online presence. Providing insight into your practice, such as specialties, photos, and practitioner profiles, can help new patients find a personal connection.
66% of patients want to receive appointment reminders via text message
Easy access: Give patients what they want — digital options for appointment scheduling, filling out forms, and paying bills. Text messaging is the preferred communication channel for many people today, so make sure your practice takes advantage of this easy and efficient channel. Plus, you can automate the most common interactions, saving valuable front office time. The right practice management platform will also allow you to personalize patient communications, adding value at every step.
59% would also like text message reminders to book their next appointment
During the visit: Train your staff to leverage technology to make the in-office experience personal for every patient. Review upcoming appointments and greet patients by name. For physicians, taking (and reviewing) personalized notes will help you understand patient needs, ask the right questions, and show that you care. This is critical to patient satisfaction and retention.
Virtual visits: While the massive surge in telehealth appointments that occurred early in the pandemic has since waned, many patients still want the option to connect online for some needs. Maintaining this option may help you reach a new subset of patients. Two-way video apps make virtual visits feel as personal as an in-office visit.
67% of patients say the thing they want most from their healthcare provider is to be a good listener
After the visit: Send automatic, personalized reminders after an appointment to make sure patients adhere to their prescribed treatment and remind them to schedule any needed follow-up visits. Sending reminders for regular screenings or annual appointments will make them more likely to return, as well as more likely to recommend your practice to others.
Billing and payments: Today’s patient doesn’t want a paper bill, and they certainly don’t want to mail in a check. Simplify billing and payments with digital options, including the option to pay online. Make sure your bill is clear, your pricing is transparent, and there’s an easy way to ask for help — all while getting paid faster and easier.
Today’s patient, tomorrow’s practice
The message from today’s patient is clear: they want easy digital experiences that are personalized, convenient, and in line with their daily life. With an all-in-one practice management platform, you can meet these expectations at any scale. Give your patients what they want, show them that you care, and keep them coming back. That’s the power of a purpose-built platform and a modernized approach to consumer-based healthcare.