Patients have multiple options when it comes to healthcare, and the way that they approach providers has changed. In many ways, they are making healthcare decisions much in the same way that they make consumer decisions.
For example, 60% of consumers say that they expect their digital healthcare experience to be similar to that of retail. This requires healthcare providers to modernize their digital experience to enhance patient engagement and experience in order to grow their business and retain patients.
Why Is Patient Engagement Important?
Engaged patients are more involved in their healthcare and play an active role in making decisions about their health. When patients are engaged, they realize better outcomes.
“Patient engagement is the blockbuster drug of the century.” —Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the former head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), engaged patients are more confident and active in self-care. Engagement results in higher levels of patient activation. In other words, they are more likely to follow through on the decisions that they made with their healthcare provider. Why is patient engagement important for healthcare providers? Better results for patients produce greater patient retention. When patients are happy with their provider and the direction of their healthcare, they are more loyal. They place more trust in their provider. When patients are engaged, there are fewer no-shows and more positive referrals.
The Keys to Patient Engagement
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, there are three keys to patient engagement.
Setting clear expectations, having regular meetings, and asking patients for feedback increase patient and provider satisfaction.
Clear and timely communication often involves a two-way dialogue and discussion about healthcare options. It also includes providing digital tools for frictionless interactions, such as online scheduling, patient reminders, and ongoing education.
Rather than just providing diagnoses, patient engagement requires interaction between patient and provider to arrive at joint decisions. There should be readily available information about medical conditions and care plans, especially for patients with chronic conditions.
How Zingit Engages Patients at a Higher Level
Zingit can provide several tools to help keep your patients engaged with your practice and their healthcare. These include two-way conversions with effective, text-based communications that end the frustrating voicemail-tag game. This type of texting enables interaction and dialogue compared to just one-way communication.
If patients engage via webchat, Zingit turns it into a text conversation so you can engage visitors faster. Autoresponders can be set for after hours or when you’re busy, while still offering patients the ability to quickly book or reschedule appointments.
Group texting also enables you to broadcast texts to patient groups. This can save considerable amounts of time for your staff while making it easy to keep patients engaged with relevant information, education, and marketing messages.
Online Scheduling and Appointment Reminders
Approximately 80% of patients say that they prefer health providers who offer online scheduling. More than a third say that the ability to self-schedule appointments is a “major deciding factor” when choosing a provider.
Online scheduling reduces the amount of time that it takes patients and staff to make appointments and increases patient engagement. When you consider that as many as six in ten appointment requests are made after hours, you can see how adding online scheduling can make a significant difference in scheduling and reducing staff time.
You can also reduce no-shows using automated text appointment reminders. With Zingit, you can automate your reminders based on custom timing, and you get real-time conversation capability rather than just “type C to confirm.”
Pre-appointment and Smart Campaigns
ZingIt also enables you to create pre-appointment and smart campaigns. For example, you might want to automate sending welcome messages to new patients with information about your practice and what they can expect. You can also send messages providing ongoing education about their healthcare or specific information needed for their next appointment.
Smart campaigns can automate all sorts of messaging, including birthday messages, patient education, events, product recalls, and informative videos to keep patients engaged with your practice. These campaigns are 100% customizable and can significantly increase patient response.
Smart campaigns can also re-engage former patients for reactivation. Zingit syncs with your practice management software and can automatically scan for inactive patients. This enables you to reconnect with inactive patients to schedule appointments.
Improving Patient Engagement with Zingit
The good news is that nearly 70% of healthcare providers are working to improve patient engagement in their practices.
If you have not yet taken steps to modernize your practice to enhance engagement, it’s time. Zingit can help by providing the digital tools that you need to attract and retain patients and grow your practice.