First impressions are everything. Now that healthcare is becoming more consumer-focused, it’s vital to consider the ease of the patient journey. As millennials begin to surpass baby boomers in numbers, it’s even more important to analyze their expectations for patient care.
You might be familiar with the buzzword “digital front door,” but what does that phrase really mean? It’s your strategy for engaging each touchpoint of your patients’ online user experience with the technology they already use. Instead of relying on one vehicle for communication, a strong digital front door strategy capitalizes on a variety of technology points to drive patient satisfaction and increase revenue.
Like anything, it’s all about access and ease of use. Although the digital front door encompasses patient portals, it focuses on the technology that your patients already use. Much like your facility’s patient flow, which we addressed in a different blog, your digital front door strategy is worth analyzing and perfecting.
Unfortunately, you’re not just competing with other hospitals. Instead, you’re competing with huge, service-related companies, like Amazon, which capitalize on convenience. Your patients seek the same intuitive online experience in healthcare. And they’re probably not getting it.
Patients don’t understand why it’s so difficult to make an appointment, pay their bills, or access their medical records. They can perform similar tasks quite simply on a variety of other platforms. More than likely, a Google search and a click on your website are the first two windows your potential patient has to your health system or facility. So, how do you make the experience worth opening the door?
Easy site navigation
Patients could be headed to your site for a few different reasons. They may want to call your facility, make an appointment, or pay a bill.
Much like the patient flow at your facility, make sure these common steps are visible and easily accessible on the front page of your website. Don’t make your users fight to access care. Easy updates, like linking your telephone number to a button allows your patient to tap once and speak with someone instead of trying to find a pen and paper, write the number down, and then punch it into their phone. This simple fix eliminates the number of steps they must take, especially if they’re trying to make a call on the go.
Provider and pricing transparency
Patients are seeking content they can trust. By publishing patient testimonials, facility awards, and provider profiles, your facility can garner trust and build relationships with your patient populations.
Since price transparency is becoming a hot button topic, hospitals and health systems are building their pages to enable users to price compare, much like other consumer transactions. AtriumHealth, for example, creates a clear landing page with minimal clicks, allowing patients to select the best care option. This is the user experience your patients are craving.
Do it yourself scheduling, registration, and payments
People don’t want to use their lunchbreak to wrestle with their phone, be placed on hold, and try to coordinate an appointment. If patients manage to find a few minutes for a phone call, they might not have their calendar right in front of them. Once they take time off for an appointment, it’s frustrating to spend precious time filling out paperwork instead of being seen. Then, after the experience is over, they want to pay for their medical care quickly and conveniently, like any other bill.
So, how can these frustrations be fixed? Develop online self-scheduling, mobile pre-registration/check-in, and easy online bill pay. Think minimal clicks. Remember, your digital front door strategy does not rely on a patient portal. In fact, portal adoption remains an issue for its inherent inconvenience. Patients are unlikely to download another clunky application; they want their services well designed, easily accessible, and a place to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.
When you see new patients, inquire about their communication preferences. As you begin to tweak your digital front door strategy, you can include this question in the initial registration. Then, whether a patient prefers texts, emails, or phone calls, be sure to set up automated reminders that honor these preferences.
Opening the door
It’s important to keep up with the everchanging healthcare landscape. As you drive a successful digital front door strategy, you begin to build a strong foundation that can positively impact your patient volume, market share, and bottom line.
Although it’s a complex journey, these few steps help you assess your strategy. As you continue to reshape your digital front door, consider checking in with your patients to see how you’re doing—that gesture will go a long way and provide even more feedback to help shape your plan.
Discover how Optimum Permanent Placement Services can assist your staffing needs by calling 603.288.1332 to speak with an experienced business development executive today.