If new health technology isn’t a focus at your practice, it’s time to readjust your priorities. Patient expectations have evolved, thanks in part to companies like Amazon that constantly debut new products and services to make their lives easier.
Not surprisingly, 59 percent of U.S. consumers want a digital healthcare experience similar to retail, according to research conducted by global technology company NTT DATA Services. Here’s a look at a few innovative features on your patients’ wish list.
Patient experience technologies you need to have
1. Online patient scheduling
Making a doctor’s appointment shouldn’t be a hassle. Many people don’t have time to pick up the phone during business hours, and others simply prefer the convenience of online patient scheduling.
In fact, 81 percent of patients would rather schedule a healthcare appointment online, if they had the option, according to Intuit Health. Nearly half (40 percent) want this feature so badly, they would consider changing providers for it.
2. Automated appointment confirmations and reminders
Your patients have busy lives. Even the most organized people can benefit from appointment reminders, because it can be hard to keep track of every commitment on their calendar.
A 2017 Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) survey of patients who missed at least one medical appointment in the past 12 months revealed a common reason for their absence. Most (52.4 percent) simply forgot to attend or cancel the appointment, highlighting the mutually beneficial need to send automated appointment reminders.
3. Patient satisfaction surveys
When choosing a healthcare provider, people have plenty of options. Consequently, they respect doctors who send post-visit patient satisfaction surveys, because it gives them a voice.
Do note, all patient assessments are not created equal, so take the time to do it right. You probably won’t get much response by manually sending lengthy surveys, so don’t waste your staff’s time.
Instead, maximize responses by investing in software that automatically sends strategically-timed, HIPAA-compliant surveys. This will help you address issues in a timely manner and encourage patients to share positive reviews of your practice.
One-third of practices fail at feedback: A patient review report
4. Access to an online patient portal
If your practice doesn’t offer a patient portal, you’re behind the curve. A 2018 MGMA survey revealed that 90 percent of healthcare practices provide this feature. The remaining 10 percent shared plans to implement one in the near future or already have the software as part of their EHR, but haven’t yet put it into effect.
Patient portals are valued because they provide unlimited access to personal health information. You decide what features to offer, but a few popular options include lab results, immunization records, and the ability to request prescription refills.
5. Online bill pay
Most industries allow customers to pay for just about anything online, but healthcare is the exception to the norm. Consequently, it’s no surprise that 65 percent of consumers would consider switching providers for a better payments experience, according to the Eighth Annual Trends in Healthcare Payments Report, published by healthcare payments platform InstaMed.
The report revealed that 79 percent of consumers are still receiving paper medical bills, but only 21 percent actually want to pay their bills by check. Retain your patients by offering online bill pay, so they can quickly, easily, and securely pay for your services.
6. Virtual care
If you’re a traditionalist, it might be hard to jump on the telehealth bandwagon, but it’s the way of the future. A 2018 Deloitte survey revealed only 23 percent of consumers have participated in a video visit with their doctor, but 57 percent of those who hadn’t used this feature yet were willing to give it a try.
There’s many different ways to deliver virtual care — i.e., monitoring patients with wearable devices, email consultations, and virtual visits — so start small by offering one or two features. Expand your suite of virtual services as you become more comfortable with this innovative health technology.