The terms “patient journey” and “patient engagement” have both become rather popular in the healthcare industry recently. There’s good reason for this. It’s being recognized now that patients, in general, have a standard process that they go through when dealing with the health industry and that their experience throughout that process has an impact on their health and well-being. Particularly, it’s been noted that patients who are more engaged in their journey and their care have better health outcomes than other, less engaged patients. With that in mind, let’s look at the patient journey in a little more detail and five ways to engage your patients over the course of the journey.
What is the patient journey?
The term “patient journey” describes the series of events a patient experiences as they receive care from a given provider or organization. This journey starts when the patient begins to seek care and ends with the payment of the final invoice. All parts of the healthcare system, including anyone who has an impact on the patient, is involved in the patient journey and, as such, has a responsibility to engage with the patient and make the journey a pleasant one.
5 Ways to Engage Patients Throughout the Patient Journey
Engaged patients tend to have a better experience of their patient journey and report being more satisfied with their care. Here are five ways to increase engagement throughout the course of the patient journey.
- Online Scheduling: Convenience is incredibly important to today’s patients. Finding the time to make a phone call and potentially wait on hold simply doesn’t fit into their schedule. By offering online scheduling, you allow patients to easily set up their appointments when they have the time, day or night. For best results, choose a solution that includes prompts to determine the necessary appointment type so that the patient gets exactly what they need, and your schedule stays in order.
- Digital Intake: The more efficient you can make your patients’ experience, the better. Utilizing digital intake reduces the patient’s wait time in-office, while also allowing you to receive more accurate, thorough information. This eases the pressure on patients to remember their entire health history while sitting in a waiting room, holding a clipboard. Not to mention, by choosing a solution that integrates directly with your practice’s EMR, you can save your staff the hassle of manually inputting data or scanning forms into the system. It’s a win/win for everyone involved.
- Telehealth: A strong, established relationship between patient and provider is integral to patient engagement. Convenient care options are essential to creating and maintaining that strong relationship. This is where telehealth comes in. Depending on the solution your practice utilizes, many types of appointments can be performed virtually, increasing convenience for your patients as well as efficiency for providers, while also allowing for better infection control.
- Mobile Payments: The importance of convenience for patient engagement really can’t be understated. The easier you make each step of the process for your patients, the better off you will be. Paying their responsibility is no different. By utilizing mobile payments, you care giving your patients the ability to quickly and easily pay off their outstanding balance, keeping them happy and allowing you to receive your payments more quickly than through other methods.
- Patient Satisfaction Surveys: Other than convenience, one of the most important things patients want from their experience in healthcare is to feel heard. Using patient satisfaction surveys demonstrates that you care about your patients’ opinions and you want to make their experience even better. That kind of investment in improvement is invaluable to patients and a great way to keep them engaged.
Keeping your patients engaged throughout the patient journey is important not just to increase patient retention, but also to improve health outcomes. While it can feel intimidating to prioritize patient engagement when today’s medical practices are already so busy, by implementing strategic technology you can smoothly and efficiently place an emphasis on patient engagement over the course of the journey without adding to the potential for burnout in practice staff.
At Henry Schein SolutionsHub, we understand how important this is, and that’s why we make it our mission to find you the best solutions to meet patient needs seamlessly. From Yosi Health for online scheduling, digital intake, and patient reviews, to medpod for telehealth, and Cue2 for mobile payments, we’ve sought vendors that will support you as you support your patients’ engagement.