How do patients like to communicate with your medical practice? If you’re like most practices, it probably breaks down by age group.
My father prefers to communicate with his providers in person or by telephone. For me, it’s the computer. I would love to jump on the computer and schedule an appointment or review the results of my most recent blood results. (I can’t. My physician’s portal doesn’t offer online scheduling.) My kids, especially, our daughter-in-law, prefer using a Smartphone.
She’s one of those super connected young women who do everything on her iPhone. For her, the idea of calling a pediatrician’s office, rather than tapping on an app to schedule an appointment or check test results is a major inconvenience, yet that’s what she has to do.
Sure, most practices, probably even yours offer online access, but in the ways that are meaningful to patients, it may be so limiting that it’s just a small step above useless.
How do patients WANT TO communicate with your practice? No matter who your practice serves, the population of patients who want to pick up the phone and call is shrinking with each passing day. People, even your older patients are busy and waiting on hold to make an appointment during office hours can be enough of an inconvenience to skip making the appointment altogether. What are you doing to make it easy for the patients who don’t want to interact with your practice by phone?
According to a recent Nielsen Survey, most Americans use digital tools to manage their important activities. The glaring exception among those activities is healthcare. According to the survey, less than 1/3 of patients have access to an online portal, and only 20% receive something as simple as an email reminder of an appointment.
Most of us can spend two minutes online to schedule an appointment to have our car serviced and get a confirmation email and a reminder email the day before our appointment. That’s the kind of communication we’ve come to expect in nearly all areas of life.
Your EMR system was a significant investment, not the kind of technology you want to change without serious consideration, but you don’t have to change everything to improve patient communication. Instead, consider adding a best of breed Patient Portal that works with your existing system to help you meet the needs of your patients across all age groups.
As an example, WESTMED Medical Group recently partnered with Bridge Patient Portal and Medical Web Experts to offer a full-integrated patient portal and branded mobile app. That partnership offers WESTMED patients secure [Read more…]