Engaging patients effectively has long been a cornerstone of quality healthcare, with phone calls and emails acting as the primary communication tools for years. While these methods have served their purpose, they come with inherent limitations.
Time-consuming phone calls, delayed email responses, wait times, and the requirement of continuous human intervention often lead to inefficiencies. A faster, more efficient approach to patient engagement is necessary to overcome these challenges.
With a post-pandemic medical world increasingly relying on digital means to automate much of the patient intake and engagement process, it can feel like efforts to accommodate more patients are coming at the cost of the human interaction that contributes to an excellent patient experience. However, that does not have to be the case.
Instead of viewing patient engagement tools as ways to automate much of the process, think of the end benefit: more time to engage with and better serve patients without having to complete many tedious administrative tasks manually.
Today, we’ll cover 5 faster alternatives to phone calls and email that you can use to engage with your own patients at your facility. First, let’s talk about the key component at the center of it all: timeliness.
At the heart of superior patient engagement lies the concept of response time. The quicker a patient’s query or concern is addressed, the better the patient’s experience. Rapid communication not only reduces patient anxiety but also creates an environment of trust and reliability.
Quicker communication methods also enable healthcare providers and staff to manage their time efficiently, allowing them to concentrate on critical tasks without compromising on patient engagement. This balance creates a symbiotic relationship where both patients and healthcare providers benefit from the speed of communication.
SMS messaging, known for its instantaneous nature, is a compelling tool in the arsenal of patient engagement strategies. The speed and accessibility of SMS allow healthcare providers to share updates, reminders, or important information almost instantly.
Furthermore, SMS messaging enhances patient engagement by providing real-time communication that is both fast and convenient. Whether it’s a reminder about an upcoming appointment or a follow-up on a recent visit, SMS keeps the patient connected and engaged with their healthcare provider.
Notably, SMS messaging has the added advantage of reaching patients irrespective of location, enhancing in-person and remote interaction. This instant mode of communication enables healthcare staff to manage patient interactions more effectively, reinforcing the human touch.
Two-way texting is an evolution of SMS messaging, taking patient engagement to a whole new level. It is a conversation in real-time, allowing for a back-and-forth exchange of information and queries.
The expeditious nature of two-way texting allows for swift resolution of patient concerns and questions, ultimately leading to a more satisfactory patient experience. It further enhances patient engagement by making patients feel heard and valued, without the delay of traditional communication methods.
Two-way texting has a crucial role in augmenting the ability of staff to engage both in-person and remotely. The immediacy of responses save time and energy and allow staff to more quickly respond from a device of their choosing rather than needing to manually sift through emails or juggle multiple incoming calls.
The rise of digitalization has brought about transformative tools such as digital intake and virtual waiting rooms. These innovations streamline the administrative process, saving patients from unnecessary waiting times, physical paperwork, and time spent in an in-person waiting room.
The speed and convenience offered by these digital tools not only improve the efficiency of the healthcare delivery process but also enhance patient engagement. Patients can provide their medical history, update personal information, or check in for appointments at their convenience.
Moreover, by automating these time-consuming tasks, healthcare staff can focus on improving the quality of in-person and remote patient interactions. They have more time to spend serving those who are visiting your facility, virtually or physically, enabling more human interaction once the administrative priorities are swiftly completed.
Automated surveying is another tool that promises fast and reliable patient feedback. Surveys sent post-consultation or procedure allow healthcare providers to gauge levels of patient satisfaction and determine areas for improvement.
Quickly obtaining this valuable feedback enhances patient engagement by making patients feel valued and listened to. It provides healthcare providers with actionable insights that can be used to elevate the level of care provided.
By automating the survey process, healthcare staff are freed up from this administrative task. They can devote their time to more meaningful interactions with patients, enriching the overall experience.
Patient referral software is a sophisticated tool that simplifies and speeds up the referral process. By automating referral management, it ensures that referrals don’t fall through the cracks and patients receive timely care.
From an engagement standpoint, a reliable referral management system allows you to receive information about an incoming patient from another provider before they arrive. You can begin providing care and treatment with more information about the patient’s background history, current conditions, symptoms, and other insights that can help you best serve them.
While the importance of speed and efficiency in patient engagement is unquestionable, it’s essential to remember that these technological tools are meant to complement, not replace, human interaction. Healthcare, after all, is inherently about human care and connection.
Even as we embrace these faster tools, the focus must remain on the quality of interactions between patients and healthcare staff. While patients may not remember every intake form they sign, they will indeed remember how they were treated by the staff at your facility.
At ER Express, we provide animal health facilities, emergency departments, and urgent cares with the most advanced suite of digital patient engagement tools available. Using our platform enables you to spend more time providing a greater human experience for patients, supported by a reliable virtual infrastructure that removes tedious tasks from your staff’s to-do list and streamlines your operations. To learn more, request a demo with us today.
The Covid pandemic spurred the rapid adoption of digital client engagement solutions throughout the veterinary industry. Digitization helps veterinarians to automate tasks and improve productivity.
Unfortunately, for many vets, embracing new technologies seems like a “something gained, something lost” scenario. Are digital practice management solutions at odds with the sense of personal connection that means so much in veterinary care?
At ER Express, we believe that well-managed digital tools can actually enhance the personal touch, rather than detract from it.
Veterinary practice management software (VPMS) is used to improve efficiency and record-keeping for tasks like scheduling appointments and managing patient records. VPMS can even be used for back-office work like bookkeeping and accounting.
VPMS also provides platforms that automate certain communications with patients. These highly-customizable tools lead to more reliable and efficient appointment procedures but don’t replace any of the valuable face-to-face time that clients value.
In the sections below, we’ll discuss five benefits of using VPMS, highlighting advantages that reduce a vet staff’s workload while providing clients with a more pleasant appointment process.
Veterinary practice management software may include appointment automation features such as:
These tools simplify and automate tasks for your staff, reducing the time spent fielding phone calls, managing schedules and queues, and manually collecting billing and insurance info for each visit.
Improved efficiency on admin tasks is also a time saver for your clients, providing greater control over the time spent on scheduling, checking in for, and waiting for appointments.
Automation reduces the need for certain person-to-person interactions. For some pet owners, too much automation can result in an appointment process that may feel impersonal, unenjoyable, or confusing.
However, practice management software doesn’t have to take away from your practice’s personal touch. In fact, you can use digital communication tools to engage with patients in a manner that’s both practical and meaningful.
Engagement features like digital intake forms, two-way texting, and automated appointment time updates help clients feel informed and in control. Furthermore, these tools don’t necessarily replace any person-to-person communication. Rather, they create helpful communication platforms that equip clients and veterinary staff with more efficient options for sharing information.
Veterinarians use digital communication features to exchange messages with pet owners before and after their visits. A client can share and receive helpful info about their pet’s condition and treatment needs, leading to more productive visits and better health outcomes for pets. These tools can be customized to provide an appropriate degree of automation without compromising the personal touch.
No matter how welcoming and accommodating your reception staff is, the veterinary waiting room is a stressful place for many pets and their owners.
You can improve the waiting room experience with comfy seating and free treats, but the most meaningful improvement you can make is to reduce the amount of time clients spend stuck in the waiting room.
Digital intake, digital queuing, and virtual waiting rooms reduce waiting room time and help patients feel more in control of their appointments. They can quickly check in from their phones and pass their wait time in a location where they feel more comfortable, such as in their car or outside the facility. These tools empower clients, streamline your office’s workflow, and create a more peaceful waiting room.
Veterinary practice management software systems include features for creating and organizing documents. These tools allow for a more personalized and helpful continuum of care.
Using customizable paperwork features, you can work from templates to tailor forms and info sheets to meet the needs of individual animals and their owners.
Veterinary practice management software can produce reports and analytics on demand, providing an objective evaluation of key performance metrics. You can review historic trends and anticipate upcoming changes related to productivity, scheduling, and any other aspect of your practice that produces trackable data.
At ER Express, we develop innovative digital engagement tools for medical practices. We equip veterinarians with the latest client engagement software that improves service to pets and pet owners without compromising the level of personalization offered in a fully in-office experience.
To learn more, contact our sales team or schedule a product demonstration today.