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.
The Power of Quick Response Times in Patient Engagement
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.
Alternatives to Phone and Email for Quicker Patient Engagement Technology
1: SMS Messaging
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.
2: Two-Way Texting
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.
3: Digital Intake and Virtual Waiting Rooms
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.
4: Automated Surveying
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.
5: Patient Referral Software
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.
Balancing Technology and the Human Touch in Patient Engagement
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.
Get Better Patient Engagement Tools for Your Organization
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.