Communication is important in any industry, but effective communication in a healthcare organization is a necessity. From clear instructions for visits to educating patients about their conditions, providers need a good game plan for communicating with patients before, during, and after an appointment each and every time. Now that the digital age has introduced a multitude of ways to communicate with each other, it’s also necessary to consider how to best leverage these technologies to help achieve your communication goals. Here’s how to improve communication in healthcare practices with technology!
Use Text Messaging for Appointments
In recent years, text messaging has emerged as a vital way to communicate with patients. According to a 2023 patient survey conducted by Bandwidth, text messaging was the preferred channel for appointment notifications and reminders. In fact, over 41% of them said they would switch healthcare providers if this option wasn’t offered! If providers want to keep patients happy, they should have the ability to send appointment-related communications via text. This option benefits practices as well: text messages have a 98% open rate, ensuring that patients will receive the notifications you want to send them. To further optimize texting capabilities at your office, offer controlled two-way texting for patients to notify their arrival at a practice, preventing crowded waiting rooms.
Make Patient Feedback a Priority
One of the best ways to learn how to improve communication at your facility is to regularly ask patients how your practice is doing. Having staff that is empathetic to a patient’s needs and situation is crucial for good communication with them. It’s also important to learn administrative-related shortcomings from their perspective — for instance, if they had any trouble scheduling their appointment or completing their pre-visit registration forms. Instead of verbally asking patients these questions, one of the most surefire ways to obtain more feedback is reputation management software. This software automatically asks patients for reviews after their appointments, giving insights about any room for improvement a practice might have, communication-related or otherwise. It also increases the number of positive online reviews for your practice, which will potentially increase patient volume.
Maximize Your EHR’s Capabilities
Sometimes the key to better communication in a practice isn’t always between the patient and provider; it’s more about laying out the groundwork for different physicians to better communicate with each other. Having staff well-trained on all the technologies available to them is a great place to start. This means ensuring that everyone knows how to use their electronic health records (EHRs) effectively to provide clear, thorough, consistent notes and data. They should also know how to fully maximize any software associated with their EHRs at the practice – digital screeners, for example. When employees know how to best use their digital tools, they will ensure that patient data is accurate and easily accessible to any physician who needs it, regardless of whether they’re at your own clinic or another. This will in turn improve quality of care and patient outcomes.
Employ a Multi-Channel Strategy
Healthcare is never a “one size fits all” and neither should the communication methods a practice uses! Certain channels work better for different types of communication than others. For example, Bandwidth learned from their patient survey that while patients wanted appointment reminders via text, they preferred receiving patient intake forms via email instead. Moreover, according to a recent report, 60% of patients stated that they expect their digital experience at a practice to mimic that of a retail company. This factor is a good indicator of how people perceive their relationship with a provider and what they prioritize in terms of communication with them. Different demographics also play a role in what type of multi-channel strategy to employ depending on the practice: for lower income patients ($75K and under), traditional phone calls and texts were reported as the preferred form of communication, while higher-income patients were more open to learning new technologies like apps for their healthcare experience.
How to Improve Communication in Healthcare with DocResponse
Much like how healthcare organizations and technologies are ever-evolving, so are patient populations and preferences. As such, practices need to “future-proof” their communications and offer optionality. DocResponse offers a multi-channel patient engagement strategy with their software that makes it easy to communicate with any demographic. Here are a few of the ways they accomplish this:
- Their all-in-one solution gives both patients and providers flexibility for actions like digital form completion and appointment scheduling
- The software is highly customizable, so practices are able to adapt to their ever-changing communication needs
- Notes are pushed in real-time into the EHR, ensuring that the information in the patient’s chart is always as current as possible
- Automatic reminders are sent before appointments, alleviating front desk staff of having to make phone calls
Interested in taking your communication strategy to the next level? Schedule a demo with DocResponse today!