Digital technology has revolutionized our lives on every level, from the personal to the professional. For patients, it’s also transformed the ways they research, locate, and interact with their healthcare providers. And, more importantly, it’s also changed their expectations.
These days, patients are used to researching topics related to their hearing health online, finding the answers they need, and connecting with potential care providers before they’ve ever picked up a phone. This makes for more seamless patient recruitment, but it also raises the competition between providers since patients can now easily compare every detail of local providers before making a choice.
It’s undeniable that digital technology can improve your practice, from marketing to retention. Is your practice making the most of what the digital realm has to offer? Consider the tips below to see where you can rise above the competition.
Create a Seamless Intake
Instead of having new patients spend 15 minutes filling out paperwork at the start of their appointment, what about making those intake forms available online? Sure, not everyone will want to take advantage of it—but those that do are same ones who would be wondering why it’s not available when they’re filling them out in office. The 21st century is the age of electronic forms, why not join the movement?
An added bonus to this is that because your staff would already have the patient’s information on file, you’d have time to prepare for the appointment in advance—which means the patient can get started quicker. Imagine your new patient checking in at the front desk, and then immediately starting his or her appointment. An efficient first impression can go a long way.
It’s worth noting here that making electronic intake forms downloadable (or emailing them) isn’t the only means of streamlining your practice’s intake process. And since hearing care largely serves a geriatric patient base that isn’t super tech-savvy, you might want an alternative—although it may surprise you to know how many senior citizens are logging on these days (88% according to the Pew Research Center). Setting up a kiosk for both patient intake forms involves an in-office tablet or computer that patients can use to fill their information quickly and seamlessly. Even better would be to have both options available.
Gather Honest Feedback (and use it)
Patient satisfaction surveys can tell you a lot about how you and your staff measure up. But these surveys aren’t just for your benefit. When your practice measures patient happiness and success, patient experience becomes a priority. And that leads to happier, healthier patients.
While you could provide patients with in-office surveys that include satisfaction questions, doing so may skew their responses. Alternatively, emailing surveys affords patients a degree anonymity, which often yields more honest responses. Additionally, this method of survey distribution allows the patient to complete the questionnaire on his or her own time instead of rushing through it before heading back to the office, school, or home.
Use a Patient Portal
HIPAA has given patients the right to obtain copies their own medical records, and many savvy, health-focused patient consumers will do just that. But there’s a better way to provide patients with sensitive medical documentation than simply handing over hard copies: the patient document portal. With online document portals, patients can easily receive documents from their provider and safely store them on their computers. How’s that for convenience?
We all live busy lives, so it’s easy to understand why automatic appointment reminders work so well. Setting up automatic appointment tracking is typically standard for any patient management software, but it can also be done within a standard email account. Automated phone, text, and email appointment reminders provide a convenient way to keep patients on track for their upcoming visits, and they’re far more effective than handwritten reminder cards.
A patient’s experience doesn’t stop when he or she leaves your care. And if it does, then you’re missing out on a serious opportunity to increase engagement and win patient loyalty. Whether you use a patient engagement platform, release a monthly newsletter to a patient email list, or encourage your patients to follow your clinic on social media, staying in touch with patients after discharge not only keeps you informed on their continued progress, but also reminds the patient to come back to you should he or she ever require additional services.
The digital realm offers unending possibilities for your practice from start to finish. You can reach more people with your message through online marketing, and you can retain each new patient you acquire with automated follow-up communications. Even small things, like a yearly birthday card, can quickly and easily be accomplished—without the tedium of stamps and envelopes. It’s hard to deny the improvements that digital technology has put at our fingertips.
But let’s be honest, you already know this! You’ve been at the forefront of one of biggest successes of digital technology: digital hearing aids. Your practice is using cutting-edge technology to improve patients lives every day. So the question is, are you improving the health of your practice with all that digital technology has to offer, too?
If you’re ready to take your marketing, patient satisfaction, and retention to the next level, consider reaching out to us to learn more about our professional services. We combine our 20+ years in the hearing industry with a robust team of digital, SEO experts to offer our clients impressive and efficient results. Contact us today to get more new patients online.