You’re probably already familiar with practice management software, but what about patient engagement software? If you’re here, you’ve likely come to the (correct) conclusion that the right patient engagement solution can boost your healthcare practice and result in happier patients with better health outcomes.
Now the question is how do you choose the best patient engagement platform for your healthcare organization? Keep reading, and we’ll reveal how patient engagement solutions help your business and what features you should be looking for.
How Patient Engagement Software Helps Your Practice
In a nutshell, patient engagement software allows patients to take a more active role in their health care while having more frequent and meaningful interactions with your office without having to add to your care provider staff. This is accomplished through the use of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Patient engagement solutions work by automating many of the communication touchpoints in a care provider setting, such as appointment reminders, billing notifications, and other types of follow-up. Not only is this helpful for healthcare organizations, but it ensures that your patients receive reliable and consistent communication. Patient engagement technology helps prevent vital correspondence from falling through the cracks. As a result, your staff saves time, and your patients get better service.
Though automation is helpful for achieving a boost in efficiency (and a healthcare practice’s bottom line), these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. As people continue to bear more of the financial burden of their health care, they’re taking more notice of the quality of not just their healthcare providers but also the level of service they receive.
Therefore, practices that adopt patient engagement solutions can dramatically improve patient satisfaction by improving communication with patients, providing them with educational resources, and better managing the patient-provider relationship.
How to Choose the Best Patient Engagement Software
As you evaluate the best patient engagement software for your medical practice, we recommend having a clear vision of your goals. For example, many healthcare providers are looking to improve a combination of the following:
- Enhance overall patient experience
- Improve patient outcomes
- Streamline care coordination
- Personalize patient interaction
- Provide more touchpoints along the patient journey
- Solicit patient feedback
- Boost patient retention aftercare
- Engage in patient outreach
Overall, no matter what your specific goals are, your patients will benefit by being more informed about their recommended treatments and care plans while simultaneously feeling heard by doctors and staff and empowered to achieve optimal health outcomes.
Features Your Patient Engagement Software Needs to Have
Not all patient engagement software is created equal, and not every digital patient engagement platform will have the features you need. However, you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles, either. The list below contains the top features you should be looking for.
Communicating with Patients
People have different preferred communication methods, and a quality patient engagement platform supports phones, texting, and email. When you’re evaluating various providers, be sure to confirm that all three modalities are available and inquire whether you’ll be charged extra for having access to them.
In addition to being able to communicate with your patients across their preferred channels, having a patient engagement system that allows variable contact methodologies makes your staff more efficient, and they’ll be freed up for other high-priority tasks.
Varied communication tools (like texting and automated follow-ups) also prevent annoying games of phone tag that suck productivity from your practice and frustrate your patients. Now, instead of waiting for a patient to answer the phone or visit your office, you can communicate with them in real-time in a way that is minimally disruptive.
Look for a solution provider that offers both mass and personalized messaging as well as the ability to automate these tasks. For example, you can implement automated outreach for patients who have lapsed care or are behind on payments. Or, reach out to a select group of patients to fill last-minute cancellations.
Mass or broadcast messages are also an invaluable timesaver because they allow you to make an announcement to all of your patients at once instead of having to call or message everyone individually. For example, if your office experiences an unexpected closure or there’s an important announcement to distribute, you can alert all of your patients at once via text or email.
Digital Forms and Intake
One of the most useful features of a patient engagement system is a patient portal that allows patients to log in and fill out intake forms, submit other digital forms, and download resources. Healthcare practices without patient engagement software often rely on their website to control patient access to these forms, which can present risks and be inconvenient for patients to access.
An accessible patient portal can also be a valuable resource library with health checklists, educational videos, and other resources for patients to access and learn from.
Let’s not forget one of the biggest benefits of digital forms on patient portals: saving time and money. Instead of waiting for a patient to arrive at your office and fill out forms manually, patients can complete a form online before their appointment. Medical practices also save significantly on the cost of paper, ink, printers, and file storage, which can account for up to 3% of a practice’s annual revenue.
Further, this feature is exactly what your patients want! According to internal studies, 80% of patients prefer to go paperless. Weave’s practice engagement software allows practices to create and customize branded forms that can be sent via text and email. It’s estimated that digital forms can save a healthcare provider approximately 3 hours per week.
Appointment Scheduling, Management, and Appointment Reminders
What if you could schedule appointments and fill your calendar even when your office is closed? Both practice management and practice engagement platforms can make this dream a reality for healthcare providers with text-based and online scheduling services. Even more compelling is that 70% of customers prefer to book online, so you can stand out from other practices in the area by offering this feature.
Some patient engagement platforms (including Weave) allow your patient care team to respond with different responses, including replying, confirming, or suggesting alternative times on your calendar.
In addition to scheduling appointments, you should be able to complete the following tasks:
- Send appointment reminders and confirmations
- Schedule and reschedule appointments
- Allow virtual check-ins
- Send personalized appointment updates to patients
This feature works to fill your appointment calendar with minimal effort while reducing patient no-shows. It can be especially helpful when patient engagement software includes pre-built templates for patient outreach and response, too.
It goes without saying that patients who don’t follow through with care are at a greater risk of not achieving the desired health outcome, and by having a tool that allows you to more efficiently manage appointments, you can increase the chances of patients showing up while reducing cancellations and no-shows.
Collecting and Managing Patient Feedback
You can bet that your patients have an opinion about your office, and the right patient engagement software can elicit positive feedback to boost your reputation while leveraging less enthusiastic input as a way to improve your practice overall.
One of the best ways to collect feedback is through automated surveys and invitations to leave reviews about their patient experience. However, without moderation and a strategy, things can quickly spiral out of control. Modern patient engagement technology includes a feature called reputation management, which includes collecting more positive reviews to grow your online presence.
The power of reviews is palpable, and getting an influx of positive reviews can help with all aspects of your marketing and practice growth.
At a minimum, positive reviews result in:
- More new patient referrals
- Better search engine rankings
- Content for email campaigns, advertising, and mailers
- Having social proof on your website
Word of mouth has always been integral to business growth, and today’s online platforms have increased this effect. Specifically, 92% of customers read online reviews before contacting a business. As you can imagine, maximizing the number of positive reviews you have across platforms like Google, Yelp, and social media can have a massively favorable effect on your bottom line.
9 out of 10 people check online reviews before choosing a business
Weave helps you easily collect and monitor reviews on Google and Facebook. These reviews can be some of the best marketing for your business.Schedule Demo
Personalizing Each Patient’s Experience
Ideally, a patient engagement solution should integrate with your healthcare practice management software to facilitate personalized patient communication.
For example, when all of your customer interactions are contained in one place, all of your patient data is at your fingertips. With this functionality, you can reach out to patients about an upcoming appointment, remind them about payments and appointments, and even wish them a happy birthday!
Whether you run a dental practice or a veterinary office, your patients want to feel valued and important. Being able to personalize communication that is based on data that’s collected and centralized under a single platform allows you to take the patient experience to new heights.
Supports HIPAA Compliance
As you know, privacy is a big deal, and HIPAA compliance is essential for any software system you plan to use, whether it’s for practice management or patient engagement. Further, with the launch of the meaningful use standards, patients must be able to access their medical information. This mandate can add a new layer of complexity to privacy and security.
Before committing to a patient engagement solution, confirm that it supports HIPAA compliance and follows industry best practices regarding patient communication. Don’t be afraid to ask what security measures are built-in to protect patients’ privacy and confidential data.
Supports the Size of Your Business
If you have more than one office location, things can get a little more complicated. This is especially true when teams across various locations have different ways of doing things, and there’s no uniform standard in place.
Inconsistencies in policies and patient communication can create confusion and compromise patient satisfaction, so having a patient engagement software system that supports multiple locations is essential. By standardizing everything across locations, your office will be more organized, and you’ll be able to accommodate patients who want to visit more than one office.
Another potential benefit of multi-location support is that one office can pick up the slack if another office is experiencing a busy period. For example, if one location is swamped and can’t pick up the phone, another office can answer the call and access that office’s system to make or adjust an appointment.
Further, because all of your locations are integrated under one platform, whoever answers the phone will be able to see the patient’s medical records and assist them as if they were in the same office!
Schedule a Demo with Weave
The ROI (return on investment) of practice engagement software is impressive, and medical practices report fewer no-shows and vacancies, prompter patient payments, more engaged patients, and efficient operations, among other things.
To learn more about how a patient engagement solution can help you grow and scale your healthcare practice, schedule a Weave demo today.