In recent years the healthcare industry has shifted to a value-based and patient-centered care model. This shift has made improving the patient experience a major focus for many healthcare organizations. There are many aspects to improving the patient experience, but one significant way is to improve communication. Using automated communications is one way you can improve patient communication and in turn improve the patient experience. Keep reading for 10 examples of how automated communications improve patient experience.

1. Courtesy appointment reminders

Patients’ lives are busy. A study of patient reminder preference showed participants often miss appointments due to forgetfulness. Sending a courtesy reminder to the patient of the appointment date, time and location can alleviate that forgetfulness. The same study demonstrated that patients prefer to receive an automated reminder via phone, email or text message. To increase the likelihood that your message will be seen, send the reminder through multiple modes of communication. By showing up for the appointment and continuing care, patients will have a better experience and outcome. By automating the process, your staff will be free to spend more time improving other aspects of the patient experience.

2. Missed appointment notifications

If patients don’t remember to go to the appointment, they won’t remember that they need to reschedule. Sending them a notification saying they missed the appointment and need to reschedule, nudges them to call your office and reschedule. When patients consistently continue to receive care, outcomes are much better.

3. Special pre-visit instructions

Certain appointments require special pre-visit instructions (such as fasting) or specific paperwork. Most practices also require identification and proof of insurance at each visit. Reminding patients to complete and bring (or submit digitally) this paperwork saves the patient, and your staff, the time they would have spent completing it when they arrive for the appointment, which cuts down on the patient’s wait time. Insuring they follow any instructions, like fasting or bringing identification and proof of insurance, allows the patient to be able to receive effective care, which improves their experience.

4. Post-care instructions

Patient adherence is a significant hurdle in improving the patient experience. Reminding patients of any post-care instructions, such as referral requests, medication instructions or changes to diet and daily life reminds patients that you care about their health, even after they leave the office. It also helps educate them how to be in control of their own care.

5. Inclement weather notifications

Severe weather can alter the way your practice operates. Sending clear and concise notifications telling patients how your practice will operate during and after a severe weather event shows your patients that you are prepared and care about their safety. Read this blog post to learn how you can put an inclement weather communication plan in place.

6. Flu shot notifications

Every year a new batch of flu shots arrive. Send an automated message to all your patients to quickly and easily let them know that flu shots are available.

7. Recalls

There are a lot of patients who only come in to the office for annual visits. Patients’ lives are hectic, and they often forget when they last had their annual visit. Sending an automated message letting them know it is time to schedule their annual visit supports continuation of care, which produces a better experience and outcome for the patient.

8. Surveys

It will certainly be easier to improve patient experience if you are in the habit of measuring it. A wonderful way to measure patient experience is through surveys. There are many ways to send out surveys. A link in an email or a short link in a text message are examples of how you can effectively distribute them to your patients. The key to using surveys for improving the patient experience is to use the patient feedback to make your practice better. Not every patient will fill out the survey, and not all feedback will be useful, but compiling all the responses and addressing any major recurring issues will improve patient experience.

9. Past-due balance notifications

Payment collections are necessary for the practice to continue to run effectively. When it is easy, a patient is more likely to make a payment right then. Including the payment phone number to call in a reminder text message, or including a transfer option in a reminder phone call to instantly connect with billing, makes the process easy for the patient.

10. Birthday greetings

One piece of the patient experience is the patient’s perception of how your office feels about their care. A fun way to ensure patients know you genuinely care about them is to send an automated birthday greeting. Simply wishing them a happy birthday brightens their day and enhances their interactions and experience with your practice.

Continuation of care and bettering patient-provider communication will produce a better experience and ultimately a better outcome. Automating the communications will save staff time and ensure patients a consistent message. The above list is only a sample of the automated communications you can use to improve patient experience.

To learn how PhoneTree can help you use these automated communications to improve patient experience, request a consultation.

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