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Opening the ‘digital front door’ to enhanced patient experiences in the post-pandemic era

October 13, 2020
Rajesh Midha
By Rajesh Midha

The realities of the Coronavirus pandemic have reinforced the power of digital platforms in communicating and guiding healthcare. Throughout the crisis, online visits, remote monitoring, and patient engagement tools have effectively reduced foot traffic at clinics and delivered a large portion of office visits virtually. Customers, now wholly accustomed to getting what they need, when they need it, are driving the healthcare agenda and the shift in how providers interact with them. Telehealth services in the U.S. are now projected to show staggering seven-fold growth in the next five years , and are set to become the most available source of healthcare. Pressure is mounting for providers to expand their use of the technologies to remain relevant to their hyper-connected audience – the solution being the development of an effective ‘digital front door’ strategy.

The digital front door is a strategy built to engage patients before, during, and long after an appointment takes place. By allowing patients easy access to every touchpoint of their journey, including mobile scheduling, check-ins, and payments, providers are creating a holistic digital experience and returning control over their own healthcare to patients. With the adoption of single-use patient portals remaining low – averaging less than 35 percent – the digital front door presents a valuable opportunity to providers to reach out to their patients using a blend of technologies already being used in their day-to-day lives.

Long after this health crisis, the patient experience and seamless access to care will remain critical to patient acquisition, retention, and long-term revenue.

Digital is a must for healthcare
HCOs no longer have the luxury of shunning digital platforms. Patients are now demanding that their providers keep up with the shift towards digital transformation, with over three quarters of patients believing the ability to book, cancel, or change an appointment online is important . In order for these organizations to engage and deepen their relationship with patients, they must undergo change and deploy an effective end-to-end digital front door strategy. This strategy must include the following four features:

Access: increased access through connected devices, communications, telehealth, and remote monitoring
Experience: frictionless patient journeys leading to increased acquisition, conversion, engagement, and retention
Efficiency: digital self-care and self-service increase patient satisfaction levels, while reducing operation support costs for messaging, scheduling, billing inquiry, etc.

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