By Rajesh Midha
While COVID-19 has been getting the lion’s share of the healthcare headlines over the past two years, other long-term trends have also been quietly driving major structural changes in the industry.
Healthcare providers have to adapt to the rise in healthcare consumerism as “digital-native” Gen Z and millennials, who are making up an increasingly large share of the adult population, bring their online shop-and-compare habits to the medical realm. All the while, the industry is dealing with the changes brought on by a shift toward value-based care and an increased focus on updating digital-healthcare regulations across the U.S.
For healthcare providers looking to keep pace with these shifts in consumer preferences and healthcare value pools, the “Digital Front Door” is proving to be an essential patient-facing piece of a digital healthcare strategy.
And Digital Front Doors help healthcare providers support their evolving consumerism capabilities. Providers can use these tools to bridge EHR functionality like appointment scheduling, refills, and test results with consumer-friendly features such as provider finders for prospective patients, support groups, wayfinding, and personalized content to create healthy habits.
Of course, in the highly competitive healthcare market, there is little room for investments that don’t have a measurable impact on an organization’s bottom line, its ability to acquire and retain patients, and the healthcare outcomes of those patients.
A Digital Front Door will increase efficiency, refine growth strategies, boost patient loyalty, and provide a better way to measure key metrics relevant to running a successful practice or healthcare organization.
Metric #1: Utilization rate of online appointment bookings & electronic check-ins
In healthcare, margins are slim, but incremental steps toward automating tasks that are otherwise handled through the phone and on paper can help. Freeing up front- and back-office care team members and direct care providers from non-value-add activities — like copying paperwork, looking for charts, or talking on the phone — means they can spend more time focusing on reimbursable activities.
A study of 18 large companies found that “direct labor costs” for call-center employees were as high as $3.29 for a three- to four-minute phone call. When calculating additional costs such as benefits and rent, the cost was as high as $5.60 per call. And the cost of phone time is higher for highly trained (and higher-paid) employees.