Healthcare consumerism is reshaping the way we find and access care. Gone are the days of waiting in line, instead patients are “shopping” for healthcare. These healthcare consumers demand solutions that are convenient, personalized, coordinated, and accessible. To meet this changing landscape, health systems must adopt even better digital front door strategies to engage with and create loyal consumers.  

In this article, we will continue our digitizing healthcare series where we apply a holistic approach to healthcare consumerism, particularly looking at how we can grow patient loyalty. 

So how do we integrate digital solutions to create a loyal patient?  What does a loyal patient even look like?

1) A loyal patient – the elusive holy grail?

Some say a loyal patient is the elusive holy grail. Someone who is engaged in their healthcare decision-making process and will remain in-network even in the face of problems. Yet, faced with increasing healthcare costs and insurance issues, can any patient be truly loyal to any single healthcare system or organization?   

The answer is of course yes. Moreover, critical to enabling patient engagement and building loyalty is capturing the patient’s attention from the first moment they access care. This means elevating the digital front door patient experience is now vital for success.  

In this blog, we will aim to share with you how our approach to implement a digital front door strategy that increases patient loyalty.

2) From healthcare provision to healthcare as a service

In the last 10 years, there has been a phenomenal shift from healthcare provision to healthcare as a service. Patients used to be satisfied with calling up to make an appointment and see their family doctor. Healthcare organizations would even try to stand out by opening a weekend clinic, providing a health hotline, or even educational content. Now, simply providing these traditional medical services is no longer enough to keep patients coming back and satisfied. Instead, health systems must cater to the personalized care experience of each patient. 

Digital transformation in other industries such as retail and banking has drastically reduced information gaps and waiting times. When you order a taxi on Uber – it arrives within a few minutes. When you make a bank transfer to the other side of the world – it arrives within seconds. 

Just like in other industries, healthcare consumers now expect instant gratification – the ability to find and access care within seconds. Events like the important upcoming annual conference from SHSMD (Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development) have arisen to help healthcare marketers address some of these pressing issues.

3) Personalize the patient access to drive patient loyalty

Start by looking at your organization’s unique patient journey and their digital front door experience – the way in which patients are finding and accessing their health system. This is a  highly varied experience between organizations. If you find your organization falling short on that end, don’t worry, there is a lot that can be done to improve your patient experience.

Look at it from the patient’s point of view. What care are they seeking? With which specialist and department? For what health condition? When do they need it? Only by deeply understanding diverse and personalized patient access needs, such as behaviors, health conditions, preferences and clinical history, can we positively impact the patient experience in a way that drives loyalty. 

Once we understand the patient, health systems must then invest time and attention to brand and personalize their experience throughout all patient access touch points. This should particularly focus on implementing a digital strategy to grow trust, critical in driving loyalty. 

Digital solutions such as smart outreach tools, real-time online scheduling and automated website payments, appointment reminders to prevent no shows, quick follow-up thank you messages, and patient surveys, are just some of the tools health systems can now use to significantly drive patient satisfaction and ultimately keep patients coming back. 

However, the impact of these individual activities in growing patient loyalty is a drop in the ocean to what could be achieved if we were to implement a centralized approach across departments. To make this happen, health systems must therefore look to align patient needs with their organizational resources and constraints.  

This all comes down to implementing a holistic approach to the way we collect, manage, maintain and use data during the patient access journey.

4) Standardize and implement centralized scheduling

Today, many health systems face a highly decentralized organizational structure to manage patient access. This can result in many departments showing inconsistencies in processes, infrastructure, as well as their understanding into both the patient and provider experience, leading to dissatisfied customers and providers.  

Yet, imagine if we approached this problem holistically and brought everything together. What if we could provide health systems with a digital solution that could organize their highly-complex business logic and rules to digitize scheduling workflows. A standardized and centralized data repository that accounted for insurance and reimbursement restrictions, scheduling preferences, organizational priorities, alongside patient-specific and revenue-based rules. That enabled all departments enterprise-wide to work to the same business logic and rules to deliver smart patient-provider matching and facilitate scheduling on a full self-service basis.  

Instead of digital tools that allowed a simple appointment request or enabled just online scheduling for primary care, health systems could now take all of their appointments enterprise-wide to self-scheduling! Alongside the self scheduling, call center teams would now have a gold mine of information at their fingertips and the digital tools to better triage appointment slots, enabling easier, faster and reliable scheduling that would drive patient loyalty.

4)  Educating consumers to reveal the digital front door opportunity 

Combined with smart multi-channel scheduling, these new digital capabilities would educate consumers that they can reliably search, find and schedule care for any type of condition with any specialist, in real time, through their preferred platform! Through a centralized approach to data management, we can also truly personalize and automate appointment reminders, follow-up visits and surveys. The digital front door experience has been transformed into an easy-to-use, convenient and effective experience that will keep patients coming back and even recommend! 

Whether accessed by web, portal, chat or IVR (Interactive Voice Response), Odoro’s digital front door experience can now go much further than ever before to meet patient needs. 

Want to hear more?  Please visit us at SHSMD, 8-11 September, Booth 821, or schedule your personal demo to see Odoro’s digital patient access platform in action. 

Digitizing Healthcare Series: Enabling a holistic approach to healthcare 

Back to Part 1 

About Dikla Ranen

Dikla Ranen is the co-founder and COO of Odoro – a leader in digital patient access solutions for health systems. Over the last 20 years, Dikla has held senior sales, business development and customer success roles in both the digital health and hi-tech sector. Working at the forefront of the changing digital patient access landscape for the past 10 years, she understands first-hand the challenges and issues facing health systems. To learn more about sector best-practices and how latest digital innovation strategies are being used to improve the patient experience, please message with Dikla on Linkedin.

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