Patient experience is an integral part of healthcare quality. It includes several aspects of healthcare delivery, all of which are valued by patients whenever they require medical care. This includes things like good communication with healthcare providers, easy access to information, getting timely appointments, and so on. It all depends on various technologies, of which digital media plays a huge role in helping those in the healthcare industry improve the patient experience.
This article takes a look at the different ways doctors and clinicians can use digital media in various online channels, such as email, social media, websites, etc. to enhance the experience of patients before, during, and after their visit.
1. Maintain an Active Social Media Presence
Maintaining an active social media presence is an excellent way to use digital media to improve the patient experience. There are many types of content you can share on social media, as a healthcare provider.
For example, you can:
- Use your social media profile to spread awareness about what your specific organization offers patients with regard to medical care.
- Share information on the advanced treatments or technology your facility offers.
- Create posts to educate service users about illnesses and conditions to prevent misinformation.
- Stream live videos to your social media followers and follow influencers within the medical niche (e.g. doctors, nurses) (and other doctors)
In short, being active on social media will provide you with a cost-effective way to increase awareness of your business and distribute healthcare information to relevant users.
You can take this tactic even further by connecting your patients with others receiving guidance toward similar health goals.
On social media, you can build a network of people who can support each other toward improved health. It doesn’t matter whether it’s chronic conditions, serious illnesses, or a topic such as fitness and lifestyle change. Care requires community and social media can help you create that.
2. Share Engaging Content with Users
A lot of medical offices these days have adopted the use of digital media, technology, and online marketing as a way to grow their businesses.
Many have also embraced digital content in the form of social shares, videos, blog posts, email newsletters, and more.
They have realized that when patients are engaged in their medical care, they are often more proactive, which helps them get even greater benefits from the health services available. Ultimately, this leads to improved health and a better experience with a facility or physician.
While content marketing isn’t a new concept within the medical industry, many doctors and clinicians still face the challenge of creating and sharing engaging content with users.
Here are a few tips to help you create engaging content that your patients will want to interact with and share.
- Create “shareworthy” content, such as quizzes, photos, videos, healthcare podcast series, and educational blog posts that your patients will find interesting.
- Use infographics to communicate complex or confusing information. This will make it easier for your patients to scan and understand the information rather than reading an entire long-form blog post.
- Go beyond blog posts by creating interactive content like symptom checkers, activity trackers, calorie counters, or hydration calculators.
- Use one of the best logo makers to generate a unique logo for your medical brand that becomes a recognizable symbol within your community.
3. Integrate All Digital Media Channels with Booking Plugins
Another way to use digital media to improve patient experience is through the use of booking plugins. Some examples are those offered from SimplyBook.me, an online booking platform for all service-based industries.
You can integrate this appointment scheduling tool with all your digital media channels, allowing patients to easily schedule appointments, get reminders, and pay online 24/7.
The easier you can make the process of booking and checking their appointments, the better the experience will be for your patients.
You’ll be able to get more bookings from more channels, including:
- Custom Booking Website
- Booking Page
- Website Widget
- Google Maps Bookings
4. Use Email Newsletters to Update Patients
There are plenty of health technologies that help to boost patient satisfaction, but none so simple and effective as email.
While phone calls are necessary for one-on-one communication with patients (e.g. in the case of follow-ups, appointment reminders, etc.), professional emails let you reach more people at once. It lets you connect with your patients on a more personal level than social media – even at scale – by allowing you to personalize your messages and newsletters.
The key here is to consistently create high-value content for your email newsletter. Make sure it’s content that your patients will find relevant, educational, useful, and interesting. So they always look forward to opening your email newsletters.
Use email newsletters to update patients about ongoing health threats and relevant news, while also taking advantage of email signature marketing to improve conversion and retention rates.
For example, you might send a digital media “Flu Guide” with tips on staying healthy during the winter season. You might also create an infographic about how to reduce symptoms during allergy season, and so on.
Make sure to end each of your email newsletters with a compelling call to action.
Using the “Flu Guide” example, you might add a CTA such as “Schedule your flu shot today!” with a link to your scheduling software.
5. Use Email to Request Feedback from Patients
As a doctor or clinician, your patients’ feedback is crucial to your business. It provides valuable information about what your patients think about your healthcare services.
A close examination of your service users’ feedback will offer you direct insights into what works well and what has to be improved. You can’t enhance your overall patient experience if you don’t know what’s going wrong
The more patients you ask to provide feedback, the more reviews you will receive. And more reviews mean powerful social proof that will help you attract even more prospective patients.
Here are some more reasons why asking for feedback from patients can improve your healthcare practice:
- You’ll Boost Your Online Reputation: The majority of consumers trust online reviews almost as much as they do personal recommendations. So, when you can get more satisfied patients to share testimonials on review websites or social media, you will build a positive online reputation that will help you attract new patients.
- Create a Culture of Open Communication: Asking for feedback from your patients not only helps you focus on continuous improvement of your practice, but it also helps you create a culture of open communication so you can find new opportunities to improve your practice for the benefit of your patients.
- You’ll Better Understand What Your Patients Want: Whether it’s to do with your website, appointment scheduling tools, or how patients find your practice on social media, you’ll never have to guess what your patients want from you.
For example, take a look at the survey below which shows that the majority of millennials (71%) want to be able to book doctor appointments using apps. These are the types of insights you can gain by regularly asking for patient feedback.
6. Use SMS to Remind Patients of Appointments
Not everyone is convinced that SMS is an acceptable way for doctors to communicate with patients. But, these days more and more people prefer this mode of communication to more traditional means of communication between healthcare service providers and patients.
One of the most common applications of this channel is for healthcare providers to remind patients of upcoming appointments. It works so effectively because it’s quick, easy, and convenient for everyone.
SMS messages aren’t just to remind your patients of appointments, you can also use it for follow-ups, and even instructions. Use it to help patients make sense of complex health information – particularly in instances where the stakes are high.
Send SMS messages for payments due, special deliveries, and updating patients on health services.
In fact, you can also make positive impressions by using SMS to thank patients for their visits.
As you can see, the options are many, and this can be a powerful and effective way for healthcare providers to communicate better with patients.
7. Build a Professional Website to Highlight Your Business
By now, is clear that technology does a lot to enhance the patient experience. Technological tools and platforms can have a significant impact on patient experience and satisfaction. Websites, in particular, can prove to be powerful tools for practising doctors.
These days, the majority of people “Google” a doctor before visiting their clinic, and a professional medical website can help you highlight your business and establish your credibility and trustworthiness.
For example, you can display awards, recent media coverage, and even patient testimonials to boost your credibility in the eyes of your website visitors.
You can also use your site as a way to distribute accurate health information to your patients and motivate them to discover relevant information about different health and lifestyle topics.
Perhaps you could include biographies of your staff members to “humanize” them and ease the worries of potential patients. Helping patients to feel better and more comfortable with their visit.
Your site will be their go-to source for information on illnesses, conditions, and treatments, helping you to reduce the number of misinformed patients out there.
8. Create SEO Content on All On-Site Pages and Blog Articles
Having a blog on your website will not only help you enhance the patient experience by providing them with easy access to relevant education, but it also allows you to build stronger relationships with your customers and providers.
By starting a blog, you can provide health information directly to your patients and far beyond. A blog can be a powerful tool to motivate patients and increase personal awareness of discoveries and news pertaining to the industry.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you need to create content that your ideal potential patients will find. That means implementing SEO (search engine optimization) best practices.
Remember, before new patients walk through your door, they have likely already learned a lot about your facility, treatments, staff, etc. Like all other businesses, people Google your practice, look for recommendations, and check online reviews before deciding to make an appointment. That’s why you must focus on optimizing all your website content for search.
Here are some tips to help you create digital content that will be found:
- Base your content on patient questions, comments, and feedback to ensure your content is relevant.
- Design and create content focused on keywords with high search volume so you know you’re writing about something people are actually looking for online.
- Add “share” buttons to your posts so that readers can share your content on social media, further increasing its exposure.
As you can see, digital media plays a huge role in helping you improve your service. The tips outlined in this article will help you improve patient experience and boost satisfaction levels.
Use these innovative solutions to drive accuracy, efficiency, and safety across all your business workflows and give your patients an exceptional healthcare experience.
Over to you. Has this article helped you understand how you can use digital media to improve patient experience? Share your thoughts below!
Ron Stefanski is a website entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com