Exploring patient experience as a driver of loyalty in the digital age

In this article, Gary Hamilton, CEO of InteliChart, the online patient engagement platform, explores how the digital evolution of healthcare can lead to quality care, convenience and continued patient loyalty. .

The individual consumer has made great strides in health care, with the health care industry shifting from appealing to the masses and larger markets to targeting individual patients. This is an inevitable trend, and healthcare providers are feeling the effects and adapting accordingly. Patients have taken their health into their own hands and are convinced that providers must reach their level of satisfaction.

Patients prefer a seamless experience that is highly personalized based on their wants and needs. They now have the ability to instantly access online information to compare scores and ratings of healthcare organizations, providing greater visibility than ever and empowering them to have more control over their healthcare. Therefore, retaining patients and attracting new ones will become a battleground for many providers. Therefore, patient loyalty will be a decisive factor in the success of many organizations.

Inevitably, the patient experience will drive people to the providers they have chosen as consumers seek an excellent patient experience coupled with clinical quality. Healthcare organizations that offer both will see greater patient loyalty and, therefore, higher returns. The simple fact is that a physician must first establish a practice that provides quality care and then build patient loyalty.

The digital experience
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped much of our society and altered commerce, and like many other industries, the healthcare industry has experienced rapid digitalization

This digital transformation focused on, evolved and ultimately improved the patient-provider relationship. A survey by NRC Health indicated that nearly 62% of healthcare consumers would seek to switch providers post-pandemic, indicating likely turnover if certain patient criteria were not met. A healthcare organization that incorporates an enhanced digital patient experience gives itself an edge over its competitors.

To drive patient loyalty and help produce a positive experience, healthcare providers must view their patients as unique individuals and meet their needs through advanced digital capabilities. Healthcare consumers are looking for the same value and convenience that has spread into industries such as retail and hospitality. Providers cannot simply pick and choose which elements of their practice to digitize; they need a fully integrated experience. By using a holistic patient engagement platform, providers can empower their patients, meet their digital needs, and ultimately retain them.

The digital door to healthcare
Patient portals are one such digital capability available to providers. These easily accessible health portals provide people with convenient and unrestricted access to personal health information, enabling greater visibility and transparency while appealing to digital preferences. Patients can easily navigate health information and medical history, review possible treatments, and feel empowered to have the data needed to make decisions at their fingertips. These digital gateways also save time for patients and providers, eliminating unnecessary communication while tracking daily care between visits.

However, portals alone are not enough to meet the high expectations of today’s patients. To meet these standards, portals must integrate seamlessly with other engagement solutions to provide a simple and unified experience for patients.

For example, admission solutions have also been an essential addition to the patient experience. Online check-in, securing a specific date and time, providing insurance information and even listing a favorite pharmacy are features that have all been digitized and can be managed directly through patient portals. This eliminates long waiting times in waiting rooms, reduces cancellations and eases administrative burdens, saving time and money.

Moving towards digital convenience and value
A well-oiled patient engagement platform enables healthcare providers to bypass previously unavoidable barriers between themselves and their patients. A digital patient experience allows separate parts to work in tandem and lays the foundation for a positive experience. Once viewed as a fractured process, the patient experience has evolved into a place of ease and value.

Driven by digital transformation, a focus on patient loyalty has taken shape and evolved as a long-term goal centered on a sustained commitment to patient needs. As the world emerges from the pandemic, healthcare providers must be prepared to meet this demand, prevent turnover, and implement effective digital improvements to target care and convenience.

About Terry Gongora

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