A silver lining of the COVID-19 crisis is the acceleration of digital health trends. A recent survey showed 60% of patients want to continue to meet with health care providers and manage their conditions using technology implemented due to the pandemic.1
Even before the pandemic, nearly 75% of patients wanted better communication with providers and more personalized health care experiences.2.3 Health systems recognize the need to capitalize on these emerging digital health technologies that are likely here to stay.
Like any technology designed to make life easier, health care digitization can support a more patient-centered approach with the potential to engage patients in real-time, wherever they are, with deep personalization—thanks to the safe exchange of personal health records, optimizing access to custom resources, and supporting clinical decision-making based on an individual’s health information.
A white paper looks at how the pandemic has shifted patient expectations as they embrace new digital health tools, and how to fast-track innovation and prioritize customer-centric digital-first platforms to meet them. Here are three ways digital health can create the experience patients want.
1. Digital health satisfies digital engagement cravings
A lesson to all industries following the pandemic is that consumers in every market want more digital engagement. And while digital health platforms have been embraced as a solution for the remote delivery of care, they’ve also helped strengthen patient engagement through more personalized content and communication preferences.
Technology is known to facilitate consumer engagement. In the health care industry, engaged patients are more involved in their care, more likely to comply with treatments, and are better at self-managing their condition—leading to better health outcomes overall. Digital engagement strategies in health care include video consultations, chatbots, and digital apps. Krames Continued Care automated SMS text messaging, for instance, keeps patients engaged with clinicians and care plans beyond their visits.
2. Digital health improves patient health literacy and understanding
In a digital-first approach, patient education can be extended beyond the traditional care setting, reaching patients with trusted, easy-to-digest and -understand content in formats and languages they prefer. Inclusive language helps patients identify with content and strengthen the patient–provider relationship.
Krames On FHIR® delivers digital, video, and printed education to patients at the point of care—where it can best improve patient outcomes—based on their profile and current clinical encounter. Krames On-Demand® populates digital health programs with credible, consistent, always-current education resources covering thousands of topics. And Krames Continued Care extends the Krames On FHIR, Krames On-Demand, and Krames Consumer Health Library experience.
Digital health solutions promote patient understanding of and activation in their health and care plans, encouraging patients to advocate for themselves, and helping them feel more in control of their health. And as these digital solutions are seamlessly integrated into the EHR and clinical workflows, it frees up clinicians to focus on the patient experience—to further enhance patient satisfaction and loyalty.
3. Digital health strengthens patient–clinician communications
As consumers, patients expect the same seamless, connected, multichannel health experiences that they have with their favorite brands. Patients want access to providers outside of appointments along with deeper personalization.
A digital-based health care model fortifies the patient–clinician relationship by providing valuable access and reliable communication channels—from patient portals to SMS text messaging to smartphone apps. That helps increase the visibility of clinicians outside of traditional visits to reach patients in the moments that matter.
A digital approach supports consistent outreach, delivers an empathetic tone, and extends credible resources, making patients feel cared for in the way “high-touch” experiences are supposed to do. That inspires deeper communication between patients and their care team and reassures them to follow through with appointments and treatment plans. Better communication leads to better patient–provider relationships, carrying over to improved patient brand satisfaction and loyalty.
Keys to a better digital patient experience
Digital engagement serves the patient experience across the entire care continuum. During the discovery phase, patients typically interact with digital platforms to research a health concern and to connect with engaging, easy-to-understand, and actionable health information. This equips patients with consistent information to help them evaluate their care options.
Multichannel messaging is used to prepare a patient for an upcoming appointment, providing them details and reminders of what to expect during and after their procedure. During the patient encounter, clinicians can digitally gather personalized patient information and integrate it seamlessly within the patient’s care plan.
Digital engagement is sustained beyond the visit with personalized messaging that reinforces adherence to prescription medications and healthy behaviors. In the long term, digital health efforts—including patient education delivered in the patient portal and automated text messages—continue to push out reminders about important health screenings and milestones or help support patients with self-management skills. Collectively, digital health strategies improve patient outcomes and nurture long-term patient–provider relationships for a high-quality experience.
For 40-plus years, Krames solutions—which now include those of our WebMD and Medscape family—have been attracting, educating, and retaining patients. Partnering with a results-driven company like Krames is key for health care networks to provide a personalized patient experience that coordinates digital and physical touchpoints. Patients stay engaged with their care plan and clinicians, improving their satisfaction and loyalty and reducing readmissions—creating healthier outcomes for all.
1 How to build a patient experience we all want and need. Healthcare IT News Web site. https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/how-build-patient-experience-we-all-want-and-need. January 15, 2021. Accessed June 22, 2021.
2 Text statistics, text messaging facts, stats, and insights. MessageDesk Web site. https://snapdesk.app/text-messaging-statistics-facts-stats-insights. Updated January 19, 2020. Accessed March 31, 2021.
3 75% of U.S. consumers wish their healthcare experiences were more personalized, Redpoint Global survey reveals. BusinessWire Web site. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200218005006/en/75-of-U.S.-Consumers-Wish-Their-Healthcare-Experiences-Were-More-Personalized-Redpoint-Global-Survey-Reveals. Published February 18, 2020. Accessed March 30, 2021.