As healthcare struggles to deal with the pandemic, I hurt as I see how many healthcare organizations are struggling, but I also look at the tremendous opportunities that are available for healthcare to do so much more for patients.
Coming from the hospitality and casino industry, it was easy to see how many of the customer experience principles from those industries could be applied to healthcare. However, it was also astounding to see how many healthcare organizations didn’t need to worry about the patient experience. While this may still largely be true for some healthcare organizations, the winds of healthcare are changing and those healthcare organizations that don’t create a deep relationship with their patients are likely going to struggle in the future.
More importantly, I see a great opportunity for healthcare organizations to step up their relationships with patients as a benefit to the patient and healthcare organizations. Let me share just one simple opportunity that’s available today: Flu Shots.
At CareCognitics we’ve been working with our customers to help facilitate the flu shot experience for their patients. What’s interesting about the flu shot in 2020 is that we see patients getting them in record numbers. Whether it’s concern because of COVID or something else driving patients, we’re seeing patients show up for flu shots beyond what’s happened in the past.
While this has been great for patients, it’s also been a great opportunity for healthcare organizations to show their patients what kind of vaccination experience they can provide. How are they handling patient check-in for a flu shot? What are the wait times? How is my healthcare organization going to communicate with me about the flu shot? As you can see, the flu shot is the perfect opportunity for a healthcare organization to build trust with their patients so that when the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, they already have a relationship with you and you know what to expect.
Maybe even more importantly, we see healthcare organizations using the flu shot to open a channel of communication with their patients. Why is this important? Every healthcare organization should be thinking about their patient communication strategy when it comes to the coming COVID-19 vaccination. Does that patient prefer text or email? Do I have that information to be able to communicate with them effectively? How can I ensure that they trust us to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination in a safe manner? Do I have a way to analyze which of my patients should get the COVID-19 vaccine first?
There are answers to all of these questions, but you have to start investing now in a solution that captures this information about your patients. Otherwise, when the COVID-19 vaccine arrives, you’ll be wishing you had the answers and the communication channel needed to connect with your patients. Plus, this channel of communication is going to be even more important since many of the coming vaccinations require 2 doses to be effective. Making sure you have a platform that can be used to invite and motivate your patient to return for the second dose will be an essential part of a healthcare organization’s strategy.
While there’s a great opportunity to use the flu shot as preparation for the coming COVID-19 vaccine, creating a digital relationship with the patient will be useful to a healthcare organization well beyond vaccination. As healthcare continues its shift to value-based care, having a way to inform, engage, and motivate the patient will be essential to future reimbursement. Plus, these tools provide a positive patient experience which is valuable in the current fee-for-service world. Not to mention efforts such as wellness visits which have often been skipped during COVID-19.
Certainly, we’ve all had unique struggles amidst the pandemic. However, there’s also a huge opportunity for healthcare organizations to rethink the patient experience and build trust and loyalty from their patients. Every flu shot and every digital check-in is an opportunity to build that trust or not. Investments of time and energy to make these experiences great during COVID-19 will not be forgotten by patients. Plus, it’s not only the right thing to do for patients but the smart thing to do for your business.
This article was originally published on Healthcare IT Today.