Nov 5, 2020 2:59:38 AM Benjamin Pure

5 Tips for Keeping a Patient-Centric Culture in the Age of Social Distancing

The COVID-19 outbreak has triggered a long-delayed healthcare revolution that is likely to outlast the crisis.
As a significant proportion of patient care and interaction now happens online, healthcare organizations need
to take preemptive steps for customer comfort and satisfaction in this new, remote-based reality. We are discussing some of them in today’s article.

5 Ways to Provide Efficient Patient Support Over a Distance

According to PWC’s research, excellent customer experience is the key factor driving the purchasing decisions for 73% of U.S. consumers. However, by imposing a physical barrier, social distancing limits opportunities to engage with patients on-site. 

An unprecedented number of Americans have now become digital-first patients, which forces medical businesses to power up their online customer connections. They can implement several measures to build and maintain meaningful patient experiences over distance.

#1 Embrace the Power of Knowledge

The key to providing the best services possible is understanding what customers need,  and no one understands patient expectations better than patients themselves. 

From exploring the customer journey to keeping a close eye on social media discussions, there are multiple ways to learn more about what patients expect from healthcare service providers. The most viable option is to ask them directly, for example, by implementing a short online survey that will grant first-hand insight on how to improve the patient experience.

Once improvements are in place, make sure that the changes are communicated. Leverage social and online channels, such as email, to inform patients about your efforts to accommodate their requests and suggestions.
If you have any information about the positive impacts of your improvements, share it. This way, you’ll not only amplify your success but also elicit loyalty from patients, even when interacting remotely.

#2 Increase and Improve Online Presence

As a result of the lockdown, all major spheres of our lives are moving online. The internet has become the new classroom, office, shopping mall, and the ultimate space for entertainment and services. This also applies
to healthcare offerings.

Being present online had already been an absolute must before the pandemic. But now is the perfect time
to make sure that everything is in working order and seek proper enhancements. Is your website accessible, informative, easy to navigate, and compatible with various devices? Are social media profiles up and running? What are the contact options available? Answering these questions and resolving any possible issues is a sure way to increasing patient satisfaction.

#3 Account for Your Patient's Financial Problems

The saying ‘bad things come in threes’ has been brutally true for those who are currently facing financial distress due to the pandemic crisis. The economic decline will force many patients to cut down on expenses, including those related to healthcare. 

Medical service providers can offer their struggling patients a veritable lifeline in the form of flexible payment solutions, such as discounts, installments, or long-term plans. It’s sure to be appreciated and can be a great first step in building a lasting bond between a healthcare company and its customers.

#4 Expect the Unexpected

In current conditions, the situation varies wildly from day to day, and people can react differently to such sudden changes. Some are afraid, others are angry, and no one knows what tomorrow may bring. 

The outbreak has led to a sharp surge in customer calls, no matter the vertical. With the increased demand for support and the entirely new circumstances, it is crucial to think two steps ahead. Maintaining high standards and regularly training staff in accordance with the evolving state of things will help you leave no issues unsolved. Creating a new team or department explicitly dedicated to pandemic-related matters may facilitate dealing with the overflow of unexpected questions. Another good idea is to create a FAQ subpage
(or to update an already-existing one) that will provide online patients with basic information concerning the situation and allow them to learn what actions the business is undertaking to alleviate its impact.

#5 Strengthen Remote Communication

In times of exceptional uncertainty, reliability proves invaluable — especially when it comes to meeting the most fundamental needs, such as healthcare. Making sure that there is someone who can answer any question and dispel patient doubts is now more critical than ever.

There’s no better way to achieve that by providing professional, remote access to healthcare support. Contacting
a doctor from the comfort of one’s home, without the need to visit the facility, will save your patients both time and hassle. And you will be able to increase your support capacity and effectiveness without compromising
on service quality. Not to mention that the risk of infection is reduced to zero.

Help Your Patients Stay Safe

Special circumstances always call for special measures. While it’s important to adapt to what may become the new reality even after the pandemic, all steps must be implemented with patients’ best interests in mind. After all, there is no healthcare without care. This holds true regardless of any channel and format of patient-provider interactions.