Follow-Up Communication and the Patient Experience

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As many providers know, there’s a strong correlation between patient satisfaction and a practice’s overall market reputation. In recent years, many hospitals and physician practices have focused on improving the quality of their patients’ experience as a means of expanding their business.

However, most patient satisfaction initiatives fail to focus on improving the patient experience after and in between care episodes. After an episode of care, patients can become easily overwhelmed by a host of new healthcare responsibilities, such as following post-surgical care instructions or maintaining a new drug regimen.

The burden is often higher for patients struggling to manage chronic conditions, as they must schedule appointments with specialists as well as follow-up care appointments with their primary physician. Scheduling lab work, tracking down the results, and understanding next steps based on an interpretation of these results also adds a layer of stress.

The Right Content at the Right Time Supports Better Patient Outcomes

Change Healthcare conducted a three-year consumer research study to better understand the stressors patients face throughout their healthcare journey. We found that consumers tend to evaluate their healthcare experience as a whole. Their assessment of a provider or facility includes not only the initial patient visit, but also each touchpoint afterward.

While new research shows that 92% of Americans are satisfied with the relationship they have with their healthcare provider,1 contact is typically limited to in-person appointments.

Our study indicates that poor care connections in between visits—including a simple lack of communication—are often the root cause of high readmission rates, increased costs, and overall consumer dissatisfaction. Intelligent follow-up communication can also increase the likelihood that your patients schedule and complete referral appointments.

To be most effective, follow-up communication should be personalized—in both content and delivery method—to meet each patient’s individual needs.

By offering additional education, resources, and assistance to patients, providers can influence behavior and positively impact patient health. Establishing a two-way communication channel can help your practice strengthen patient loyalty, improve your reputation, and grow your business.

Read our white paper, Connected Care. This is the fourth and final piece in a series of linked white papers, beginning with The Healthcare Consumer Experience.

Citations:
1. Physicians Foundation, “The Physicians Foundation 2019 Patient Survey,” October 21, 2019. https://physiciansfoundation.org/research-insights/the-physicians-foundation-2019-patient-survey/