Customers expect businesses to provide quick, convenient ways to access information and manage routine transactions. The banking, travel and retail industries have embraced mobile and self-service technologies to satisfy their customers wish for efficient ways to communicate. Healthcare can also benefit from these solutions to optimize the patient journey from beginning to end.
Appointment Scheduling and Reminders
Self-service solutions allow providers to be proactive with their patient communications through multiple channels, including voice, SMS, and email. Simple, automatic pre-appointment notification can be generated plus patients can manage, reschedule, and submit cancellation requests. Interactive Text Response (ITR) technology enables patients to take the initiative by replying to the notification with common questions such as, “will I be able to eat before my appointment?” or “what do I need to bring?” And, with natural language understanding (NLU) these two-way interactions become open-ended, natural conversations. Patients can speak to a live agent from any channel if they have more complicated issues at any time.
Mobile self-service solutions can connect patients to critical real-time information and resources concerning their upcoming treatment. A simple SMS reminder telling a patient to abstain from eating the night before surgery can be very helpful for a procedure scheduled for the next morning. Without that reminder the patient might show up unprepared and the physician will have no choice but to reschedule.
Improved Family and Patient Communications
As patients take more control of their health, it is understandable that they and their family members will have a lot of questions. Secure mobile apps can create a digital white board that allows patients, family members, and other clinicians to receive notifications and access real-time information about a patient’s status, whereabouts, and transition of care. For example, “John Michaels has been taken down to x-ray at 4pm and will return to room A45 by 5pm.”
Discharge and Appointment Follow-up
One of the main contributors to unnecessary readmission is the patient not properly following the physicians post-discharge instructions. Often, leaving a facility with a folder of aftercare instructions are not enough resulting in a patient or family member becoming confused about follow-up appointments or prescribed medication instructions. Unfortunately, this increases the likelihood that the patient will need to be readmitted and/or fall short of post-discharge care. By linking self-service tools to EHR systems, providers can push post-discharge instructions or transition of care information through secure links over SMS, email, or mobile portals. Patients and family members can access care information, manage diets and track medication in an easy-to-use digital format. Additionally, patient questions can be answered by replying to the SMS or email that originally delivered the information through ITR and NLU technology. Even better, they can escalate more complex questions to a live clinician over voice or web chat.
The patient experience begins well before the client walks into a facility and extends beyond discharge. Mobile and self-service technology empowers patients to stay educated by providing access to resources and enhancing communication with their providers over the channels they use every day. The more educated a patient is, the more empowered they are to make better decisions. The end result is an increase in patient satisfaction and retention as well as a reduction in re-admissions and empty beds for providers. Mobile and self-service technology helps providers meet consumer expectations and navigate through the complexities of the entire patient journey to provide the pain-free experiences that patients want.
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