In a digital world of constant notifications and noise, it can be easy for a company’s voice to be lost in the crowd. But so much of a patient’s satisfaction score is rooted in engagement—both inside and outside of the office; before, during, and after an appointment. So what are you doing to engage with patients more often, and better?
Both in-person and digitally, modern patients care about how well healthcare providers listen and respond, how convenient their services are, and how much value they provide. So what does “better” mean for patient engagement? It means connecting and interacting with patients through the channels they prefer—often on mobile devices.
To stay connected with your patients (and, in turn, acquire more), check out the following 7 tools and templates for better patient engagement:
1. Social Media
Social media is an excellent (and free!) platform you can use to broaden your reach and engage with patients. Most are already spending a daily average of 2 hours and 24 minutes there anyway. Social media can be used to create and share content, accumulate reviews, connect with patients and other brands in the community, and even advertise your healthcare practice.
The social media platform(s) you choose to create a business account on might vary based on the type of medical practice you have. Each platform has its own specific audience, benefits, and specialties. But no matter which platform(s) you use, keep in mind 3 guideposts for your business page:
- Provide value in every post or interaction
- Be clear about your services or offerings
- Engage with local communities and other brands for more awareness
If your healthcare practice is not already using social media, first determine the target audience of your practice and choose a platform that your patients (and the type of patients you’d like to acquire) are likely to use. This might include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, or Youtube.
If your business is already utilizing social media, consider the value of your page—are you getting referrals, engaging with patients, and providing useful information? Aside from being a public place to provide helpful information about your practice (including business hours, specialties, and location), social media is one of the strongest platforms for content marketing. Infographics, videos, pictures, blog posts, gifs, and much more can be shared on social media to generate leads, raise awareness, and provide value for patients. Likes, comments, shares, mentions, reviews, and DMs are all opportunities to respond or engage directly with patients and potential patients.
Opportunities for patient engagement on social media might include
- Asking patients to “like” your page
- Asking patients to leave a review on your page
- Holding a social media giveaway
- Responding to mentions, comments, and reviews
- Sharing educational content like tips for illness prevention or symptoms for common conditions
- Hosting a healthy living challenge patients can participate in with a hashtag
And with a platform like Hootsuite Healthcare, you can manage your social media presence, collect insights, and analyze what’s working and what’s not—all to reach your patients where they’re at right now anyway—on their phones and on social platforms.
Texting is one of the best ways to engage with patients simply because it works. Open and response rates for text messages are nearly 100%. And it’s how 90% of patients prefer to interact with a healthcare business anyway. Whether it’s for scheduling an appointment, sending invoices, asking for feedback, or keeping patients in the loop in real time, texting is the way to go.
3. Feedback Requests
When asking for feedback, it’s important to get the tone and timing right. Let patients know ahead of time you’re going to ask for feedback via text. Personalized messages sent post-appointment are the most effective.
- Hi Josh, thanks for choosing Channing Family Practice. On a scale of 1 – 10, how satisfied are you with your visit today?
- 9. Dr. Bennett was fantastic and I appreciated using the online portal to fill out my information.
- We’re happy to hear that; thanks for the feedback. Feel free to text us if you have comments or questions about appointments later on!
An internal metric like a patient satisfaction survey is a great way to measure patient expectations and provider delivery. And 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in revenue. Happy patients refer others to your practice, and the cycle continues. So the more you focus on providing an excellent patient experience, the better.
And with something like a survey, you can automate the ask with a link over text message that patients are 298% more likely to complete than if you call.
Questions on your survey could relate to
- Wait times
- Ease of scheduling
- Patient care (adequate time with doctor, how well the doctor listened and explained things)
- Post-care follow-up
- Office environment
5. Review Ask
The search for healthcare providers often starts online. Increasing the number of your online reviews can boost your ranking on search engine results. And asking patients via text to review your practice provides another touchpoint to strengthen the patient-provider relationship.
The ask for a review could look something like this:
6. Review Sites
One way to increase engagement with patients is to be active on review sites. Not only do patients read reviews, 97% also take note of healthcare providers’ responses to reviews.
After claiming your listing on each site, you can respond to questions and reviews, and update your information—remembering that this might be the first impression you make on a potential patient, and that it can improve your relationship with current or even past patients.
Popular review sites you can use for better patient engagement might include
- Rate MDs
- Web MD
- Google My Business
Responding to negative reviews doesn’t have to be a negative experience, either.
7. Healthcare Education
Consumers take to Google for health-related questions at the impressive rate of 70,000 searches per minute. That’s over 1 billion health-related Google searches every day. Patients are constantly on the hunt for healthcare education.
By creating a company blog or podcast, you can be a valuable source of information to your patients and potential patients who find your educational content via social media or Google. You can have guest writers and speakers to mix up the content and keep patients engaged.
Society is past the age of information and has entered the age of experience at full force—even (or perhaps especially) during a global pandemic. Patients expect excellent experiences across all channels. Part of providing those experiences hinges on using the right tools for patient engagement.
For more information on the right tools for better patient engagement, see our eBook: The Complete Guide to Modern Customer Communication and read about more customer success stories and how to improve customer satisfaction scores.