Engaging the Modern Patient [Infographic]

Engaging the Modern Patient [Infographic]

by UbiCare Hospital executives and patient educators often ask me how patients—particularly younger ones—like to communicate with their doctors nowadays in the age of millennials and apps. Patients are people and we need to engage them as such. Regardless of age or other factors, they use email and text all the time in their daily lives and want to communicate with their doctors, hospitals and physician practices through those channels too. UbiCare researched this question and compiled the findings into an infographic that is full of information about patients’ health communication preferences and how hospitals can manage a patient’s episode of care better when they share patient education proactively through email and text. In fact, not only does emailing and texting patients about their care work better to improve health outcomes and promote behavior change, it can save you a lot of time and money. Just imagine not having to answer all those patient calls with common questions, scheduling unnecessary doctors’ appointments or worse, dealing with costly hospital...

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Social media strategies for healthcare brands

Social media strategies for healthcare brands

By Smith & Jones Social media plays a significant role in marketing healthcare to your audiences and the demand for this type of communication is growing. That’s why social media marketing can no longer be a one-man operation. Healthcare brands should consider spreading social media responsibilities across their organization to get more people involved and keep up with demand. In our latest Brains Over Brawn podcast, President of Smith & Jones David Vener meets up with Jessica Columba, a partner of the firm Med|Ed Digital and expert social media strategist. Jessica specializes in training regulated industries on how to use social media to build brand awareness and grow online communities. Jessica also teaches them how to leverage social media to respond to real-time crisis situations. “Five years ago, there wasn’t an awareness that we even needed in-house dedicated social media management,” Columbo said. “Now slowly, I am seeing the social media point person within the organization having the opportunity to do a lot of training and decentralization of the expertise across the organization.” Dave and Jessica also discuss healthcare brands’ customer service obligations on social media. More and more, customers use social media as a vehicle to provide feedback, positive and negative, or ask questions. How your organization responds to these interactions is crucial. “Most customer service issues are going unanswered. There are plenty of statistics that show when a user tweets out a complaint against your brand or regarding your a brand, they expect a response within 60 minutes or less. We’re not staffed for that appropriately yet,” Columbo said. “We don’t invest in those opportunities to convert dissatisfied customers into brand advocates.” To learn more about the changes in social media and what your brand can do to keep up, listen to our latest...

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How Can Hospitals Use Texting to Improve Patient Care?

How Can Hospitals Use Texting to Improve Patient Care?

When was the last time you talked to your friend? Your mother? Your old college roommate? Now think—did you actually talk to them? In person or on the phone? If you’re like most Americans, you probably conversed with them via text, email or social media. In fact, a recent Gallup poll finds that texting and email are the most frequently used forms of non-personal communication for adult Americans. So is a cellphone, because even when we do use a phone, it’s typically not a landline, the survey reveals. For all Americans under age 50, the survey finds that texting is the most dominant form of communication. Given these changes in our own everyday interactions, why does the healthcare industry insist on sticking with old forms of communication? Healthcare needs to embrace email and text as the preferred and most efficient patient-provider communication methods, just as we have accepted—and really, expected—email and text communication in our daily lives. So far, most attempts to incorporate texting into a healthcare setting have involved simple alerts, such as medication and appointment reminders. While helpful, these messages just scratch the surface of what’s possible. Text alerts like these don’t qualify as dynamic communication; they’re really just one-way, robotic messages. A better way for the healthcare industry to use texting is to guide personal, two-way conversations between patients and providers that engage patients in their care. Hospitals and health systems can push out en masse—and in a targeted, customized way—health information that: builds patients’ knowledge about their health, from pre-care to post-care relieves patients’ anxieties, and sets expectations. This essentially guides patients through their care when they’re not in the hospital or a doctor’s office. Of course, texting that guides patients through their care is different than texting patient-care directives. In December 2016, the Joint Commission updated its recommendations to advise against the use of secure text messaging for patient care orders. Instead, texting should focus on population-based information and patient support—addressing not just health education, but also common anxieties, expectations and shared needs. This will foster connections between patients and their hospitals, improve patient satisfaction and boost the patient experience. Each connection not only guides patients through their episode of care, but also builds their trust in your hospital—and the likelihood they’ll recommend you to their friends and return with their families for future healthcare needs. Texting can also spark other opportunities to interact with patients. Imagine patients letting you know how they’re doing or what their current challenges are. Aggregate this kind of data from your entire patient population and you’ll get a picture of your population health and what your hospital can do to improve outcomes. Healthcare traditionally lags behind on the adoption of new digital technology. Patients are calling (pun intended)...

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