When in-person care is suspended, staying connected with the patients during such challenging times requires providers to adopt new ways of communication.
As we dwell in times of uncertainty, connectivity, and communication remain the key to our survival. We text, post messages over social media or chat to connect with our peers, friends, and family. Patients and providers are no exception when it comes to staying connected in the electronic communication world.
The patient community is increasingly becoming tech-savvy, even the seniors. According to the AARP survey, 83 percent of patients between 50 and 64 had access to smartphones, and 91 percent routinely used computers. Similarly, 94 percent of respondents over 50 years of age used technology to text or email someone every day. Hence, the findings do away with the stereotype that older consumers are not technologically sound.
Here are three ways you can keep connected with your patients during critical times, such as the coronavirus pandemic:
EHR-integrated patient portals allow two-way real-time communication between the providers and the patients. They essentially use email accounts to facilitate the communication process. These portals act as the gateway to reduce routine phone calls, cutting out on long wait hours to see the provider. Moreover, patients can take control of various tasks, such as appointment scheduling and filling medication refill requests. This significantly reduces the amount of front desk burden while empowering the patients to take charge of their health.
Emails and Electronic Newsletters
Emails offer an instant pathway to reach out to patients for longer messages. This is a cheaper alternative to direct mail, with better engagement prospects. Providers can share important announcements about new service offerings, any new office policy, change in office hours, or any other important piece of information. Especially during critical times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, providers can use email messages to keep their patients informed about how to stay safe from the coronavirus. Interestingly, EHRs have a built-in email feature that maintains a diligent email list of all patients. Hence, email messages can easily be shared with the patient base with ease and in no time.
Electronic newsletters can also be sent out through emails to stay in touch with the patients. These e-newsletters may contain the latest information about office closures, updates on the public health crisis, and uplifting and inspiring stories to keep the patients well-informed. Dedicated COVID-19 e-newsletters are a powerful tool to communicate with the patients during the current pandemic.
Active Website with Engaging Content
It is critical to maintaining an online presence with an active, live website. Providers can identify your patients’ concerns and respond to their worries over their website. They can share important information with their patients, such as updated office hours during the pandemic, contact information, and any guidance on what safety measures are being taken at the practice to ensure safeguarding from the coronavirus. It is advised that the providers should consistently update their websites to optimize their rankings on search engines. This will act as a powerful tool to attract new patients while keeping the existing patients well-informed about the practice policies and procedures.
The providers should also share engaging content over their website to keep their patients informed about important information. This might be in the form of:
- A blog post with essential tips on keeping safe during the pandemic
- A short demonstration video on proper hygiene habits to stay safe from the coronavirus
- Advice for maintaining a healthy self-care routine to protect from the virus
The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed many aspects of everyday life, and healthcare is no exception. When in-person care is suspended, staying connected with the patients during such challenging times requires providers to adopt new ways of communication. From boosting the practice’s online presence to sending maintain active patient portals and sending out e-newsletters, staying virtually connected with the patients will help keep their trust and confidence. This will prove immensely beneficial once business returns to normal.