There’s been a great deal of change for healthcare systems over the last 18 months. But one of the greatest changes has been the ubiquity of telemedicine. The pandemic helped cement telemedicine’s place as a vital part of American healthcare and while patients and doctors alike find a great deal of value in virtual care, what impact does it have on the patient experience? How can caregivers ensure that build lasting relationships with patients through the screen?
These questions and more are addressed in this article published during the pandemic, but even more relevant today as healthcare systems return to normal operations.
Telemedicine has been around for years. For early adaptor health organizations, such as St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Connecticut, virtual services have offered convenient and cost-effective ways of interacting with patients. But in 2020, digital experiences became essential whether a health organization was ready for it or not. As stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements shuddered people in their homes, those that needed medical care the most were unable to attain it without the help of digital services. What does this mean for the evolution of the patient digital experience?
There are signs that digital interactions are here to stay looking at a recent report from the early months of the pandemic. It showed 71 percent of patients considered telemedicine while half had already attended a virtual appointment. When asked what would encourage patients to book a telemedicine appointment in the future, easy-to-use technology topped the list followed by communication.
“The goal is to not only show your immediate value but build a relationship that will continue post-crisis,” said Paige O’Neill, Chief Marketing Officer at Sitecore. “The current situation is giving brands that are ready for this challenge a chance to test the waters and show customers what they can offer.”
How can providers take telemedicine a step further and engage customers in a human-centric way? It’s all about the experience – an experience that’s propelled by content that meets the patient when and where they need it. For St. Vincent’s Medical Center, telemedicine was already offered, but the pandemic gave it new importance.
“When it comes to patient engagement, one of the things we’ve been focused on for a while at Sitecore – even before the pandemic – is the need to create human connections as a key part of digital transformation journeys,” O’Neill said.
Whether delivering more relevant content to customers across your websites, apps, and email or enhancing your services through digital, brands can engage more effectively with patients by making sure they are using customer insights to deliver content that is relevant to their current needs.
“At the end of the day, customers are all human beings,” said O’Neill. “The providers that understand this and adapt customer communications appropriately will make it through, not just this current crisis with better customer relationships, but they will establish lasting and long-term connections with those patients.”
How are you adapting to the COVID patient experience demands? Compare your program here.