Keeping Patient Engagement Going: Tips for Staying in Touch with Your Patients
Dayton, Ohio – Whether you run a healthcare facility or a private practice, staying in touch with your patients is important. Fostering patient engagement is akin to keeping a houseplant healthy. Give it the attention it needs and it will become strong and vigorous. Forget to water it, and it won’t be long before its leaves start drooping.
Using that analogy, here are seven ways to keep your connection with patients strong and viable. Let’s start with your website. While it may have the basics—information, forms, and profiles—a few extra resources can encourage visitors to engage longer.
Health tips, as blog posts or downloadable pdfs, will establish you as a thought leader and expert in your field. They’ll also provide visitors with useful advice. Guide visitors with calls-to-action (CTA) on your home page, scheduling information and links to your social media channels.
Mobile apps can further enhance the patient relationship. HealthIntelligence.com notes they make it easier for providers and patients to communicate. They also offer the ability to personalize healthcare to each patient. (The National Conference of State Legislatures has information about state coverage for telehealth services, which includes mobile apps.)
What do patients want in their mobile app? According to FierceHealthcare.com, the top preference is for interactivity. They desire medication and appointment reminders and post-discharge instructions. That’s followed by the ability to find and access the closest emergency services.
Integrate Video For Easier Engagement
Incorporating videos on your site is a way to provide visitors with information via a visual medium. Video interviews with care team members or department/treatment rooms “tours,” offer a behind-the-scenes look. It personalizes the connection in a way that straight text can’t.
… And Emails For Consistent Touches
Moving beyond your website, use emails to reach out to your existing patient base. Delivering updates, surveys, and personalized messages (e.g. birthday wishes, thank-you notes, etc) is a great way to stay in touch. Emailed reminders can alert patients to an upcoming appointment or that a health test needs scheduled. They can even serve as a “We miss you” type of message. As AMEDnews.com points out in its “6 tips for marketing a practice outside social media,” “Attracting patients to a practice is sometimes less about persuading new ones to come in but more about reminding established ones to return.”
Emails are worth the effort to compose and send. That’s because the mean open rate for hospitals, healthcare and biotech brands exceeds the average of 21.5%. That’s according to the IBM 2016 Email Marketing Benchmark Study. But make sure your emails are easy to read across all devices, since this industry has the second-highest mobile readership (55%).
When it comes to social media, the first step is to make it easy for your patients to find you on the channels where you have a presence and encourage them to follow you. The simplest and most effective way is via social share buttons on your website pages that take your visitor right to your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts.
Be Where Your Patients Are
What channels should you consider? While a 2015 Pew Research Center study showed an increase in user engagement compared to 2014 for Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, Facebook remained the most popular social media site, with 72% of online adults Facebook users, amounting to 62% of all American adults. LinkedIn is one of the most useful for healthcare professionals, according to Medical News Today article, since profiles on that site get the highest rankings—useful for offsetting negative news or physician rating sites.
As for those videos you’re creating, posting them on your YouTube channel can’t be beat. Include a link back to your practice website as well as to your other social media accounts, and monitor the popularity of your videos to determine which ones resonate with your viewers.
After all the talk of digital and social media tools, face-to-face interaction may seem old school. But interacting with patients via public and facility events is always a meaningful and impactful engagement.
Get Out Into the Community
A facility open house, perhaps incorporating a brief presentation or minor health screenings such as blood pressure checks, can show established patients that you appreciate them while introducing potential patients to your staff, according to AMEDnews.com. An open house can be especially useful if you have changed location or added new services or equipment.
Presentations at community or business organizations are another effective way of increasing your connection. This is especially true if the invitation comes from one of your patients in the form of a referral. Choose topics that fit the audience demographics and concerns. Provide handouts that include not only your practice or facility information but also useful health-oriented take-aways.
The goal with these activities is to increase your engagement with your patients and potentially encourage them to become brand ambassadors for your practice.
Enlist a healthcare marketing team for help
If you need assistance in developing a mobile healthcare app, newsletter or other form of patient engagement, B63 can help. We are experts in creating and integrating all the elements for a patient-centric site as well as developing strategic messaging, public relations and brand management for practices, hospitals, and networks. An EDGE-certified, woman-owned business, B63 provides strategically focused creative solutions with a sharp eye on metrics and ROI.
Call us today at 937.490.4000 for more information or CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation.