Future-Proofing Your Healthcare Organization by Delivering an End-to-End Digital Experience
June 3, 2022
Many healthcare organizations have undergone – or are in the process of undergoing – digital transformation, and if your organization is too, that’s great. If you were already digitizing prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization likely had the advantage over competitors. With an evolving landscape, the impacts and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and resource constraints being felt across the healthcare industry, it is important for behavioral health organizations to adapt and future-proof their businesses for this new reality. In this article, we’ll cover what’s coming and how you can position your business for sustainability and growth, while staying ahead of the curve.
Before diving into strategies, tactics, and solutions for sustainability and growth, let’s map out the steps within a holistic patient journey. The model shared below might differ from yours, however you can easily replace some steps in the process with your own.
We’ve broken down the patient journey into 8 steps, which we will delve into further detail in the sections that follow:
- Search (for services)
- Make contact
This part of the patient journey is typically one that organizations already invest heavily in, whether it’s search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), and now social media marketing (SMM). The goals here are to reduce cost per click (CPC), reach more patients, find patients seeking care and try to manage attribution of channels. At Botco.ai, we believe this to be an important part of the patient journey, integral to the acquisition process and one which organizations should invest in to remain accessible on the platforms where their patients are. For most, this means Facebook and Instagram; however, accessibility and discoverability goes beyond that. Organizations can benefit from continuing to advertise their services through messaging apps like Messenger and Instagram DMs. Patients spend more time on messaging apps, which means they’re likely to find you there.
Making a good first impression is also key. You’ve now spent considerable time and money acquiring a patient, and now it’s time to make the most out of it. This is where there is considerable opportunity as many healthcare organizations focus primarily on channel acquisition and less so on conversion. It does require a different set of skills – including but not limited to paid advertising and media, conversion rate optimization (CRO), etc. – but there are technologies that can help. Having a website with a generic homepage won’t cut it, especially when competitors have accumulated location, interest, and other data and are using it to personalize each visitor’s experience. We like to call this part your “digital front door”. When the visitor opens the door, they’re expecting content relevant to their intent, interests, or needs. Some patients know exactly what they’re looking for, while others may want to browse around, and some may want to ask questions. Therefore, an important question to ask is “does your company enable all types of visitors to find the specific information they need?” Some organizations have decided to create campaign landing pages that match the keyword search or ad the patient initially sees or is targeted by, which is a great way to meet the needs of a patient. That said, these types of campaigns and efforts can take quite a bit of resources to execute effectively.
At Botco.ai, we help organizations meet the needs of visitors and patients who have one question as well as those who have countless questions. We recognize that most healthcare organizations don’t have the staff to answer questions 24/7 and the flexibility to staff based on real-time demand. Our conversational AI helps with just that. It answers questions, guides the user through the desired journey, automates workflows, qualifies the visitor, creates a lead in your system of record, and does so any time of the day.
Here is an example of an automation Botco.ai has developed for verification of benefits:
You can read more about real-time insurance verification in this storyboard we created.
Automating some or most of your first interactions with your visitor is key to answering an increasing demand for your healthcare services and lets staff focus on higher level tasks like onboarding new patients and delivering care.
Botco.ai also has a referral code feature which allows healthcare organizations to customize their chat greeting and the chat flow options for specific landing pages. The chat flow takes about 2 minutes to customize and organizations can do it without needing to engage their marketing or development agency. It’s really simple but a very effective means to customizing the experience and making your chat’s messaging consistent with your landing page’s messaging.
Here’s an example Botco.ai configured for Massage Envy on their membership page:
MassageEnvy has a dedicated membership page and they wanted to have a unique CTA customized for the page.
This phase of the patient journey is another great opportunity to delight your patients. How many times have you filled out a paper form that a medical secretary has handed you? Too many times. Why not collect this information online, ahead of time, and as a result reduce the time spent waiting before the appointment? This is a great way to leverage conversational AI to collect information but also answer questions the patient might have at this stage.
Once the top of your funnel (the Search and Making Contact phases of the patient journey) are digitized, there are ways to make this phase of the patient journey more meaningful and impactful. When the Search and Making Contact phases of the patient journey are optimized, your visitor’s data collection is communicated seamlessly with your system of record and updated for your admissions team. Your conversational AI/ AI chatbot can capture the appointment in real-time. A calendar integration can easily find a slot for their appointment. No need for the patient to wait on hold while your front desk staff struggles to answer a barrage of phone calls. No more questions like “Do you have an appointment?” upon a patient’s arrival. Also, if your front desk is focused on greeting and other administrative tasks other than responding to calls, chats, and emails, then they can focus on the patients in front of them and help to enhance the overall patient experience.
This part of the patient journey – the delivery of services – was the one that most organizations were not prepared to pivot virtually when COVID hit. For many behavioral health organizations, the idea of digitizing their services might not have been on the roadmap yet. While Botco.ai focuses on the patient intake and acquisition phase of the patient journey, we have a number of partners that can help and specialize in this phase – the delivery of healthcare services. OnCall Health is one such company, and a trusted partner of Botco.ai. OnCall Health (OnCall) is an end-to-end telehealth operations platform, purpose-built for behavioral health organizations. With OnCall, organizations can launch and scale their virtual care operations while growing revenue with tools that increase operational efficiency, optimize the delivery of care, and enhance the patient experience. OnCall’s workflow automation tools, such as direct insurance billing and API integrations, make it easy for healthcare providers and administrators to deliver virtual care by increasing efficiency through every program workflow. OnCall enables organizations to engage with patients in new ways, through a patient-facing portal, a digital-first admissions and booking experience, and asynchronous care tools. With OnCall, providers can consistently and securely connect with patients where they are and at any time, increasing compliance and program completion rates. Ultimately, OnCall’s solution offers the modern and efficient virtual care experience that patients and providers expect, helping organizations retain more patients, scale efficiently, and increase revenue.
The discharge phase of the patient journey is too often overlooked because, as those providing and delivering care, we assume that all knowledge shared with the patient was understood, processed, and absorbed. This is not always the case, with oftentimes only a small proportion of clinical information absorbed, and can lead to confusion and frustration for the patient on understanding next steps. The patient then tries to re-engage with their healthcare provider and oftentimes can get frustrated when they has to wait on hold. This whole process can be optimized, and oftentimes avoided altogether. A summary of care can be automatically sent via a messaging platform using notes in the system of record (i.e. the electronic medical record) and patient information. For instance, organizations can send a secure SMS message or an email to the patient 12-24 hours after their visit summarizing their experience and the next steps. That would be nice, right? It definitely would add value to your patient’s experience and ensure they are equipped with the information and next steps discussed during their visit. If they have been prescribed medication, one option to enhance the patient experience is to explain its use, side effects, and other pertinent information in detail using a chatbot. Botco.ai can help you create a chatbot that is available to patients that can answer questions about their prescription and the AI solution can be trained with knowledge from the experts, making instant answers available post-appointment.
This part of the patient journey is usually handled fairly well by healthcare organizations; that said, this phase can oftentimes be costly, from a resourcing and time perspective. Calling patients one-by-one, especially to have them book a new appointment to see a clinician for 5-15min, is not the best use of anyone’s time. Similar to the discharge phase, it is possible to schedule appointments using a chatbot and to book a virtual visit for patients from the comfort of their own home. All too often these follow-up visits are checkups, so using a powerful and secure video conferencing platform, such as OnCall, can significantly reduce the administrative burden of scheduling while maximizing care effectiveness through virtual visits . OnCall enables healthcare providers to see clients virtually and and improved health outcomes via an end-to-end telehealth operations and patient engagement platform. This kind of digitization and optimization can help to ensure continuity of care, improve the patient experience, and streamline processes related to this phase of the patient journey.
To summarize, there are a number of ways to future-proof and streamline care processes that can help healthcare organizations to support the patient throughout their care journey. Here are some key considerations as you continue to deliver high quality care, grow your business, and future-proof your organization in this evolving healthcare landscape:
- Be present on all important patient channels, including messaging
- Customize the first contact experience by adding a conversational AI to answer questions and guide patients
- Leverage conversational AI to collect additional information to streamline pre-services
- Leverage the data collected in previous steps in order to personalize and take care of your patients in your center
- Provide a fully remote alternative to your traditional service delivery models as a means to accommodate patients that want to consult with a healthcare provider from the comfort of their own home
- Automate aspects of the discharge process to keep the patient informed on their visit
- Work with your technology partners to identify ways to digitize the follow-up process to reduce inefficiencies and enhance the experience for patients and providers.
If you would like to learn more or explore any of these considerations in further detail, or are interested in better understanding how to navigate through different forms of digitization, please reach out to the team at Botco.ai or OnCall Health. Botco.ai and OnCall Health would be thrilled to help you and your business make the most out of your digital front door and future proof your organization.