Patient engagement tools are rapidly expanding. When they are implemented correctly, these solutions can offer significant benefits—improving outcomes, reducing costs, and increasing patient engagement. In an ever-expanding world of options, how do you choose the right patient engagement solution for your ASC?


Are apps the best option?

In the last decades, an explosion of technology means that more and more people rely on their pocket-sized computers, or smartphones, for research, scheduling, and communication. It seems natural that software companies would shift to app-based products.

But do apps have downsides? Notably, many patients are resistant or forgetful to download yet another app. Instead, consider finding ways to reach patients on their smartphones without relying on them to make a download decision. Texting and emailing are better solutions, in particular for reaching the senior population. Many older patients consistently use their smartphones, but find it easier to communicate over text message or email than navigating a new app.

Automate personalized messages without relying on user input

Another downside of many app-based products is a reliance on users inputting their information to trigger communication. Look for a software solution that can automate messages without relying on patient responses.

For example, some products can integrate directly with the patient’s medical record. This allows for automated yet personalized messages specific to the patient’s needs or upcoming appointment. For example, you can send patients reminders of when to stop taking a medication before surgery or resend information about when to drink their prep drink before a colonoscopy.

Cast a wider net of communication

By not limiting your patient engagement tool to apps, you will reach a broader range of patients. Depending on the patient population, some may engage more with text messages, while others may check email faithfully. Using a combination of different communication strategies ensures that you reach as many patients as possible with the necessary information.

Use multiple media forms

Excellent patient engagement requires us to consider all learning types. While some people may remember all pertinent information from an email, others may need additional reinforcement.

Consider how using video messaging could enhance your patient engagement. Employing multiple forms of media over multiple communication touch-points helps you reach a wider array of patients. When patients are getting pre-op information promptly, the result is a decrease in no-shows or cancellations and an increase in patient satisfaction.

Before choosing a patient engagement tool, ask yourself:

  • Am I limiting myself with only app-based communication tools?

  • Can I push out personalized messaging without relying on the patient to input data?

  • How many forms of communication am I employing?

  • How many modes of media can I use?

In an industry that’s shifting ever closer to value-based care, ASCs must consider how to engage patients throughout an entire episode of care—from before they step foot in your facility through their recovery. Better patient access = better patient engagement, which improves both outcomes and satisfaction results.

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