Healthcare consumers are demanding more transparency in their care. A survey of 400 healthcare providers and 1,000 U.S. consumers found that both providers and consumers agree that better communication leads to improved health outcomes. Additionally, according to healthcare research, 83% of consumers now want their healthcare to be coordinated between providers, and 92% want to have a more convenient healthcare experience.
Of all the things you can do to boost your practice, it’s clear that communication is among the most important. Patients and clients of veterinarians, dentists, and chiropractors appreciate good communication and helpful interactions such as appointment reminders, clear-cut costs, and explanations of treatment. All these forms of communication lead to improved personalized services that result in brand loyalty, customer retention, and referrals.
What Healthcare Communication Tools Can Provide
Whether you’re working in a public health office, medical provider’s office, dental office, or as a veterinarian, there is one truth: Healthcare professionals must be good communicators. Poor communication may lead to misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Miscommunication leads to:
- Neglect of follow-up instructions
- Poor patient outcomes
- Patient injuries
- A lack of informed consent
- Legal and regulatory issues
- Mistrust in the health system
Health communication tools allow healthcare providers to have the most effective interactions with their patients and meet their expectations. In fact, 71 percent of consumers agree they want customized alerts and reminders about checkups and screenings. As for providers, 68 percent state that being able to coordinate with other providers easily had a moderate-to-high impact on reaching the desired patient outcomes.
From internal communications to clinical transmissions between offices, healthcare providers benefit from the use of healthcare communication tools, including:
- Simpler handovers between providers
- Clear workflows
- Automated scheduling
- Automated alerts
- Mass communication options
- Direct line of contact with patients
- Seamless colleague collaboration
Those are just some of the uses your office could harness. Whether you’re handling internal communication, patient-centered communication, nurse-to-physician (staff-to-physician) communication, or another type, the right tools make it easier for everyone to work together for the best patient outcomes.
The Best Communication Tools to Implement in Your Practice
While there are almost an unlimited number of tools you could implement in your practice, good patient communication software improves patient care and the patient experience while helping a provider get more done. Here are five of the most common options to consider.
Patient portals create a secure way for patients to reach out to your healthcare facility at any time. They can also use a range of self-service tools, allowing them access to their medical records, scheduled appointments, lab results, and online bill pay. Patient portals also give patients a direct line to your office without having to book an appointment.
This communication tool also helps you monitor your patient health information. If you notice fewer people logging in, you can focus on reaching out to them. This action improves patient safety and helps minimize poor communication issues that lead to people leaving your healthcare practice.
While this is not a high-tech communication tool, it is one that you should implement as a member of the healthcare industry. In your office, having signage can help patients learn more about your office and procedures. Pamphlets about care options, financing, and office locations give patients the information they need without having to discuss those issues with staff. In turn, your staff saves time and energy on commonly asked questions or concerns.
Office signage also encourages patients to check out their patient portals or to become familiar with other ways of communicating with the office, such as through telehealth or text messaging services.
Telehealth Healthcare Communication Tools
Telehealth connects patients and providers across a distance. It makes healthcare more accessible to those in rural areas, people who don’t have time to drive to an office due to work or school, and people who cannot leave home. With remote options becoming more readily available, 37% of adult Americans surveyed actually prefer this type of communication as opposed to being seen in person.
Telehealth can be completed during a phone call, over an app, or on a computer, making it an easier way to connect with people who have access to different forms of technology.
Often, your healthcare organization will have instructions for your patients to follow when they leave your office. You might have follow-up instructions for patients who had minor surgeries or exercise instructions for those with injuries or who are in physical therapy.
Out of all the communication methods discussed here, instructional videos are the ones that give you a clear way to explain exactly what they need to do between appointments. And the best part? Patients can look back on that video at any time, giving them a chance to become better educated in their recovery.
- Enhance your discharge notes, supplementing the paperwork or verbal instructions you send with your patients
- Simplify topics increasing health literacy
- Save you time, allowing patients to learn at home while you perform necessary human services in person
- Improve patient satisfaction
Remember, not all people learn the same way. Video helps you reinforce patient understanding of the information, ideally leading to better outcomes.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
CRM tools can also be used as healthcare relationship management tools. These management systems help with three things: sales, service, and marketing.
Out of all the communication strategies, this is the only one focused on bringing in new clients, marketing to your target audience, and improving your service for a higher return on investment (ROI).
CRMs can also include other types of telehealth software. This means you may need a CRM if you plan to use telehealth services to connect with your patients. It serves as a platform for all your digital communication tools, medical record data, care team information, and more.
CRM best practices include:
- Choosing a CRM that suits your office’s needs
- Creating a CRM implementation plan
- Customizing the CRM
- Setting defined CRM goals
- Focusing on data integrity
- Automating repetitive tasks
- Training staff
- Leveraging CRM reports to improve your ROI
- Creating an exceptional customer experience with improved data-driven insights
Overall, a CRM helps you control all aspects of marketing and service communications so your patients feel confident coming to you for care.
Improve Your Communication Efforts With Scorpion
From helping staff save time to teaching your patients new information, communication tools are a great way to stay in touch with your patients and healthcare partners while maximizing your efforts as healthcare workers.
At Scorpion, we partner with dentists, veterinarians, chiropractors, and other healthcare providers to help them market to and manage their customers. We offer a full platform of tools, including CRM, CMS, LiveChat, Payment Processing, Ad Buying, and Website Management. Let us help you build brand loyalty and improve your practice with the right communication tools. Visit us today to learn more.