Effective patient engagement strategies are essential in improving the patient experience, especially in the era of healthcare consumerism.

This means implementing technologies and processes that work together to turn fragmented encounters into seamless patient experiences.

In a 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey conducted by Accenture, 39 percent of consumers surveyed believe a good digital interaction has a major influence on the patient experience.

More than a quarter (26%) are even willing to switch to a new provider for high-quality digital services.

With the increasing trend of healthcare consumerism, patients are demanding better access to care and better experiences with their providers.

Healthcare providers that are effective in engaging their patients will far exceed their competitors in driving patient volume and satisfaction.

In this article, we’ll define exactly what patient experience is and break down patient engagement strategies your center can use to stay connected to your patients.

What is the patient experience and why does it matter?

As defined by the Beryl Institute, the patient experience is “the sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perception across the continuum of care.”

Whether it’s a phone call, a hospital visit, a smooth wait time, or the quality of care and the billing experience—all these touchpoints and other small interactions make up the entire patient experience.

Providers need to consider how all these patient interactions work together to set the tone for a positive patient experience.

Patient experiences not only affect patient health, but also have a direct impact on an organization’s bottom line.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself as a provider:

  • How easy or hard is it for patients to get an appointment or to pay their bills?
  • Why do patients hesitate or delay paying their bills?
  • How are your patients being treated by your office staff?

Today, the patient experience is no longer just about the quality of care and healthcare outcomes.

According to a 2020 Waystar survey, more than half (52%) of respondents stated are often more concerned about medical billing than the quality of care they receive.

What are some effective patient engagement strategies?

Patient engagement is the willingness of patients to interact with a healthcare provider voluntarily.

It could be the willingness of a patient to receive education about becoming more healthy or to seek out financing options and payment plans.

For example, a patient ‘liking’ a practice’s Facebook post or checking out the patient portal are types of patient engagements which may have nothing to do with the patient’s health status.

With so many touchpoints, you might wonder what are some of the most effective patient engagement strategies?

    1. Cultivate the provider-patient relationship with human interaction

    Effective patient engagement depends much on the ability of your center to cultivate personal and long-lasting relationships with patients.

    Compassion and empathy are not something patients can get from an AI or an app.

    Having a patient concierge center to assist patients whether they have a concern with their billing or with the quality of care they received ensures that patients leave with a happy experience.

    Having a real person who can connect with patients and treat them with dignity and respect and who may even speak their language will go a long way in building patient loyalty.

      2. Leverage omnichannel patient communication

      Patient communication is the heart of patient engagement. This means providers should embrace new communication channels like online patient portals, email, text messaging platforms, and even social media in a constant effort to keep patients engaged and informed.

        3. Tap into the digital revolution

        In today’s high-tech, high-touch healthcare environment, patients want to be engaged when they want and how they want (email or text).

        Technologies which allow patients to set-up payment plans, make credit card payments, or even apply for financial assistance can help patients feel more in control of the process and educated about their options.

          4. Provide both health & financial education

          Healthcare providers need to reinforce their role to provide patient education both within and beyond their facility – from health matters to financial questions.

          Well-informed patients are more likely to adhere to treatment protocols. Educating patients about their financial obligations and the billing process also helps clear up potential confusion, making it easier for patients to pay their bills.

          Partner with Mnet to improve both your patient financial experience and patient engagement strategies.

          As healthcare consumerism is on the rise, providers would need to be better in engaging their patients as they expect more convenience in ways to pay and better financial experience.

          With Mnet, providers can get ahead in winning and retaining their patients through innovative solutions aligned with their patient engagement strategies.

          Text-to-Pay: Send patient invoices, reminders, collect payments, and provide receipts all via text message. Mnet’s Text-to-Pay platform is designed to deliver all patient financial services — everything from payment in full to pay-plans and financing all neatly offered in a text experience.

          Patient Financial Advocates (Patient Concierge): Get uniquely trained patient financial advocates (PFAs) who can speak the patients’ language (covering 200+ languages and available nights and weekends). PFAs will answer patients’ questions and “educate” them about their financial responsibility, including offering payment plans, financing options, and compliant charity care programs.

          PaySUITE: Get state-of-the-art payment technologies custom-branded to your facility. PaySUITE has everything you need for your patients to pay from online & mobile bill pay, self-help payment plans & financing options, and customer phone support with multi-lingual agents.

          With patients behaving more like consumers than ever before, providers need to demonstrate the value that their patients will receive by choosing them as their provider. Make your facility stand out by partnering with Mnet today!

          About Mnet

          We believe every patient deserves a helpful, transparent, easy-to-navigate financial experience in healthcare.

          Mnet is the premier revenue cycle management & technology provider to the surgical industry. Mnet provides customized patient-pay solutions to surgical hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. Mnet Health partners with over 900 surgical facilities nationwide and is the preferred vendor to the leading ASC management companies in the US both directly with and in support of centralized billing offices.

          Mnet’s tailor-made brand, PaySUITE, is a white-labeled payment technology platform that helps surgical facilities, and their providers grow their business by helping patients pay. Mnet’s patient-pay solutions significantly increase self-pay collections while creating a better financial experience for patients. For more information, visit mnethealth.com.