Realizing the full effect of digital tools requires changing the way we work and changing the way we work requires an increase in patient volume. Here are the steps you need to take to increase your digital patient volume.
A common mistake when implementing a digital platform is initially having insufficient patient volumes. If from the start only a small number of patients use the digital solution, it takes longer to establish new ways of working, simply because they are not needed. It will then be very difficult to realize efficiency gains from digitalization because resources cannot be reallocated to the digital flow.
As a result, increasing patient volume is the key to adopting new working methods and to realizing other benefits, such as efficient resource utilization. At the same time, it is important that those patients who initially engage with the digital service have a positive experience and thus incentive to return.
Change journey for both health care providers and patients
Start with a few committed pilot providers with high patient volumes and engage patients to ensure that the person meeting these initial patients are well trained and motivated to adopt the new tools. Focus right from the start on efforts that motivate patients to access the digital flow from the providers that offer it. With a sufficiently large volume of patients, these providers will have the opportunity to develop effective working methods, which in the next stage can be shared with other providers.
Using digital healthcare is change journey for personnel, but also for the community, and change management efforts must also be directed towards them. This entails internally-focused communication efforts, in addition to communication towards the community citizens with the aim of creating awareness, changing behavior and demonstrating the benefits of the digital entryway.
Through our experience of implementing solutions with our customers, we have identified several successful concrete steps to convert patients from traditional paths of healthcare system entry to digital entries.
Strategy to create patient volume
To increase patient volume, you need a strategy. We recommend modeling the work to increase patient volumes in digital entryways based on the following steps:
1. Identify motivated providers that drive patient volume
Initially deploy providers with evident commitment and large volume. Motivate patients in the appropriate target group to choose the digital entrance as the first choice.
2. Deliver an excellent patient experience and make the service attractive
Identify employees who understand the purpose of and want to use the platform, and ensure that work flow and new working methods are firmly established with the users.
Ensure that the interface is easy for the patient to understand and adapted for different target groups, and offer increased accessibility, for example by providing the opportunity to queue during off-hours so they can receive service the following day. Also, maintain expedient service in the chat. If patients are satisfied, then they will use the service again.
3. Guide the patient to access healthcare digitally
Digital access points are new, so healthcare organizations need to educate the patients, demonstrate the benefits and emphasize the advantages over phone calls and waiting rooms. Provide information about the digital entryway through channels that the patient already uses to contact healthcare providers, such as the telephone and website. Enable SMS links via the voice response system to increase the number of cases using the digital system.
Also, identify which services and work flows increase digital volume and secure accessibility of critical providers via opening hours and clear links on the website.
4. Measure and follow up
Evaluate, measure and follow up on patient satisfaction and the number of digital cases. Identify which patient groups you reach out to and where there is potential to increase volume further. Tailor communication and interventions to target groups with lower digital coverage. Evaluate and adjust working methods and reapply acquired knowledge to increase volume and scale up the operations of all the healthcare providers. Learn from and be inspired by those who have gone before.
Implementing digital services requires thought, but the benefits of an efficient digital platform are enormous, and, properly implemented, they become visible after only a short period of time.