In the complex world of healthcare, concerns about costs, reimbursement, HIPAA, quality of care and what the patient wants can fall through the cracks. 
 
And what do patients most want from their healthcare providers? Do they have a preference for how they access their health information and connect to medical staff? Would they be willing to pay extra for different options? And would more robust communications solutions – such as cloud communications – add value and profit to the provider’s bottom line?
 

More interaction choices mean more revenue

 
McKinsey & Company recently asked 2,000 German and Swiss health insurance customers about the ways they most want to interact with their insurance companies. The choices are many, and the need to identify the most cost-effective is crucial for the industry. For healthcare executives, the report’s findings are eye-opening:
 
  1. In general, customers said they were willing to pay higher premiums for more ways to interact. Notably, those higher premiums exceeded the cost of providing those additional channel choices. 
  2. Consumer preference rose 40 percent when a “professional interaction partner,” and both digital and traditional interactions, were added to a basic low-cost product offering limited coverage.
  3. Many consumers don’t value the traditional, on-site, live interactions that many organizations assume they want most. McKinsey advises evaluating your customer base and shifting to more “cutting-edge” digital options, or upgrading your contact centers. It’s a good way to reduce costs while meeting the real desires of your patients.
  4. McKinsey concludes that “firms should be able to charge significant premiums by offering a large choice of interactions. Companies should be confident enough to charge for them explicitly, even in today’s competitive environment.”
 
These findings clearly suggest that deploying a cloud communications solution to enhance patient interaction has tangible business value. How can healthcare organizations maximize such an investment? Consider these possibilities.
 

Connecting patients and clinicians for better clinical outcomes 

 
If not done properly, helping patients communicate with their healthcare providers can look a little like handing off a baton in sprint relay — when the runners are yards apart.
 
Anything that delays or obstructs those connections can result in patients choosing different healthcare providers. The cloud helps by facilitating conversations between both patients and their providers and between physicians conferring about the patient.
 
  • Cloud-based contact centers and presence technology enable staff to connect patients to medical professionals efficiently and quickly. Likewise, doctors and nurses can prioritize the most critical patient inquiries more easily.
  • While most patient portals enable patients to send emails to their healthcare providers, a cloud-based system streamlines the process. Patients can use click-to-chat and click-to-call when a matter is urgent. With click-to-chat, patients click an icon to initiate a chat session with an assigned nurse agent. With click-to-call, patients who prefer traditional voice communications enter a callback number where they can be reached quickly.
  • Integrated voice and chat capabilities enable physicians and nurses to meet the patient’s needs more promptly by providing them with faster access to records, information and appropriate specialists.
 
Providing more efficient communications options for healthcare consumers can mean the difference between keeping or losing patient loyalty. At stake is not just revenue from hospital-based services, but revenue from all the physicians and healthcare professionals connected to that system as well. 

 


Do you know how to look for a new healthcare communications system? Find out the most important topics and questions with our guide. >


 

Patient satisfaction and self-management

 
Online banking, trip planning and shopping have revolutionized the financial and retail industries. Now, consumers demand more ways to manage their own healthcare choices and costs. Mobile apps that allow self-monitoring of vitals, exercise and diet are ubiquitous. This environment, too, demands smooth, seamless healthcare communications. 
 
Is your patient portal up to the challenge? Cloud-based communications delivers enhanced portal features to help you maintain the 5 percent patient portal utilization threshold required to meet Stage 2 of the meaningful use incentive program.
 
Self-serve. Customers who transfer money with a smartphone in minutes will expect the same level of self-service from their healthcare providers. With cloud communications, patients can make online bill payments (which improves accounts receivables) using web portals with telephony features.
 
Patient satisfaction and follow up. Can your patient portal help ensure that patients follow discharge orders, attend post-discharge appointments and engage in other post-treatment activities? A cloud-based communications solution automates these processes as well as the management of Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys and other confidential post-discharge actions.
 
Cloud communications offers your customers a wide range of interaction options – voice, SMS, video, email, web – all so you meet their needs. What’s more, it can help you bring in more revenue overall. That’s a calculation no healthcare executive can afford to ignore.
 

Digital transformation has become a top initiative for business and IT leaders. In today’s business world, sustainable market leadership is no longer based solely on which company has the best products or even the best people. Instead, organizations that are agile and can quickly adapt to rapidly evolving market trends will become market leaders.

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