WELL: The Digital Front Door in 2021

March 18, 2021 - by Pamela Ellgen


With COVID-19 remaining a real threat even as global recovery is underway, patients expect healthcare providers to ensure constant and immediate delivery of high quality care without compromising their health and safety.

What they find is quite the opposite — cumbersome patient portals, long hold times, and one-way messages from unrecognizable numbers. And few things are scarier than getting an automated voicemail from a random number about a bill you didn’t know you had.

Patients deserve more.

WELL is the last-mile patient communication infrastructure for healthcare that enables your health system to communicate with patients securely across any channel, for a welcoming digital front door.

Make it convenient

Patients can order food or a ride in just a few clicks, but reaching a healthcare provider usually requires a phone call. Confusing phone trees and hold times of 15 minutes or longer ruin the patient experience before it even starts. Part of the problem is that routine calls for appointment rescheduling wait in the same queue as patients with premature contractions and those with a painful injury sustained over the weekend.

Switching from email to texting enhances communication efficiency by as much as 6,000%. On top of this, the majority of healthcare consumers have voiced their preference for texting when communicating with their providers. 75% of millennials opt to receive appointment reminders via text while 64% of consumers will use text over voice when reaching out to brands.

Simple communications should be handled by text with automated responses. This reduces call volume, so the patients who do call in can actually reach you. And it frees up staff to care for patients who truly need the attention.

Make it easy

If the low adoption rate of patient portals is any indication, patients don’t want to download another app and memorize another password. In fact, nearly 60% of healthcare consumers want critical communication functions fully built in into their mobile device and not as separate applications.

But they are texting. WELL enables communication through a patient’s preferred medium as marked in the EHR: text, email, or phone. When the message comes directly to a patient’s phone in a medium they’re already using, they’re going to see it and respond.

Make it clear

Patients may receive as many as six different messages for a single appointment: confirmation, reminders, intake forms, billing, and surveys. Each comes from a separate number, one that patients might not recognize much less trust.

WELL unites all communication from your health system and third-party vendors into one seamless conversation. Merge multiple messages into one. For example, an appointment reminder message should include a link to intake forms. And, all of the messages should come from your practice line, a number patients likely already have in their phone.

Give patients a voice

Medical appointments are getting shorter and shorter. Providers are known to interrupt patients after a mere 11 seconds.

More than anything, patients want to feel heard, particularly in this pandemic climate where patient expectations have elevated.

When patients engage with their providers and involve themselves in their healthcare plans, the chance of a positive health outcome increases drastically. 48% of patients cited engagement efforts by providers as impactful to their quality of their outcomes.

When you’re developing your digital front door, ensure it enables conversational texting. Essentially, patients can respond to messages and initiate conversation with your health system. This opens another avenue for communication. And it sends the message that you really want to hear from your patients.

WELL integrates with digital survey vendors, such as Calibrater Health. It sends patient surveys through WELL to gather feedback in real time, from the practice number, and provide context for the responses. That means, when patients send a positive survey, it’s easy to correlate it with the positive interactions they had with staff before and after the appointment.

Be there before your patient even arrives

When patients are searching for a provider, deliver a concierge experience through your website. Live chat is another element of your digital front door strategy, allowing prospective patients a chance to ask questions and learn more about your health system. Automated responses can handle routine queries. Staff can chime in anytime.

Before we were WELL, we were patients

Changing the patient experience is at the heart of our mission. Learn how WELL has helped our clients transform patient experience in your health system by visiting our case studies page. ♥

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