When It Comes to Engaging Patients, Keep it Simple.

Article, Patient-Centered Engagement

Why does it have to be so difficult? Healthcare tech, that is.

This was the topic of a recent conversation between Relatient CEO, Michele Perry, and disrupTV. In other words, if consumers can purchase everything from water balloons to flat-screen TV’s with one-click ordering, why is it so hard to make an appointment or pay a doctor’s bill?

When asked about using technology to interact with patients, Michele says, “it doesn’t have to be sexy technology, keep it simple…”

Well said, Michele.

While we love shiny tech and a beautiful app as much as anyone else, at Relatient we’ve learned patients just want a simple way to communicate with their healthcare providers using technology they already know and use—their phones. Whether a patient prefers voice, email, or text—they are doing it from a phone.

Watch the interview

Apps and Portals Are Overhyped

It’s tempting to look at tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, and LinkedIn and think, “Yea. We just need to build something like that”. And while patients are applying an increasingly consumer mindset to healthcare, courtesy of higher deductibles and copays, the same approaches won’t work in this space. Healthcare isn’t something we want to think about every day, so we need to

RIP Patient Portals?

Not so fast. Michele says portals are an essential piece to Meaningful Use and for that reason, they are here to stay. They house in-depth patient information and offer patients the ability to be better informed about their care and the ongoing management of chronic conditions. That said, portals are clunky and rarely offer the real-time access patients want for simple tasks like changing appointment times or paying their balance.

Michele shared a personal example, “Last month I had an appointment and forgot the date, I created a password for the portal and when I logged in the appointment hadn’t been added. I couldn’t even find my directions for the appointment.”

She went on to explain that Relatient’s goal is to make it easy for patients and practices by removing the obstacles between a patient and provider, “our goal is to be invisible” she says. Relatient does this by automating communication for providers behind-the-scenes so that patient’s get exactly what they need from their provider, when they need it to take the next step.  It’s simple, but it just works — from helping patients get to their appointment, making it easier to pay, and following-up. Keep it simple.

This is clearly seen when a patient has a balance. Relatient sends a text message on behalf of the provider, with a link that is specific to the patient so that they don’ have to create an account. With the link they can view the bill and dates of service and if they have ever made a payment before, their card is on file, so they just select the card and click pay. No username, no password, no paper statements, and no checks needed. Read how one practice used this to collect over $160,000 in patient payments using email and text within 3 months.

disrupTV is a web series hosting a new set of leaders each week that share their thoughts and experiences in leadership, innovation, and disruption. Watch Michele’s interview with them here.

Make text, email and voice an integral part of your patient engagement.