Communication in Healthcare: Options are NOT Optional

A clipboard, medicines, and steth indicating HIPAA compliant messaging and SMS texting

A 2023 survey of patients’ communication preferences

  • Over 81% reported that their communication expectations have changed since COVID-19 began.
  • 41% will switch if their healthcare providers don’t offer texting as a communication option
  • Over 56% feel comfortable sharing protected health information over text
  • Over 71% feel more comfortable receiving telehealth care from healthcare providers now than before COVID-19
Is your practice or patient engagement platform taking steps to keep up?

Are you working to…

  • Reset your patient communication strategy?
  • Improve health outcomes for patients?
  • Build lasting patient loyalty and reduce patient churn?

Not yet? Here’s how you get up to speed.

Related

2023 Patient communication preferences report

View resource

Patient communication preferences: the big picture

The patient-turned-consumer is far from a COVID-19 relic. The multi-channel communication experience they expect from their healthcare and patient engagement platform providers is highly nuanced. In our survey:

While phone calls remained the most preferred channel for to-and-fro communications with providers, texting emerged as the mean most preferred channel for relaying bite-sized information. 

Patient preferences varied greatly by use case and showed a notable shift carrying over from COVID-19. The survey showed that there is no one-channel-fits-all strategy for communication in healthcare. 

So, how do you keep up? First, by understanding channel preferences. 

Channel preferences by use case

One thing was clear from the survey. Patients value convenience and ease of accessibility at every point of their care cycle and are no longer interested in jumping hoops to meet their needs. If it helps them get connected to the required healthcare context fast and with minimum effort, they will take it. 

Here’s what they voted as their top two channel preferences for the most common use cases.

Preventive care remindersAppointment reminders/notificationsAppointment confirmation by patientAppointment changes by patient
πŸ† Text/SMS
πŸ₯ˆ Phone call
πŸ† Text/SMS
πŸ₯ˆ Phone call
πŸ† Text/SMS
πŸ₯ˆ Phone call
πŸ† Phone call
πŸ₯ˆ Text/SMS
Test result notificationRequesting prescription refillsReceiving prescription updatesReceiving pre-appointment intake forms
πŸ† Phone call
πŸ₯ˆ Text/SMS
πŸ† Text/SMS
πŸ₯ˆ Phone call
πŸ† Text/SMS
πŸ₯ˆ Phone call
πŸ† Email
πŸ₯ˆ Text/SMS

Higher-income groups were more adaptive to online apps for use cases like appointment confirmation and requesting prescription refills. 

So how do you accommodate all these communication preferences in healthcare and adapt to the emerging preferences? 

This one is easy.

Build options into your communications

Rather than adopting newer communication options as they emerge and risk losing patients during the transition, how about building a patient communication strategy that stretches and adapts?

It can be done. 

You need to:

  1. Get communication APIs: Text messaging, voice calling, and in-app calling can be integrated directly into your patient engagement solution via high-throughput, highly adaptable communication APIs–allowing you to customize patient journeys your way. 
  2. Pick the right communications partner, not just a provider: Reliable communications delivery, ease of use of APIs, regulatory know-how, and availability of support 24/7 are the main concerns while picking the right communications providers for a context as sensitive as healthcare. 
  3. Consolidate as much as possible: Having fewer (but dependable and innovation-led) communication partners to power more of your patient communication strategy empowers you with greater capability to experiment with your approaches. 

Wondering how other healthcare and platform providers build optionality for communication in healthcare?

Real-world examples

Hiplink, a text alert software provider, has grown its consumer usage 172% by delivering more reminders and notifications reliably and thus, improving clinician flow. 

β€œNow more appointment reminders, billing reminders, and portal notifications are getting directly into the hands of patients. Since appointment reminders really, really cut down on no-shows, and we can automatically process cancellations, our clinicians are saving time and money!”

Read the full story here. 

While empowering healthcare practices to switch to VoIP and automating patient interactions from a single platform, Weave has leaned in on their growth and innovation with the right communication support. 

β€œOur customers are getting rid of some old analog system and we’re moving them to VoIP, making that experience seamless.”

Find out how. 

Simplify building options into healthcare communications

Easily integrate communication options with Bandwidth APIs

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only.