We’ve all been there. With unexpected free time, you watch a daytime TV show that you hadn’t watched since you were home sick in grade school. You fidget in the chair, and check your emails. It’s been 15 minutes since you arrived and you’re still in the waiting room. As a matter of fact, the average wait in doctors’ offices including the waiting room and exam room is climbing upwards of 45 minutes.
When you finally arrive in the exam room, you sit on the exam table surrounded by outdated pamphlets and posters that have nothing to do with the condition you are visiting the doctor for. When it comes time for treatment, the physician hands you a treatment plan that you can barely read because it has been copied so many times. Does this experience sound drab? Yes. Engaging? Absolutely not.
Within healthcare, patient engagement has been the name of the game for years. In response to a spike in the number of patients physicians need to see, healthcare providers are eager to have productive dialogue with their patients. Historically, they were ill equipped to facilitate these conversations, resulting in poor patient engagement.
Thankfully, today’s physicians have innovative tools to make interactions with patients more effective. It is during these exact moments when a patient makes decisions about their treatment. This couldn’t have happened at a better time because with the rising costs of healthcare, patients and physicians are looking to become more educated and engaged in their treatment. When used effectively, these tools add up to enormous savings for patients.
Here are four ways doctors are using technology to enhance the patient experience:
1. Give purpose to the wait time
Physicians can now curate the content that is delivered to their patients while they wait using digital display technologies. Now physicians are using this as an opportune moment to deliver hyper-relevant information to patients while their condition is top of mind. With new innovations, healthcare providers have the unprecedented ability to customize content for their patients and deliver information based in a data-centric manner.
In place of outdated magazines in the exam room, physicians now install tablets, which empower patients to drive their own health education through contextually relevant information. For example, a neurology patient can pull up content specific to migraines and MS, while a patient at a dermatologist can pull up information on acne or psoriasis. What’s even more impressive is that it’s easy for patients to send this information to themselves for future reference.
In the few years that these technologies have existed, both the quantitative and qualitative feedback has been impressive.
2. Reach the patients the way they prefer to be reached
How many times have you found yourself killing time in public areas trying to find free Wi-Fi? Physicians’ practices can now provide patients what they want: the Internet. Once they log on, patients have access to the Internet, and can opt-in to access content that is relevant to their condition. This sophisticated version of in-office Wi-Fi technology guarantees targeting to the office level versus traditional geo-targeting through other mobile solutions.
With this technology, physicians can deliver contextual information to their patients, in the moments before they have a conversation, via the patient’s own mobile device. Since the service is opt-in, patients are still in control. Meanwhile, they are able to access the information on a platform that is native to them: their mobile device.
3. Use better digital consultation tools
One of the newest developments in point-of-care technology is the release of digital consultation tools within the exam room. Physicians now have access to a platform that enhances every conversation they have with their patients, allowing them to educate patients with detailed, 3D responsive anatomical diagrams. For life science marketers, messaging is delivered on a platform that isn’t free-standing or even patient-driven, but actually physician-led, for the first time ever.
4. Use personalized education
Electronic medical records have jumped the chasm into the majority, and are now a standard tool in physician practices. This is great news for physicians who are looking to enhance the patient journey. Instead of trying to piece together relevant information for the patient, the aforementioned digital platforms can actually integrate into the patient’s EMR, so that each patient receives information relevant to that specific touch-point in their treatment.
Delivering information is one thing, but changing behavior is another. Innovative customization means patients are much more likely to take action on their treatment. Most importantly, this integration is important because over time, data is aggregated to determine how patients engage with the digital platforms available to them. This data is invaluable: it gives us insights into adherence, care coordination, and ultimately, the impact on patient health outcomes. For life science brands, placement on these platforms takes the guesswork out of trying to impact the patients who need treatment the most.