Improving and influencing patient behaviors is made possible when healthcare professionals use patient engagement platforms. With the capabilities and features of this digital platform, you can find many patient engagement platform providers. Whatever your end goal is, you can find one that can help you achieve your goals.
What Is A Patient Engagement Platform?
Although various platform providers are out there, many healthcare professionals are still skeptical about using such innovation. Some even think that traditional methods of engaging with patients still work. However, that may not be the case for some patients. A Guide to Patient Engagement Platform can help you better understand how this platform can fit into your practice.
In summary, a patient engagement software aims to manage the patient-provider relationship, provide educational resources, and communicate with patients using an electronic or online system.
Tips When Choosing A Patient Engagement Solution]
Since there are many patient engagement platforms in the market, you may find it confusing to choose the most suitable one for you. What’s worse is you may find the best one, but it may not apply to your needs. Thus, you may want to consider these tips before signing a contract with a patient engagement platform provider:
1. Understand the Major Types of Patient Engagement Software and Their Costs
One of the basic things you need to do is understand the main types of patient engagement platforms. Each patient engagement platform has its advantages and disadvantages, and their costs vary from each other. Here are some of your options:
Custom-Built Patient Engagement Solutions: As its name suggests, this type of patient engagement software is built to address your unique internal processes. What’s even better about this is the final product’s ownership is yours. This requires your engagement to customize such a platform to ensure that the vendor caters to your specific needs.
Since it’s built from scratch, you and the vendor can choose the data visualization format, front-end technology, database type, and web development framework. Moreover, you can customize it to integrate with other apps or third-party systems to make it more functional.
The catch is the need to have enough funds for its creation and development. You may need to spend thousands of dollars in exchange for customization. And if your practice or company requires more complex patient engagement tools, the cost may cost more. For a simple platform, you may have to spend approximately USD$50,000, while more complicated ones range from USD$120,000-USD$150,000.
That’s why this type of patient engagement solution may be best when you already have existing systems which you need to integrate into a new platform. Or, if your workflow or services are unique and diverse from common healthcare professionals, then go for a customized platform. Most importantly, you should have a huge amount of investment capital to start this project.
Content Management System or CMS-Based Patient Engagement Software: As for this second type of patient engagement platform, it uses content management platforms (CMS). These platforms allow basic functions such as EMR/EHR integration, patient education, patient-provider communications, appointment scheduling, and patient registration.
You’ll also need an open-source or hosted platform. The hosted platform requires you to pay for separate third-party extensions and plugins aside from paying a monthly plan. On the other hand, open-source requires a software designer or engineer to customize your platform.
For the cost, you may need at least USD$30,000-USD$35,000 for the basic platform. If you want to upgrade your system, you may need to pay more depending on the complexity of the extension or plugin you’ll need.
If you have more funds, you can even develop your customized plugins. That way, you can go beyond providing secure patient-provider communication, online payment, and appointment scheduling. With such, you may have to spend USD$45,000 or USD$2,000-USD$3,000 for the plugins alone.
Off-the-Shelf Patient Engagement Software: The third type of patient engagement platform is the most abundant as they’re readily available in the market. You can choose from the pricing models and features of this readily made software.
Some vendors offer a selection of features for their clients, while others have predefined types of subscriptions. Likewise, patient engagement platforms have their main function. For instance, one may focus on e-prescriptions while others focus on appointment scheduling.
Since these patient engagement platforms are pre-made, you’ll be paying less than the first two types. The monthly subscription rate may range from USD$12-USD$350. With the more expensive plan, you can enjoy more advanced and comprehensive features, while the lowest plan may only allow you basic features.
You can choose this type of platform if you don’t plan to integrate it with other apps or software. Or if your existing system is easy to integrate with the platform. Moreover, you can start with this type of platform if your clinic has less than ten healthcare professionals.
2. Check Its Reach & Adoption
Another way to find the best platform is to check its reach and adoption. The latter refers to the active patients in your platform, while reach means the number of patients enrolled. For the platform to help you get the best results, choose the one that can maximize both.
When improving reach, one challenge you may face is enticing your patients to enroll in the platform. That’s because your patients may have busy lives, too. You can solve this challenge by auto-enrolling these patients from your scheduling software.
As for adoption, you must check if their software can be made available on various devices such as mobile phones. If you have mobile apps that patients can download, then the better. Especially if your patients are millennials, this is important as they’re more likely to use their mobile phones. With such, they can easily interact with you or your team.
3. Look For Intuitive User Interface
Also, consider a patient engagement platform to be patient-centric. That means that your patients can easily use the software. The simpler the options and navigation are, the better.
It must not make your patients’ lives harder. Instead, when they use such a platform, it should allow them to experience a better customer user experience than when they do it traditionally. Thus, the platform’s user interface should have buttons like a call-to-action button which serve as a guide on how they can navigate the platform.
4. Ensure That It Simplifies Workflows
While patient engagement software is geared towards giving the best experience for your patients, it should also cater to you and your team. Even if your team of healthcare professionals has their preferences, the platform you choose should streamline your workflow. It must also be easy to use for your team members so they can simplify their tasks.
Thus, the vendor must have a strong Application Programming Interface (API). This means that the platform can exchange and interact data with multiple applications. That way, your healthcare professional team members can still use their preferred apps with your patient engagement platform. As a result, not only will you satisfy your customers, but your team members as well.
Moreover, the platform should allow easy access to patient information. Since you may already have existing electronic health records (EHR), it may be best to integrate these old files into the platform. That way, any physician in your clinic can access the information of patients on one platform. This will make reviewing patient’s information available for various specialists.
5. Choose The Ones With Chatbot Functionality and Keyword Actions
Since the platform is accessible to patients wherever and whenever they want, make sure to choose the ones with keyword actions and chatbot functionality. That way, some patient interactions won’t require staff input. Instead, they’ll have a chatbot to assist them.
For instance, asking general queries about your services, appointment, office hours, and the like will be done through chatbots or keywords. So, if a patient uses the platform in the middle of the night to check the availability of a physician, then chatbots can assist them.
With such, patients won’t be disappointed leaving the platform since their queries are answered.
6. Verify Online Bill Payment Integration
Most importantly, it’s best to know if the platform has online bill payment options. Especially nowadays, where going out is restricted, patients should be able to use your platform to pay their healthcare bills.
A good platform will also let your patients keep track of their unpaid and paid medical expenses, insurance coverage, and medical costs. That way, they won’t have to go to your clinic to pay for their medical expenses. Instead, they can directly pay such fees via your platform to make their user experience even better.
Nowadays, you can use the internet to do almost all transactions. This is also true enough in the healthcare industry, wherein you can engage with your patients online. It can help lessen traditional transactions for both patients and clinicians. Thus, you may want to consider the tips above when looking for a patient engagement platform. Its end goal must be to make your lives easier and not the other way around.