Healing Healthcare Comms: How Omnichannel Engagement is Transforming Patient-Provider Interactions 

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Cast your mind back just 10-15 years ago, and you’ll remember a healthcare industry that interacted with patients very differently to how it does today. 

Every single consultation was an in-person interaction, booking an appointment required two people having a phone conversation and even things like checking test results or requesting a prescription refill meant a trip to the clinic. 

Fast forward to today and things have changed drastically. 

While the above scenarios still exist and remain favoured by some, the post-pandemic era has seen a transformation in patient-provider interactions. 

Outdated and inefficient communication processes are being replaced by seamless, integrated patient experiences. 

Patients increasingly expect their interactions with healthcare organisations to resemble the speedy and personalised interactions they’ve experienced elsewhere as consumers for years. 

This presents a challenge for healthcare providers: 

Meeting their patients’ growing communication expectations, while balancing the inherent complexities of safety, cost, and regulations in healthcare. 

The answer? 

Omnichannel engagement… 

What is Omnichannel Engagement? 

Omnichannel engagement is a communication strategy that involves the use of multiple channels to provide a consistent and integrated user experience. 

In healthcare, the introduction of omnichannel strategies have meant that patient-provider interactions are no longer confined to phone calls or reception desks. 

A patient can now schedule a telehealth visit on their laptop while at work, take the consultation while commuting home and then ask follow-up questions to a WhatsApp chatbot when they sit down for dinner. 

This level of flexibility is not only welcome, but also expected. 

It’s the level of service that patients receive in other aspects of their daily lives — like when receiving a parcel or setting up a bank account — so why should it be any different when it comes to interacting with their healthcare provider?  

Throw busy calendars and flexible working arrangements into the mix, and it becomes clear that healthcare providers must move with the times and adapt to meet patients on their preferred channels, as this is what patients want. 

And the numbers back it up. 

A recent study showed that over 55% of patients would look to change providers if their communication channel preferences weren’t met. 

The thing is, no single channel is favoured by all. 

Age, gender, language and location all play a part in a patient’s channel preference, which is why the all-inclusive nature of omnichannel engagement can be so valuable for healthcare providers. 

Here are some of the other reasons why… 

Benefits of Omnichannel Engagement in Healthcare 

Ultimately, providing an omnichannel experience shows patients their needs and preferences are prioritised, and they’re being listened to and catered for.  

This personalised approach leads to increased patient satisfaction, improved adherence to treatment plans and – in turn – stronger relationships forged between healthcare organisations and their patients. 

  • Increased Patient Satisfaction: Patients can interact with healthcare providers through their preferred channels, making it easier to access services at their convenience. 
  • Better Patient Engagement: Speak to your patients on their preffered channel, and more of them will see and respond to whatever it is your communicating to them. 
  • Enhanced Operational Efficiencies: If more patients are seeing your communications, you’ll spend less resources on things like appointment no-shows and manual follow-ups.   
  • Helps Build Trust: Consistent messaging and updates across all channels will enhance your patients’ overall experience and trust in your organisation as their healthcare provider. 
  • Better Accessibility & Inclusivity: By catering to different patient needs and preferences with multiple communication channels, your comms will become more accessible and inclusive. 
  • Improved Healthcare Outcomes: Leveraging insights drawn from multiple channels enables you to provide tailored communication and services, leading to improved patient adherence and health outcomes. 
  • Streamlined Communication: Synchronizing healthcare communication across various channels ensures your patients receive timely and consistent information. This reduces confusion and helps different departments stay aligned with patient care plans. 

How to Implement an Omnichannel Engagement Strategy 

Like any communication strategy, implementing an omnichannel strategy requires a thoughtful and structured approach. 

Here’s a guide to help get you started: 

1. Assess Current Communication Procedures 

The first step is evaluating the existing communication channels you’re using to interact with patients.  

Conduct a thorough audit to identify what channels are being used by each department in your organisation and assess how they’re being used. 

Ask questions like: Which departments are sending out appointment reminders? Are those reminders being sent out by SMS or by email? What are their open rates?  

2. Understanding Patient Preferences 

You cannot implement an omnichannel approach without truly understanding how your patients want to communicate. 

Even if you think you’re aware of their preferences, it’s worthwhile conducting surveys to gather a deeper understanding of things like their channel preferences and the volume of comms they’d like to receive from you. 

Once you’ve ticked that off, it’s time to zoom out and assess how you can transform your patient-provider interactions. 

3. Analyse Key Touchpoints  

This is where things get much more nuanced as every healthcare provider has different workflows and patient touchpoints where communication frictions can arise. 

For a radiology clinic, this could involve creating a set of automated SMS notifications that get sent to patients as their images are processed, assessed and prepared for consultation with a specialist. 

These simple notifications would significantly reduce anxiety and provide reassurance during a potentially stressful period, enhancing the overall patient experience

4. Plan Your Omnichannel Strategy 

Define specific goals for what you want to achieve and identify key timelines, milestones, and responsibilities to make sure you meet them. 

Are you looking to reduce the number of appointment no-shows, improve patient satisfaction, increase appointment adherence, or streamline communication processes?  

Develop a detailed roadmap outlining the steps needed to ensure you nail your omnichannel engagement. 

5. Partner With a Trusted Provider 

Once you have a better understanding of the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ behind your omnichannel strategy it’s time to partner with a trusted provider who can help you put your plan into action. 

Protecting patient privacy and maintaining regulatory compliance should be a top priority, ensuring every single interaction your organisation has with patients is efficient, trustworthy and secure. 

That’s where we come in… 

Soprano Connect for Healthcare  

Our CPaaS (Communication Platform as a Service) solution, Soprano Connect, is an excellent option for healthcare organisations looking to transform every single patient-provider interaction. 

We have an established track record of successful implementations for enterprise healthcare organisations, including one of the world’s largest health networks that uses Soprano Connect to manage their communications across multiple locations.  

Soprano Connect features a variety of robust compliance and policy controls, safeguarding your sensitive patient information and ensuring your communications are protected by industry-best tools.  

No matter what stage of the omnichannel engagement journey you’re at – whether it’s ideation or procurement – a conversation with one of our communication experts will help you understand how you can implement an effective omnichannel strategy that will transform your patient interactions. 

Get in touch with us today