The ‘new normal’ is a time when face-to-face interactions and appointments have ceased being an option. Nowadays, there is no way for you to get out of your house without the need for a mask and face shield over your face and gloves on your hands. As we all fear falling prey to the dreaded pandemic, we need to be extra cautious.
If you’re a medical practitioner, your patient could be reluctant to come to your clinic or the hospital because of the coronavirus. What do you need to do to prevent them from missing their appointments for the same reason?
During these times, reaching out to patients has become more challenging. Maybe you haven’t had the chance to exchange numbers or maybe they haven’t gotten back to you as soon as you’d hoped. The more they put their checkups off, the more their health may deteriorate.
This is why patient engagement is of absolute importance, especially during this pandemic.
What Is Patient Engagement?
The mere act of calling your patient to come to your office can already be considered patient engagement. Before COVID took over, this act involved physical appearances and phone calls. To an extent, some doctors even allowed communication via SMS or text messaging. After a brief exchange of texts and calls, the patient returns to your office, ready for another checkup.
Since we now live in the new normal, the number of patients showing up physically has diminished. Patients often fear that the moment they set foot inside a hospital, they’re bound to catch COVID especially if the hospital hasn’t been sectioned off.
However, patient engagement isn’t just the mere act of checking on them when you can—it’s the act of at least establishing a relationship with the patient or their caretaker. This is for you to easily identify your patients’ status and symptoms without any tension or awkwardness.
Importance Of Patient Engagement
Keeping an open communication with your patients will allow you to give more honest and accurate diagnoses and prescriptions. You will also get to know the patient better and understand their condition, whether it’s improving or deteriorating.
With technology advancing at a clear and steady pace, you are already equipped with the right tools to engage with your patients. Messaging apps have become an indispensable part of our smartphones, and more useful applications have surfaced as well.
If you are looking for ways to expand your methods of reaching out and engaging with patients, outreach software like relatient.net may come in handy for you. Not only will you gain better patient coverage, but you will also be able to provide them with updates or even check on them more frequently, especially if their condition is severe.
Below are some of the ways you can improve patient engagement during COVID.
How To Improve Patient Engagement During COVID
- Easy Healthcare Access Through Applications
The world today revolves around an instant or get-it-now mindset. Long gone are the days when you have to wait for something instead of going for it yourself. Through remote patient engagement, you will be able to deliver healthcare to your patient where and when they need it.
Communication is more seamless when you communicate with your patient through the internet. You can give them daily reminders, easily schedule appointments with them via video chat, and ask them to see you when convenient for both parties. Aside from this, you may even recommend apps that can aid in tracking their health. It’s through these apps that you can also easily assess the status of their health.
The virus could be anywhere—and it’s best to use technology to communicate with your patients who live in different places. You wouldn’t want you and your loved ones to run the risk of being infected due to personally engaging with various people on a daily basis. This includes your pets as studies show that even your furry friends may contract COVID.
- Modernized Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)
Revenue Cycle Management or RCM is where you manage the billing of each patient. This ranges from the scheduling of appointments, the doctor’s fee, to the final bill. This is the typical setup for an RCM:
- Appointment Scheduling and Patient Registration
- Verification of Patient’s Insurance Eligibility
- Deductible Collections
- Examination and/or Treatment of Patient
- Claim(s) Submission
- Management of Claims
- Collection of Patient’s Payments
- Final Reports
In modernizing your RCM, you’ll allow your patients to view their bills, make online payments, and customize their payment plans. They may also be alerted of other incoming communications from your office. This is conveniently done through a secure online connection that will benefit you and give your patients a more efficient and accessible approach to paying their bills.
- Inform Them Of Pricing Ahead Of Time
An inescapable situation is when you’ve given the final billing to your patient—some will be shocked and some may panic because of the hefty amount involved. You should always post the patient’s bills ahead of time. Avoid giving them the final amount during the last minute. This will give them time to strategize on how they can pay you in full or work out a fair payment scheme with you. With this, there will be no arguments with your patients.
Healthcare is expensive and it’s up to you to provide your patients with services that are effective and affordable at the same time.
Benefits Of Remote Patient Engagement
This modern approach will encourage patients to interact and openly share their conditions with you anytime, anywhere. It will also give them knowledge on how to treat themselves better through your guidance.
The applications made for all healthcare workers can easily be interpreted. After reading the results from said applications, they should also be able to suggest a form of better treatment or prescriptions. If needed, you may also recommend the use of some health gadgets that allow them to monitor their health from time to time.
The biggest benefit in utilizing remote patient engagement is the safety between you and the patient. If you aren’t feeling well, you’ll still be able to treat your patient from the safety of your own home. You can always talk to your patients through video conferencing.
Always Keep In Touch
The healthcare landscape is changing. It’s now rare to call over patients to see you personally, and more common to reach out to them remotely. With these new methods at your fingertips, checking up on your patients becomes safer and more convenient. You’ll also be able to provide your patients with the best treatment through these practical and innovative approaches.