It could be said that Covid-19 opened the digital front door to traditional healthcare, as well as telehealth services.
What is a digital front door?
Digital front doors are the electronic gateway to seamless healthcare across multiple digital channels. Digital front-door healthcare services can include anything from online scheduling of appointments, online check-ins, and online video or audio consultations. They represent the entry to a digital healthcare experience at every point at which the customer connects remotely with their healthcare workers, including the increasingly well-known patient portal. Clinicians can use these systems to send appointment reminders and even run healthcare campaigns to established patient groups. To be successful, healthcare providers should identify the patient or client touchpoints and technologies required for a seamless digital experience to benefit from the increased user demand for improved technology.
Digital Front Door Healthcare Survey
Optum recently surveyed 1,000 healthcare consumers to understand how they viewed their online healthcare experience. Many wanted a more user-friendly online experience in their dealings with healthcare providers and health plans.
According to the survey, consumers are not happy with the hours, location, appointment availability, or care channels in their online experience. Though 36% of patients want to make appointments with their healthcare providers or medical plan online, only 26% do. The rest make in-person or telephonic appointments. The reason is that patients are finding that healthcare services fail to offer the seamless experience they expect from websites, online portals, and mobile software found in many other industries.
For example, only 57% of patients reported satisfaction with their appointment scheduling experience, and only 58% felt they could find the online practitioner information they sought. The survey also indicated that 52% of appointments were missed. A third of the patients said they missed appointments because they had forgotten about it. Sending digital reminders is a quick and easy way to reduce the high number of appointment misses.
Enhancing the User Experience Through the Digital Front Door
Healthcare workers can improve patient retention by enhancing the user experience at the digital front door. When presenting the survey results, Puneet Maheshwari, co-founder and CEO of Optum’s DocASAP, said that he believed the trend of using online services would increase over time.
In the future, websites that are easy to access and navigate will attract the most traffic. Seamless transition between digital devices is another important aspect. Technology has the potential to streamline interactions, and those clinicians who understand the importance of effective digital front door maintenance will reap the benefits of patient and client retention.
See TBHI’s articles What Is a “Patient Portal” in Behavioral or Medical Healthcare? and Digital Consumer Ratings: Telehealth Patient Satisfaction Boosts Telehealth Provider Marketing for related information.
What is Telehealth? Basic Technology Orientation for the Busy Practitioner
In this 2.5 hour, basic technology training, you will find a well-organized discussion of relevant basic research along with practical suggestions for making foundational decisions about your digital practice with cloud storage, backups systems, security software such as VPNs, HIPAA compliance and software purchasing, synchronous and asynchronous technologies, and much more.