Before COVID-19, patients were already relying less on traditional forms of communication and embracing digital technologies. Now as the pandemic continues and patients wonder whether hospitals are safe, providers and health plans must use digital patient engagement channels to keep patients and members safe and informed.

Data collected across the industry demonstrates the increasing significance of digital patient engagement: 

  1. Over 50% of patients from all age groups through 54 years old preferred digital tools over the phone for appointment reminders and post-care communications. (DocASAP)

While preferences in communication varies by age group, a DocASAP survey found that half of patients under age 54 prefer digital tools like email and text messages. Meanwhile, patients over age 54 generally prefer a phone call.  

  1. 47% of people are using technology to communicate with their healthcare providers. (Regenstrief Institute) 

A recent study found that nearly half of all patients are using a digital communication method to reach their providers. Of those patients, 24% used email and 18% used text messages. 

  1. 70% of patients say they are more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email to text. (Accenture) 

More than half of patients are selecting medical providers based on the availability of digital communications. A strong digital engagement strategy can become a key differentiator in a competitive healthcare market. 

  1. 60% of patients are comfortable sharing their healthcare through a digital format. (Deloitte) 

Healthcare consumers are more willing to share data with providers and health plans, enabling them to make more proactive decisions about their health. 

  1. Increased automation and self-service could lower administrative costs by an additional $24 billion to $48 billion annually. (McKinsey) 

Traditional forms of patient engagement like phone calls cost time and resources, especially when call center volumes are high. Automated, digital notifications and reminders can thus save healthcare organizations money through productivity gains. 

However, other studies suggest that digital engagement gaps remain: 

  1. Only 21% of patients reported having a conversation with their doctor or provider about how to correspond digitally. (Regenstrief Institute) 

Only 1 in 5 patients say their providers told them about the digital communication methods available to them. Researchers worry that patients may not be aware of or take advantage of digital communication channels, stifling patient engagement.

  1. 60% of privately insured health plan members say they were not contacted by their health plan with guidance or information related to COVID-19. (JD Power) 

Health plan members felt left in the cold during the onset of COVID-19 due to low engagement from their insurance providers. JD Power also found that health plans who did proactively engage their members received higher customer satisfaction scores.  

  1. Disengaged patients are 3x as likely to have unmet medical needs and 2x as likely to delay medical care. (Health Affairs) 

Patients who feel disengaged from their care plans and providers are not empowered to make proactive decisions about their health. They thus run an increased risk of poor health outcomes than their engaged counterparts. 

  1. 57% of patients who missed an appointment said a text message or email reminder would’ve helped them attend it. (MGMA)

No-shows can cost up to 14% of a provider’s revenue. Closing gaps in patient engagement with simple text and email reminders can help providers recapture that lost revenue.

Learn more about how your organization can close gaps in patient engagement by viewing our eBook, “A Digital Engagement Approach to Driving Value-Based Care.

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