The nationwide disruption of healthcare delivery imposed by COVID-19 has pushed digital health technology to a new prominence in patient care and engagement. Patients have become accustomed to connecting with doctors, physical therapists and other providers via phone and telehealth video. In the new normal, they will expect the convenience of having quick, timely access to care.

DocASAP’s recently released Second Annual State of Patient Access and Engagement Survey shows that as patients take greater ownership of their health journey, digital engagement has become a key differentiator in competitive healthcare markets.

Digital, Mobile-Friendly Channels are Top-Rated by Healthcare Consumers

Digital remains the dominant channel for both pre-appointment and post-appointment communications. In our survey when patients were asked, “what is your preferred method for receiving an appointment reminder for a scheduled healthcare visit,” the majority of respondents (56%) selected digital methods (e.g., email or text message), an increase of 4% compared to last year’s result. A deeper dive reveals that respondents choose “text message” as their preferred method for receiving an appointment reminder, across all ethnicity groups. 

Digital Outreach: An Underutilized Method to Drive Patients Back to Care

Digital delivery methods (via email, text message, online portal or mobile app) were also cited by respondents as the preferred method for receiving post-appointment communication from a healthcare provider (64%), up six percent compared to last year’s survey.

Pull quote: “64% of respondents prefer mobile-friendly channels (email, SMS, mobile app, online portal) for post-appointment communications, vs 27.9% who preferred phone calls.

Digital Outreach solutions such as DocASAP Care-Driven Outreach can send automated, care-driven text and email notifications that encourage patients and health plan members to take action on their health. Outreaches are highly configurable, and can be directed to a broad population or addressed to specific individuals.

Health Plans Can Leverage Digital Patient Engagement to Improve Member Access and Loyalty

Patients say they use health plan websites to schedule appointments just as much as they use it to check their health plan coverage. Scheduling is more popular than comparing costs for procedures. Here’s how the survey breaks down:

  • 32% schedule an appointment
  • 33% see benefits and coverage details specific to your plan
  • 27% compare costs for a procedure or doctor visit
  • 25% find in-network providers

Survey Results, Analysis, Recommendations and More

These survey results and more are outlined in a new DocASAP eBook about the survey, that concludes with recommendations for providers and insurers, including this important tip on engagement:

  • Enhance your consumer-focused digital front door to give patients a seamless experience when accessing care, whether finding a provider, scheduling an appointment, completing pre-visit forms, providing insurance information, or checking symptoms.

Check out the top survey results, and review all 10 of our recommendations for attracting and serving patients in the digital health sphere. Download the eBook Meeting the Healthcare Consumer with a Digital-First Approach.

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