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Right combination of technology activates patients

Laura Headshot 2014
Laura Bramschreiber, Vice President, Marketing Strategy—Healthcare Practice, West Corporation

A core goal of any healthcare practitioner is to encourage patients to either begin, continue, or cease an action or series of actions. How do you communicate with patients in order to compel them to a specific, pre-determined action? Following are common desired patient actions that can be achieved using the right engagement and activation strategies.

Get patients to see you

Carve out an efficient and consumer-friendly way to keep your patients on top of their wellness and treatment goals via automated reminders for upcoming services, like immunizations and screenings, and scheduling appointments and follow ups.

There are several ways to realize success in this area, but the two most important include:

  • Ensure that inbound calls from your patients are routed quickly, efficiently, and in a way that intelligently collects data that fosters a holistic view of each patient; and
  • Establish the preferred mode of communication for each patient—be it voice, text, web portal, or some other medium

Patient preferences for communication channel and frequency can get pretty granular. For example, you may have a single patient who prefers bills to come through e-mail; appointment reminders to come via text; and consults be streamed over video. Establishing and updating these preferences, as well as their consent, are key to any ongoing engagement strategies.

Get patients to follow and utilize their treatment plan

Comb your database to identify those patients who would benefit from transition care management (TCM) or coordinated care management (CCM) programs. Treatment gaps and missed appointments put patients at risk for readmission; providers should see these challenges as a means to unearth opportunities to improve the quality and efficacy of their programs, as well as take advantage of new value-based reimbursements in these areas.

Patient education is important, clearly; but so is training and awareness on the part of the clinical staff and physicians. Everyone involved must be up to speed on the value these programs bring to patients and the importance of the program to the practice in terms of revenue. Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities—ranging from scheduling, obtaining written consent, delivering care and billing—is key to success.

Get patients to monitor progress between visits

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring are incredible opportunities to innovate an underutilized area of patient care, foster new streams of revenue, and add formidable building blocks to value-based care by providing your patients with a comprehensive roadmap to sustained health. This can be accomplished by starting as early after discharge as possible and using communication technology and clinical resources to keep tabs on treatments and follow up care, as well as to monitor and address any complications.

Get patients to pay their bills

A byproduct of value-based care is that the revenue cycle starts much earlier than it used to. Patients are expected to have more “skin in the game” when it comes to paying for healthcare services, which means that providers need to collect as much money as possible pre-service or at the point of care.

Practices and hospitals need to ensure that patients fully understand their financial obligations upfront. A standardized script for staff or automated communications should provide patients information about what they will owe when they come into the office, but also the payment options they can choose from, and any documentation they should bring with them to their visit.


By taking practical steps toward patient-centric engagement, providers can create a high-quality, intuitive and effortless consumer experience that has elements of a world-class retail service, while meeting the unique needs of the healthcare setting. Look for vendors and partners with the right combination of technology, experience and vision that will help you employ meaningful business practices regarding patient engagement and activation.

CCM, coordinated care management, remote patient monitoring, TCM, Telehealth, transition care management, West Corporation