Key Takeaways

Automated appointment reminders have become table stakes in healthcare. So much so that 88% of patients now say receiving these messages or alerts is important to them during their care experience. But how can automation support other interactions that patients have with their care teams beyond just booking and confirming visits? 

There is so much more that healthtech can do to help providers deliver high-touch, connected care. And as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, digital healthcare will need to change in tandem. Patients have questions and concerns after discharge. They’re sometimes prescribed medications that demand new daily routines. And symptoms that might be perfectly normal after certain procedures or treatments can seemingly arise out of nowhere, leaving people curious and anxious about their health conditions. 

Let’s dive into a few reasons your digital healthcare strategy should extend beyond text reminders for appointments.

1. Patients expect more high-touch care experiences before, after, and between visits

Patient expectations of their providers increasingly reflect those of consumers in other industries. We are all used to interacting with our financial institutions, airlines, and online retailers via digital tools that provide better end-to-end experiences for customers. Naturally, patients look to healthcare to follow suit with more convenient and personalized experiences throughout the care journey. 

With 82% of patients saying they would switch providers based on one bad experience, the stakes for finding and implementing the right digital healthcare platform to address these evolving expectations are higher than ever. In fact, one study found a link between a lack of personalized care and failed discharge planning, a greater likelihood of readmission, and a significantly lower NPS for providers. And pre-visit text reminders are limited in delivering the comprehensive assistance to patients they need. For example, automated appointment messages can’t respond to patient questions about pre-surgery instructions or help diabetes patients understand their blood sugar readings.

That’s why modernizing the patient experience requires a new technological approach tailor-made for today’s healthcare consumer. Forward-thinking innovations leverage AI and natural language processing (NLP) to interpret most questions about medications, symptoms, and other aspects of care without human intervention. Additionally, this new class of intelligent care enablement technology proactively engages patients with care-related prompts specific to conditions — meaning more personalized care assistance, convenience, and potentially health outcomes.

Want to know more about giving your patients more personalized care assistance? Speak with one of our experts.

2. Clinicians need intelligent care enablement — not just digital automation — to keep up with increasing patient demands and volumes

Digital technology has changed clinical workflows substantially over the past decade. EHRs have replaced pen and paper, secure internet channels are used to transmit medical information instead of faxes, and AI is beginning to play a bigger role in streamlining diagnostics.

But healthcare’s recent accelerated adoption of healthtech doesn’t necessarily mean things are getting simpler for care teams. Although EHRs allow health systems to standardize note-taking and securely centralize medical records, the data collection demands have increased in turn. This means physicians and nurses have to spend more of their time on clerical tasks, inherently drawing attention from actual clinical work.

This symptomatic excess in administrative responsibility has grown with the expansion of the “digital front door.” As digital technology has made it easier for patients to access providers on-demand, the pressures of keeping up with snowballing in-basket messages have been directly correlated to physician burnout — a key contributor to employee turnover in healthcare

At the end of the day, appointment reminders only really streamline one aspect of front-of-office work. That’s why advanced intelligent care enablement platforms like Memora Health carefully develop technology laser-focused on simplifying workflows specifically for clinicians. Effective digital healthcare platforms built with physicians at the center can empower care teams with longitudinal patient data, streamline care coordination between different providers, automate follow-ups and check-ins, and escalate the most urgent patient concerns to help doctors prioritize clinical interactions over administrative tasks.

Interested in simplifying clinical workflows? Let’s chat!

3. Healthcare organizations need proactive technology built with prevention and access in mind 

No-shows present real challenges to providers everywhere. Research has found one in five patients don’t show up for their scheduled appointments. And these absences can culminate in extra costs and productivity time — and, importantly, impact health outcomes.

The fact is that text reminders have been largely proven to help reduce no-show rates. And one study even found an extra ping could further encourage appointment attendance. But assisting patients with scheduling is only one logistical aspect of getting people the care they need. 

How can a schedule reminder help patients find transportation to a doctor’s office? What about what happens between visits? Could automation be used to support preventive care and help health systems reduce readmissions?

With the right technology, addressing what patients need between and after — not just before — visits is possible. Novel intelligent care enablement platforms marry the benefits of automation with the intelligence of NLP in healthcare, and consider evidence-based insights from clinicians to proactively engage patients. This includes telling them about important screenings, independently answering questions about symptoms after visits, reminding people to take medications, and more. And as patients feel more empowered to manage their care journeys with this advanced digital assistance, health systems could see fewer readmissions, fewer failed transitions of care, and more time and resources to allocate to acute episodes of care.

Curious about supporting preventive care and access at your organization? We’re here to help!

Automated reminders are essential for accommodating modern-day healthcare consumers. But they only address a small piece to a greater puzzle leaders throughout the industry grapple with every day: how to provide patients with a positive experience before, after, and between visits. By digitizing clinical workflows to accomplish this goal, effective intelligent care enablement platforms offer providers a comprehensive way to address multiple pain points for stakeholders across the care continuum — all with one powerful technology.

Find out more about developing an ironclad digital healthcare strategy to meet modern healthcare challenges.