3 Ways to Improve Patient Retention Through Post-Discharge Calling

A surprising number of patients –  1 in 5, in fact – experience an adverse post-discharge event such as infections or procedural complications within 30 days of release. This adds a significant cost to the United States healthcare system, contributing an extra $15 to $20 billion annually. What’s more, 30 percent of these readmissions are preventable, and nearly a quarter are ameliorable.

It’s no secret that hospitals need to address the post-discharge problem; in November 2015, CMS proposed a ruling that requires hospitals to establish post-discharge follow-up programs. Furthermore, post-discharge calls have started to become an essential element of payer reimbursements – some insurers require patient answers to post-discharge survey questions – which makes them absolutely crucial for health systems’ financial standings.

But looking at post-discharge calling solely as a requirement for earning payer reimbursements is a mistake; checking in with patients after clinical appointments provides the opportunity to ensure patients adhere to their ongoing care instructions, schedule future appointments, recommend referrals, and more. All of these initiatives enhance the patient experience and create patients for life. In fact, Accenture found that hospitals that provide superior patient experiences achieve up to 50 percent higher margins.

A patient’s journey shouldn’t end when he or she is released from the hospital; communication post-discharge increases long-term loyalty. By updating call center processes, you can optimize post-discharge calling to focus on improving patient retention and regain the estimated $8 billion in lost revenue.

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How to Create Healthcare Content That Converts

In modern society, we’re absolutely bombarded by content; the internet grows by over 2 million new blog posts, 864,000 hours of video content, and 294 billion sent emails every single day!

Multiply that by a lifetime, and it’s staggering to think about the level of competition there is for a person’s attention.

The question marketers must now ask themselves is, how do I create content that will not only grab a consumer’s attention, but inspire them to purchase? In the healthcare space, where consumers have an ever-growing abundance of choices, marketers must focus on crafting strategic content that will uniquely resonate with audiences and create patients for life.

Let’s take a look at three key methods you should leverage to ensure your healthcare marketing content supports the journey from lead to new patient:

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Patient Care in Action: An Orthopedic Healthcare Journey Example

Consider this: a person’s experience makes or breaks their choice of healthcare provider for 78 percent of customers, according to PwC’s 2018 “Experience is Everything” survey. This isn’t so surprising, as the impact of customer experience has gained importance across industries over recent years. Why? Because easy access to information means customers evaluate their options like never before, creating a level of competition that makes differentiating incredibly challenging.

To win business, health systems need to provide experiences that successfully attract and retain patients. Start by optimizing the consumer journey.

The typical healthcare consumer journey consists of 6 stages that together work to find, guide, and keep patients for life. Let’s look at each stage and what your organization needs to do to attract, delight, and retain patients throughout their care experience:

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Improve the Call Center Experience with a Proactive Engagement Strategy

The overwhelming majority of patients (75 percent) report using a customer call center to interact with their health system. Even though the call center is responsible for handling numerous customer touchpoints, many hospitals still provide experiences that are about as appealing as calling a cable company.

Within these interactions, patients must cope with long wait times and multiple transfers, and call center agents that subsequently have no background information on them or their unique situations. This impersonal form of engagement allows health systems to handle a high volume of call center interactions, but not provide the quality patients are looking for; poor call center interactions fail to deliver any strategic value, provide cross-sell opportunities, or extend patient lifetime value.

A call center equipped with HCRM capabilities, or an Engagement Center, allows call center agents to provide convenient service that supports marketing and business development initiatives, streamlines workflow, and improves patient engagement and satisfaction. Engaging patients through a CRM-enabled call center allows health systems to take advantage of patient data, thus providing proactive and personalized interactions that keep customers happy, healthy, and in-network.

Let’s take a closer look at how a proactive engagement strategy can help improve the call center experience:

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3 Ways HCRM Supports Population Health Initiatives

Population health focuses on managing the overall health of a defined population while taking on accountability for the outcomes and cost associated with the health care services for that population.

Population health management (PHM) combines data analytics, technology, and engagement tactics to deliver targeted health care services in support of population health efforts.

PHM is the foundational capability that is enabling the transition from fee-for-service to alternate payment arrangements. In this evolving alternate payment landscape, where health systems are expected to take on the responsibilities for pre-defined populations, having an effective PHM capability is going to be critical to maintaining profitability.

This new model of providing care requires health systems to understand who is the population that they are caring for, identify who is most at risk and then engage them through the appropriate channels to provide the educations and services necessary to improve health outcomes.

For example, a hospital with a population health goal to increase vaccination rates must properly identify, target, and connect with a non-vaccinated population. With the help of an HCRM, healthcare organizations identify vulnerable populations, find those most likely to not have received vaccinations, and develop personalized outreach to specific patients.

Here’s how healthcare organizations can leverage the HCRM’s capabilities, including real-time data, technology, and 360-degree patient views to more effectively implement population health management.
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