Imagine for a moment that you’re a first-time patient, on the way to physical therapy. You’re a bit nervous, a bit hopeful, and something hurts… after all, that’s why you’re headed to PT. You park your car and head for the door and as you reach for the knob, you look down and see a lovely doormat.
Maybe it makes you chuckle. Maybe it just makes you feel a bit better, even before you feel better. But the message is: “You’re welcome here. This is going to be good.”
The right digital experience can do the same thing.
For better or worse, most of your patients are checking you out online before they check-in for an appointment. The good news is that you can structure and finesse your online presence so your practice is not only easier to find, but it also attracts patients and makes them feel welcome even before they walk through the door.
We like to call this “The Digital Front Door.” Three strategies that unite to create a single, accessible entryway for patients to connect with your practice digitally – helping them get started and making them feel welcome.
#1 Open the Door with Online Scheduling
If the front door to your clinic gets stuck, it’s off-putting. Same with online scheduling: for both new and established patients… it should be as frictionless as possible.
When a patient comes to your website, can they browse your services, specialties, and therapist profiles? If so, great! But can they book an appointment right now, at this very moment, through your online scheduler? That’s even better.
With a few simple clicks, a patient can choose an available appointment that works for their schedule, so nobody has to play phone tag with your front office team. Even better, the front office team can automate some of their tasks: Insight’s online scheduler includes automatic appointment syncing and an automated confirmation notice once the clinic has approved the appointment. Plus, patients can have their preference of either in-person or telehealth appointments.
#2 Set the Tone (and Get Valuable Intel) with Digital Intake
New patients = lots of paperwork. There are insurance cards to verify, health questionnaires to complete, and personal information to collect. And let’s be honest: patients don’t love filling out these questionnaires while they’re in the waiting room, and your staff doesn’t love the fact that they have to transcribe their data into patient charts.
What if, instead, you sent out a welcome packet that takes all of this online? Patients fill out all the information you’d normally capture at the front desk and it is automatically transcribed into their patient chart. Not only does this save time and rigamarole, but it also opens up an opportunity for you to prepare the patient for their appointment.
Within 24 hours of making an appointment, your patient receives confirmation and a welcome packet in their email inbox. In this packet, they learn all about your services, what makes you unique, and what they can expect on their first visit. They learn how their therapist will collaborate in setting goals and how they can reach out if they have questions. There’s even information on how they can view and pay bills.
And, of course, this welcome packet includes any paperwork they need to complete before the appointment, for streamlined online intake. You’ve lifted a weight off of their shoulders, creating a positive experience before they set foot in your clinic. You’ve made them feel welcome.
#3 Set Patients Up for Success with Text Reminders
We know that it’s one thing to engage a patient online, it’s another thing to get them in the door. Especially for multiple appointments: week after week. Improved patient compliance through the use of automated appointment reminders is another reason why the Digital Front Door can be so impactful for your clinic and your patients.
Truth be told, life is busy and hectic – for your staff and for your patient. Relying on your front desk to call patients and remind them of appointments takes up valuable time from your team. Automated text messages let your team focus on other important tasks, and make sure that patients remember their upcoming appointment.
Improved patient compliance brings added benefits, including better outcomes and a long-term, loyal relationship.
Convenience is the Key
As you build out your Digital Front Door strategy, keep one thing in mind: patient convenience. Provide a single, clear pathway for patients during their care journey; the more convenient it is to them, the better it is for your clinic.