In the summer of 2020, 41% of U.S adults reported having delayed or avoided medical care due to pandemic-related concerns, according to the CDC. Almost two years later, as we move closer to herd immunity with increased vaccination rates, many of these patients are returning to their regular healthcare routine.
Reengaging patients in a post-pandemic world is top of mind for independent physicians. The economic security of private practices is reliant on proactively and successfully encouraging patients back on the path towards improved health.
While practices around the U.S. are seeing their patient volumes rebound, many groups of patients still feel insecure about engaging with healthcare providers both in person and virtually. Patients who choose to seek care will do so where they feel the most comfortable and safe.
However, a study conducted by the The Martec Group found that the reasons causing patients to postpone health care might not be entirely COVID-related. Prior to the pandemic, patients reported frustration with appointment scheduling, wait times, and cost transparency.
Addressing dissatisfactions of the pre-pandemic patient experience will be critical to mitigate the loss of patient volume and practice revenue post-COVID. Successful providers will redesign their patient experience to prioritize convenience and safety for both in-person and virtual visits.
Patient reengagement efforts are necessary to communicate these new processes, but this requires healthcare providers to understand their community’s unique pain points, preferred methods of communication, and shifting attitudes towards in-person versus virtual visits.
When addressing patient pain points, consider how leveraging technology can improve the patient experience at your practice. COVID-19 established new standards of care, caused a shift in best practices, and altered the way healthcare providers and their patients use technology. Digitizing healthcare is here to stay.
While many services are impossible to offer online, patients grew fond of the convenience of virtual options when possible. However, patient facing tools must be easy to understand and more convenient than the alternative. Otherwise, patients can become too hesitant, frustrated, or intimidated to use them.
Understanding patient pain points and communicating how your practice is offering solutions to make their visit convenient and safe is vital to restoring patient confidence in their decision to resume receiving care post-pandemic.