Personalized and Relevant Messages are Key to Successful Patient Engagement

Guest Post From The President of TeleVox Software

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we live in a society yearning for instant gratification. We expect to get information in the blink of an eye, the answers we need within minutes and material goods delivered prior to the date that was promised. But what may surprise you is that even through the desire to have this information so quickly, the importance of providing a personalized message remains one of consumers’ biggest wishes. For instance, studies show that tailoring the message to the needs of patients as well as personalizing the messages are key to successful high-tech patient engagement. In fact, according to a recent TeleVox Healthy World Report, Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media Is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care, 50 percent of patients expect information to be personalized to their specific needs. In the age of instant feedback and heightened technology, it is interesting to know that patients still desire a personalized approach in terms of their healthcare.

The days of simply setting forth wellness plans based solely on numbers and stereotypes are past us. Patients are looking for communications that are relevant to their lives, and it is their expectation that healthcare professionals will take time to engage in this level of personalization. Know Your Health also found that 53 percent of patients expect communications to be relevant to them as individuals. Relevant patient engagement can include personalized interactions, individualized treatment plans, and follow up. Patients thrive on a feeling of importance, ranging from a doctor knowing their name and medical history when they walk in to a follow-up call or email after the appointment to continue that personal connection.

Think about this: According to the same report, 21 percent of the population will refuse information if it is not tailored specifically to them. And, further, 13 percent of patients surveyed report they will ignore information sent their way if it doesn’t have their name on it. Why would providers want to miss out on connecting with an important part of the population by simply not including their name on any communication to the patient?  Including this step can ensure patient engagement is successful and save valuable resources, as the information conveyed will have a better chance of being received by patients.

Finally, taking time to connect with patients outside of their yearly exams or scheduled check-ups is another important link in ensuring that patients make positive decisions that ensure a healthy future. 68 percent of the population would like to receive educational tips that will help them live a better life via email throughout the year. Many Americans are concerned with the direction of the overall health and well-being of the country, but still aren’t taking steps to get where they need to be. However, healthcare providers can take steps to tailor messages that are relevant and personalized to patients to ensure successful high-tech patient engagement, and ultimately a healthier America.

Scott Zimmerman is a regularly-published thought leader on engaging patients via ongoing communication between office visits. He is the President of TeleVox Software, Inc, a high-tech Engagement Communications company that provides automated voice, email, SMS and web solutions that activate positive patient behaviors by applying technology to deliver a human touch. Scott spearheads TeleVox’s Healthy World initiative, a program that leverages ethnographic research to uncover, understand and interpret both patient and provider points of view with the end goal of creating a healthy world–one person at a time. Zimmerman possesses 20 years of proven performance in the healthcare industry, with domain knowledge in the surgical, interventional and pharmaceutical arenas. Prior to joining TeleVox, Scott served for nine years at GE Healthcare in a variety of cross-functional and global leadership roles in sales, services, quality, marketing, pricing, finance and product development. Scott is a graduate of the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.

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