Virtual Intake: Meeting Patients Where They Are

Feb 23, 2021 | Patient Experience, Telehealth, Virtual Care

In the past 20 years, technology has developed at exponential rates, and the healthcare industry has been one of the slowest to adopt the latest advancements. When the novel coronavirus broke out in 2020, many facilities were thrust into virtual services out of necessity—but the results have been overwhelmingly supportive. Hospitals that want to sustain continued patient engagement must pursue innovation and improvement in the virtual realm—starting with these tips.

According to a survey by Accenture, patients who received care during the pandemic expressed highly positive feedback for video calls, virtual guidance, and monitoring devices, and they want to continue their use in the future. As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, patients experienced quicker, more personalized responses from their providers. This increase in convenience has established virtual care as a key offering moving forward.

As the long-term effects of the coronavirus become more evident, consumers will be even less inclined to schedule in-person visits. Instead, they will demand a virtual alternative. A recent survey found that 51% of respondents rated their feelings of safety in a healthcare facility as a five or lower on a 10-point scale. Facilities should focus on the people who are hesitant to re-enter the healthcare world. Implementing a virtual intake functionality will take the patient experience to the next level and build a solid foundation for patient loyalty.

If your facility has an online patient portal, you’ve completed the first step toward establishing  virtual efficiency for consumers—but Becker’s Hospital Review points out that this feature alone will not differentiate you from competitors, especially since 90% of practices already had a patient portal in 2018. Instead, Becker’s encourages facilities to monitor key tools related to virtual intake management:

  • Online preregistration and forms completion
  • Touchless signatures
  • Two-way, interactive text messaging
  • Virtual check-in
  • Text to pay for services
  • Wayfinding
  • Wait-time tracking
  • Real-time video interaction between clinicians and families

In order to please patients, telehealth options will become a minimum requirement for health systems—and hospital success will depend on how well those telehealth offerings are managed. Ninety percent of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with healthcare providers that don’t deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience—are you providing virtual care that meets their expectations?

Establishing a policy for virtual intake management will support a positive, seamless patient experience and ensure your facility’s long-term sustainability. To read more tips on improving your virtual care practices beyond just scheduling appointments, read our white paper.