CLINIC TO PATIENT COMMUNICATIONS (PART 3/5): Assessing your practice’s workflow and what digital tools to use to grow your business
In short, if you are considering using digital tools in your practice, it is important to firstly conduct an audit of your business (non-clinical) and clinical workflows if you have not already done it.
According to the guide, information systems in General Practice fall into 3 main categories:
Traditionally, paper based processes such as print material, letters and posters have been used to support the above information flows but today, there are many digital tools that can substitute such processes. It is important to be aware that without thoughtful consideration and understanding of how your business operates, implementing some digital tools can unexpectedly increase costs, and others can reduce costs and increase revenue.
Questions you need to ask yourself when considering digital tools are:
For the purposes of this article, we will focus on e-mail as a communication tool which fits into 3 categories: sharing information, supporting patient decision making and facilitating expertise, education and care from a distance.
It is important to recognise that the RACGP advises that “E-mail is an efficient tool for internal and external communications. However, it is not recommended for transferring any clinical information such as patient test results. Communication with patients via electronic means must be conducted with particular regard to the privacy and confidentiality of the patient’s health information, since there is a higher risk of information inadvertently being seen by another person. It is also vital to ensure that practice business information is protected at all times.”.
There are clearly privacy and security risks associated with using unencrypted e-mail tools to communicate with patients, hence the focus here is what HealthAide is helping to facilitate - helping clinics share with their patient communities general patient education, health promotion and for content marketing purposes, not exchanging clinical sensitive information like test results and medical records.
Experts in non-related healthcare industries traditionally recommend “multi-channel marketing campaigns” which involve website updates, blogs, event promotions, postcards, social media, SMS and e-mail. Yes, this may be likely more effective as there are benefits including reaching to more customer touch points, varying channel preferences, and more data is collected but when operating a healthcare business, this approach poses significant challenges including:
Hence at HealthAide, we believe using e-mail as a starting point tool should be a priority to grow your business, as your existing happy patients is a great asset to leverage. It is best to focus on marketing to your existing patients rather than trying to generate new leads for many reasons including:
In the next article, we will go through popular e-mail CRM systems available in the market and how you can use these in your practice to grow your business.