Patient access can have a direct impact on the quality of care, and one of the most important aspects of good patient access is good communication between patients and healthcare providers. Research documents show a direct relationship between patient compliance and quality of care. Most of the time, clinical outcomes are positive when individuals adhere to their appointment times, show up for regular follow-ups, take medications regularly, and undergo preventive tests.
If patients don’t keep their medical appointments, their health can take a hit. It is important for patients to regularly get themselves checked, especially if they suffer from any chronic condition. Adherence to appointments and treatments becomes even more important in such conditions. Even individuals who are otherwise perfectly healthy should also still get preventive tests done regularly. If this is ignored, they can develop a condition that may worsen over time.
Another thing that concerns the healthcare industry, besides improving patient health, is managing patients effectively. The healthcare industry is ever-evolving and moving towards population health, risk-based payments, and rewards based on the quality of the outcomes. Ensuring patients stick to their appointment schedules and get regular medication for their conditions can positively impact these quality measures.
This is where effective communication with patients comes into the picture. Most healthcare providers struggle to communicate with patients effectively. They struggle to get through to their patients and convince them to be more consistent with their medical check-ups and follow-ups. One of the biggest challenges that the healthcare industry faces is getting individuals not to skip medical appointments. While individuals may have multiple reasons to skip their appointments and treatments, effective communication with patients can motivate them to break out of this habit, to a certain extent.
For the most part, today, healthcare providers use emails and text messages to communicate with patients. While this may be better than no communication at all, both emails and one-way texts have their own set of drawbacks. One of the most effective ways to improve this is to enable two-way text messaging and communication with patients. This is where chatbots come into the picture. Chatbots are helpful in engaging patients with two-way communications. They can guide them with different options for appointments and conclude transactions as well. Chatbots give patients the feeling of talking to humans. And the interaction is real-time. They don’t have to wait for someone to come on the line, they don’t have to wait their turn to speak to someone, nor do they have to wait to get a response – like in the case of emails – which can sometimes take a whole 24-hours.
How Can Effective Communication Help Improve Quality of Healthcare?
Chatbots help to seamlessly manage patient-doctor communications in the following ways:
- They automate reminders and closed-loop processing of responses.
- They help with cancellations and rescheduling of appointments and reduce no-shows.
- They follow-up with the patient if there is no response.
Since chatbots engage patients in two-way communication, even patients feel motivated to keep their appointments. Constant reminders ensure the appointment dates and times are not forgotten due to busy schedules. In fact, chatbots can also get any information about the patient from the electronic health record and customize communication.
Chatbots act like the patient’s personalized communication team, leaving the medical staff time to treat and counsel patients. With a huge load of communicating and keeping up with patients lifted, medical practitioners can also focus better on their job, leading to further positive outcomes.