470: What Digital Solutions Have the Best ROI to Help Obtain and Retain Patients
Digital solutions are being used more frequently because they are proven to be more convenient and effective for both providers and customers. Incorporating telehealth, online scheduling, chat boxes, and other digital solutions will maximize your ROI and aid in obtaining and retaining customers.
In episode 470, Dave Mastovich identifies several solutions and the equal importance of telling the stories surrounding them, as they pertain to your company.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only no bullshit marketing consultants. Today I’m going to talk to you about what digital solutions have the best ROI to help obtain and retain patients. Remember, I often say that patients lack patience. Much of this will focus on how we want to meet the needs of our patients through digital solutions. And when we reduce friction, and make the experience more towards that user, that patient’s style or liking, that in and of itself, brings ROI. But there’s also ROI in the savings of time for staff members and how resources are allocated.
The first thing I like to talk about when we’re talking about digital solutions that have the best ROI to obtain and retain patients falls under what we call the digital front door. And that’s omnichannel that uses coordinated digital tools to better engage members. Coordinated digital tools to better engage members, what do I mean by that? Well, your digital front door is just that. It’s your front door that current and potential patients, customers, clients see and experience. Your digital front door. One of the things that’s almost the minimum standard now today is to have a chat function, a chat box, a text box, that is HIPAA compliant, but enables your current and prospective patients or members, clients to be able to gather information that helps them figure out what they need, and helps them with their patient journey. Those chat boxes save time, build trust, and can reduce costs. Saves time because the member, the patient, is on the website, they’re able to get answers that they can get on their own, at their timeframe, and at their liking and the content channel that they want. It builds trust, because with each successful answer that you provide, they begin to trust you and their journey or experience is stronger. On the cost side, obviously it helps you because they’re not calling a person, taking that person’s time. They’re not taking a provider’s time, they’re getting information at their convenience that’s not costing you as much as if you had to do it in-person or through a direct phone call to somebody. So the text, the chat box function is a key part of your digital front door. Another example of your digital front door is being able to do scheduling, helping your members to be able to schedule, your patients to be able to schedule online. Now that also saves you a great deal of time and resources so your costs can go down. In addition, the reminders that you can automate to get the reminders out to try to reduce no-shows can play a big role. Speaking of no-shows, telehealth is an area where the no-shows, in other words, when a patient does not show up for their care visit, their treatment visit, are much lower with telehealth. They’re in the single digits in telehealth, whereas prior to the pandemic, in-person, no-shows were around 29%. But because of the measures that the industry took throughout the pandemic, the no-shows via telehealth only went up to 36%. And now post-pandemic, the telehealth no shows plummeted even more down into the single digit range. So when you look at your digital front door, and you start off saying can I have a chat function? Let’s do scheduling digitally and conveniently. Let’s have auto reminders. But let’s incorporate telehealth into our mix of our digital front door and our digital ROI, return on investment, as we obtain and retain patients. Telehealth helps with obtaining because people know that it’s easier and they can get in more quickly to do a telehealth visit. It helps with retention because patients, again, like the convenience. It helps you with your resource allocation and your costs because it’s costing you less, and it’s being done through telehealth as opposed to a personal visit. So telehealth as part of your digital ROI is a huge measure.
Now, with each of these elements that I’ve talked about so far, storytelling becomes a huge component. You want to talk about your digital front door to your current patients, to your referral sources, other physicians that refer to you if you’re a physician practice, or physicians and hospitals and healthcare systems that refer to you if your physical therapy or hospice. An area agency on aging or others that might refer to you if you’re a senior living, you want to tell the story about your digital front door in a concise, memorable way to current patients, prospective patients and referral sources. So as we go through each of these elements of your digital front door, including the chat function, scheduling, reminders, telehealth, the analytics, the portal that enables your patients to go find all their information at their fingertips, to find the previous prescription to get it renewed, to look at any tips that were health and wellness related. That’s all on your portal, it’s part of your digital front door. The storytelling behind each of these elements, each of these tools is critical. You want to tell referral sources how the scheduling is easier so when they make a referral, they can count on you and the patient connecting. You want to talk about how you use reminders, you want to talk about what your no-show rate is and how you keep it low. You want to talk about telehealth, you want to tell those referral sources about your chat function with success stories. Anecdotes and analogies are what no bullshit storytelling is driven by. Anecdotes and analogies. So you want to use anecdotes and analogies to tell your digital solutions story, to talk about your digital front door. You might even mention that patients lack patience, and as a result, we have all kinds of digital solutions to help with that patient journey, and to help them get what they need and where they want to go quickly and conveniently. It’s a story that needs to be told again and again.
There’s an assumption that it’s what everyone does, and it’s nothing. And remember, I talk a lot about the Seinfeld storytelling approach, and the two major parts of it, that what you think is nothing is actually something to others. The show was supposedly about nothing when it was really about the minutiae of everyday life, and it’s about all of us. So what you think is nothing is actually something to others. The second part of the Seinfeld storytelling approaches that stories are about people. We can resonate with that. And there were characters in Seinfeld. Well, if you think about those two elements, what you think is nothing is actually something. The digital solutions that you’re doing – the chat, the telehealth, the scheduling, the reminders, the patient portal, your whole digital front door – you might think it’s nothing, it’s not worthy of being part of your storytelling. But it is something to others. And I talked about the second part of the Seinfeld storytelling approach being stories are about people and their characters. Infuse characters, infuse the people that helped you get to where you are with your digital front door, talk about the IT solutions that were done by talented people on your team, talk about customers, patients that are happy and gave you examples of how it saved them time.
You’re now taking something you thought was nothing, the chatbox, the telehealth, the scheduling online, the reminders, the patient portal, it’s not nothing. So you take what you thought was nothing, now incorporate the people aspect to make those anecdotes to tell your story again and again about your digital solutions that have the best ROI to help obtain and retain patients. The storytelling is equally important as how those digital solutions improve the patient journey, manage your resources so the costs are managed, save you time and save your patients time. That’s vital that you’re doing those digital solutions. But the storytelling about those digital solutions is equally important. Both generate an ROI for your return on your investment by saving you time, improving your customer journey, your patient journey because patients lack patients, and allocating your resources better so it actually reduces costs. Those are some of the major digital solutions that help with obtaining and retaining patients. They’re tied to your digital front door. And it includes everything from telehealth to analytics to the patient portal to schedulers, reminders, health and wellness tips. All of that is part of how you can get an ROI from your digital solutions. As long as you tell the story behind those digital tools, those digital solutions, and you talk about people with anecdotes and analogies that other people will relate to, that’s your winning combination to get the ROI to obtain and retain patients.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the No Bullshit Marketing Show recorded here in MASSolution studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself, what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.