Healthcare Providers Need to Adapt to Real-time Customer Engagement

Healthcare customer engagementHealthcare providers must adapt to real-time customer engagement methods to forge stronger relationships, according to a new survey from Kentico.

While healthcare providers are, for the most part, using the web to better serve patients, they still have work to do, the survey says.

Kentico’s Patient Attitudes Toward Healthcare on the Web Survey is the latest installment in an ongoing Digital Experience Research Series.

According to this new survey, nearly three quarters (72%) of respondents feel that websites currently offered by healthcare providers could be more helpful. The top criticisms are: Inability to contact healthcare professionals via the user’s preferred method of contact; difficulty finding the information they’re looking for; and the inability to chat with a healthcare representative via the website in real time.

What’s more, 65% of survey respondents decide on which healthcare providers to use based on their website at least part of the time. Three-quarters (73%) rely on online reviews, while nearly a third (31%) of survey respondents called such online reviews “very important.”

Meanwhile, nearly 70% reported finding value from receiving emails or text messages from a healthcare provider. The appeal of being texted with appointment reminders, guidelines for upcoming tests, or other useful information apparently runs very high.Healthcare and social media

Social media offers healthcare providers a forum through which to provide information. In practice, however, 69% of patients surveyed don’t consider a social media presence important for healthcare professional.

Mobile does matter, the survey says.

When asked to grade healthcare providers on how well they have embraced the web, more than half of survey respondents were tied between issuing a B (good) or C (fair) rating. When it came to healthcare’s use of mobile to connect with patients, survey participants drifted more toward issuing a C rating.

Nearly one-third of survey respondents expressed some difficulty in accessing and navigating healthcare-related sites through a mobile device, while 43% said they typically visit healthcare-related websites via a desktop computer.

While patients put mobile text messaging with healthcare providers towards the top of the list of communication choices, only 19% report being able to communicate with providers this way, and 37% say they can’t even reach providers via email.

Here is the complete wish list of website features, as ranked by patients:

#1: Ease of finding information and responses to questions
#2: Ease of contact via various preferred methods
#3: Healthcare professional biographies
#4: Information about healthy living topics like dieting, smoking cessation, or how to avoid the flu
#5: Pleasant looking and easy to navigate site
#6: Photos of healthcare facilities and the professionals working there

“Using the web to communicate in regulated industries such as healthcare is challenging,” said Kentico CEO and Founder Petr Palas. “However, healthcare providers seem to have made significant strides in recent years in the use of the web to connect with patients in meaningful ways. Patients are reacting positively to what they have seen so far, but clearly they want much more. The survey suggests that healthcare providers need to continue to adapt to the mobile, real-time habits of future generations.”

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