Monday, October 19, 2015

When was the last time you said "thank you" in ending the patient engagement?

Sometimes, the simplest of actions for patient or healthcare consumer engagement have the most dramatic effect.  Now that is not to say that technology like patient portals, educational materials, online appointment scheduling, use of social media, texting, outreach calls etc., don't make a difference.  They do but are in reality just a technological solution or a process leading to an end. 

The danger in a single focus on the shiny new technologies to engage can lead to unintended consequences, inadvertently alienating the individual or set back the engagement efforts. Engagement is a personal one-on-one experience in a time when all that organization looks for is a quick fix thinking that technology can save the day.

Successful engagement of patients and healthcare consumers is a two-pronged approach that is both technological and human in nature.  I have written much in the past about the technological approach and the need for effective interaction and engagement. But today’s post is really about the human side of engagement.  And that is simply saying thank you at the end.

Thank you to the doctor for trusting the provider with his or her patients.

Thank you to the family member or significant other for visiting and being part of the person’s care network.

Thank you for the healthcare consumer or patient for choosing you as the provider.

Thank you to your staff for their work.

I know that is not sexy technologically-driven marketing.  But it meets a basic human need to be appreciated and recognized as an individual. Everyone will say we do that already in one form or another. But I ask you to examine that statement or thought. Spend some time watching and listening in on how that thank you is delivered.   You may be very surprised.

Patient or healthcare consumer engagement is more than pushing messages out, using social media, or population health analytics providing on some level predictive actions based on data what an individual will need. 

Don’t forget that on the other side of those care alerts, smartphones, emails and educational materials that there is a person.  Not a member of a population health group. Not just a member of an insurance plan.  But a breathing living human being, whose needs, desires, hopes, dreams and actions crave to be effectively and meaningfully engaged.

Saying thank you to the patient or healthcare consumer ends the process on the right foot.   

Sometimes the simplest of actions can lead to the greatest engagement benefits.

Thank you for reading and being engaged.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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