Patient Touchpoint Strategy

Patient touchpoints or interactions with health care facility and professionals define patient centered care. They determine the total patient experience and satisfaction, affecting not only the clinical tasks but patient outcomes.  With the growth of online and social media, healthcare administrators have new tools to evaluate and effect patient centered care.

California HealthCare Foundation Study of Health 2.0 suggests,

“Innovative collaborations online among groups of patients, medical professionals, and other health care players are challenging the notion that health care happens only between a single patient and doctor in an exam room.”

In the growing Health 2.0 model, online and social media have dramatically increased touchpoints (34% of patients use social media, 46% health portals, 67% search engines).

patient life cycle

Josh D. McGilliard, VP Marketing, Kissito Healthcare commented,

“Touchpoints or places where our brand constituents come in contact with our brand, are considered the underpinnings that hold the Kissito brand together. Whether they are external or internal before or after initial engagement, it is the only way to identify with the constituents on a consistent basis. Social media is becoming an important part of the mix.”

What are the touchpoints for today’s patient?  Now consumers research diseases, best practices, cures, pharmaceuticals on WebMD.  Medical information is shared by TV commercials, radio talk shows, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and brochures in doctor’s office.  Friends share stories and recommendations; patients join online support communities.  Interactions with medical/hospital staff are critical (admissions, billing, doctors, pharmacists, nurses. dietitians, CNAs, aides, social workers, therapists.) Patient discharge plans include regular interactions with case workers. The summation of these points is the Touchpoint Map.

The next step for healthcare professionals is to design a Touchpoint Optimization Strategy that will increase the quality of the total patient experience:

Step 1: Create a Patient Touchpoint Map

Interview a sample of patients to determine which touchpoints relate to their healthcare experience.

Step 2: Evaluate Patient Touchpoints Effectiveness

Determine which of these touchpoints each patient values at each stage of medical intervention (discovery, treatment, discharge, aftercare) referred as the patient life cycle. Then compare these touchpoints in generating conversations and patient relationships, increasing patient satisfaction and comfort level and effecting outcomes.

Step 3: Design Patient Touchpoint Optimization Strategy

Select a cost-effective mix of marketing tools that target your demographic and stage of intervention to increase touchpoints and conversations and improve the patient experience.

Step 4: Assess Patient Touchpoint Optimization Strategy

Evaluate the effect of the strategy in terms of increasing the quality and satisfaction of the total patient experience.

For example, a McKinsey Study of hypertensive patient’s habits for taking their medicines revealed that the adherence practices were related to six patient segments. They included skeptical patients, confident patients, concerned patients, confused patients, resigned patients, and proactive patients. By targeting a Touchpoint Strategy to these segments, the organization can greatly increase the effectiveness on their marketing efforts.