How Multichannel Communications Play a Vital Role in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals are under a lot of pressure, as are their patients, who often have to balance complex health issues with their busy lives. Accessing information and receiving treatment is a challenge, and the gap between them is one that providers are all too familiar with. 


Understanding customer needs and behavior, both on and offline, is key to connecting and engaging with your audience. With today’s busy lifestyles, the more options providers can offer patients, the better: happier patients, more flexibility, and suitable communication. In turn, this means higher engagement rates and ultimately better health.


The landscape is changing and different customer types need to be factored in. Having an effective multichannel approach is key. In this article, we’re going to offer tips on how a multichannel approach will play an increasingly important role in healthcare. 


Why is a Multichannel Approach Important?


According to one study by Millward Brown Digital, 55% of senior marketers did not feel confident in their company’s “understanding of the customer journey”. This lack of understanding is down to an ever-growing array of channels: “Ten years ago there weren’t as many engagement channels, whereas now we have so many channels we’ve basically lost the customer. We don’t know where they are, or how they work with us. I’m not even sure the customer knows this,” says Gartner’s Global Research Director Brian Manusama explains.   


Nine out of ten marketers report higher profits when using multichannel strategies. In the healthcare industry, providers report a more than 40% improvement in conversions when using multichannel marketing. When it comes to healthcare, knowing where the customer is and how to contact them is vital for engagement. Otherwise, they’re far less likely to seek the help they need and keep up with treatment plans. This is why it’s important to tailor your approach. 


How to Deliver a Customer-Focused Approach 


Getting to grips with real-life customer behavior is key to an effective multichannel approach. This means knowing what your audience wants instead of relying on guesswork. Researchand lots of itforms the backbone of this. What do they want to achieve? How will they do that? How do they currently behave? Which channels do they use? These are all important questions to answer before you begin.


Here’s how healthcare organizations and providers can deliver a customer-focused approach:  


  • Map the Patient Journey 

Start by creating a customer journey map. A customer journey map is a diagram that tracks every touchpoint your customer or patient is likely to encounter on their journey with your organization. This could include email, telephone, social media, live chat, video calls, in-person conversations, etc. 


Mapping out the journey provides insight into where patients are likely to be at any given stage of their journey, as well as how they might be feeling. This makes it easier to address pain points and personalize the customer experience to suit their anticipated mood and needs. 

A customer journey map tracks each of the customer’s touchpoints, including how they might be feeling at each stage. This makes it easier to tailor offerings to match their mood (Image Source). 


By mapping this out, content delivery and interaction options can be more relevant, and more in-line with what patients need. Assumptions can be challenged and corrected, and processes can be refined. This, in turn, yields better results.


  • Embrace ‘No One Size Fits All’ 


There will be different strategies for different channels depending on the needs of the customers involved. Once you know where your patients are, what they’ll want, and at what times, channels can be chosen accordingly. For example, elderly or immobile patients who are unable to travel often or far can benefit from telehealth and telemedicine as a practical solution. For practitioners managing those living with chronic conditions, chronic care management, digital care, and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) means they can tap into regular data-driven insights to provide better support for their patients. 


Once you’ve decided which channels are appropriate, it’s important to roll them out properly. Choose a platform that comes with an easy-to-use interface. Ensure practitioners know how to use it, so they can then pass this knowledge onto patients. Also, make sure the platform includes a range of accessibility options so everyone can use it.


Patients often use a range of devices to answer health questions, research doctors, and book appointments. If the platform itself isn’t easy to use or doesn’t feel safe, secure, and trustworthy, it will remain unused and your investment will all be for nothing. 


  • Use a Blend of Channels 


Switching between platforms and devices is common customer behavior. Multichannel approaches connect these interactions to create a seamless patient journey that carries patients and practitioners flawlessly from one stage through to the other. 


Remember, these days no single channel is used by itself. Patients and doctors use a range of devices to navigate, as well as need a variety of communication channels to choose from. Knowing which routes, and in which order, makes it easier to be there for the user at that time. This increases the likelihood of engagement.


When it comes to content, healthcare providers should embrace a range of channels that are easy to trust. Some physicians use social media platforms to discuss health news and clinical studies. There are also telehealth platforms, and face-to-face visits, which will always have a place. 


Most importantly, ensuring a seamless interaction between all of these channels means they become more than the sum of their parts. For example, a cold call and an interaction with a chatbot doesn’t mean much, but when a customer chats to someone online then requests a phone call, the combination means so much more. 


  • Measure Your Progress


You won’t know how well your strategy is working unless you measure it. This has a dual purpose: measuring your progress helps you identify what’s working and what’s not. Hence, you can fix pain points and discover what works best in terms of channels, contact, and content. It also shows you how good your return on investment is: if the results are positive, it makes sense to consider investing more.


Final Thoughts 


Taking a multichannel approach gives providers and patients a seamless, personalized experience. Successfully adopting this approach brings many benefits, including a stronger sense of trust, a unified experience that fosters engagement, and makes it easier for patients to keep up with programs. 


Successful multichannel marketing involves a considered process that reflects addressing what your audience needs, incorporating those needs into the platforms and messaging you use, then measuring the results and improving to achieve better outcomes for your patients.


How Can ChronWell Help?


ChronWell offers a range of chronic care management solutions, including telehealth, telemedicine, and Remote Physiologic Monitoring that make it easy for practitioners and patients to connect in a way that works for them. If you’d like to find out more about incorporating digital healthcare solutions into your multichannel strategy, speak to one of our experts today.


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