The following is a guest blog post by Chelsea Kimbrough from Stericycle Communication Solutions, as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
I recently had a bad healthcare experience. I received functional care, but I wasn’t cared for. As in, I’m fairly certain my doctor didn’t know my name when she walked into the room or when she left it. To her, I was another patient in a crowded schedule. To me, it was a rushed, impersonal experience that left me with absolutely no desire to trust my wellbeing in her hands.
As someone who is familiar with the healthcare space, I’m the first to admit that finding a new provider is hard work – and finding one that meets each of your communication expectations is even harder. But after that appointment, I was more than up for the challenge.
It’s important to note that I’m a proud millennial who is accustomed to the service and support provided in other industries. When I wanted to make a dinner reservation last night, I did it via a mobile app. When I needed a great blazer to wear to a conference, I requested one in my clothes subscription box. I am an all-access-at-all-hours type of person. So when it came time to schedule an appointment, I turned to the place where I, the consumer, felt I had the most power: the internet.
But first, I needed to find a new doctor. I leveraged a process that went something like this:
- I opened multiple review-focused sites.
- I searched for what I needed (i.e. ‘family practitioner within 10 miles of my zip code’).
- I filtered results to ensure my search only displayed doctors with the rating and characteristics I prefer.
- I began the tedious process of cross referencing their profiles on different sites.
- When I thought I found a keeper, I scoured their organization’s website for more information.
- And then, I dug into any information I could find online to learn more about the doctor.
This process eliminated doctors who had poor reviews, who lacked information available online, and who had questionable posts on social media. (Seriously, everything is available online these days – and digitally-savvy patients like me will find it.)
In the end, I narrowed my search to a handful of local, highly-rated doctors and organizations. But what I was searching for wasn’t just someone with a great online rating and an office close to my front door, I was looking for someone who:
- Communicates information quickly via text message
- Calls patients to communicate more important messages
- Offers online scheduling that doesn’t require a formal login
- Keeps average wait times down
- Creates genuine connections with their patients
In short, I wanted to find an organization that provides exceptional in-person care, prompt telephone support, and convenient technology-based tools. Anyone who seemed lacking was unceremoniously crossed off my ‘potential new doctor’ list. And I’m not the only one who goes to these lengths: in today’s digitally-empowered world, there are more healthcare consumers than ever flexing their online search superpowers before entrusting their care to any healthcare professional.
Unfortunately, the process isn’t perfect. Bad experiences happen, and when they do, patients like me may choose to look elsewhere for care. On the other hand, when we find a healthcare organization that does provide all of the above, we receive a more seamless, enjoyable experience. And when met with a better experience, we are less likely to choose a different provider, facility, or organization to provide future care.
Want to learn more about consumer-minded patients’ healthcare journeys? Check out our patient journey infographic here!
The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality telephone answering, appointment scheduling, and automated communication services. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services. Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media: @StericycleComms