The patient experience includes more than a video appointment.
Ask any mother working from home with two toddlers if she prefers a video appointment or trekking to the doctor's office with two children in tow. Patients love telehealth, and we want to keep them coming back.
The telehealth patient experience begins with the first email or text. The processes you communicate may include several steps, downloads, and installations. This complexity can lead to visual overload and confusion — the opposite of a positive experience.
Design can help you communicate more clearly.
Adding illustrations and screenshots helps to break up the text into digestible bites and enables you to show and not tell a patient how to navigate. Simplicity is the key.
Check out this BEFORE and AFTER examples.
The AFTER image helps the reader by presenting a limited number of options. It also gives them a specific number to call with technical issues and another number if they need to talk to the doctor's office. The simplicity of this presentation adds to a positive experience.
Follow our telehealth communications and instruction best practices.
- Who owns telehealth communications? To keep telehealth appointments patient-centric, assign a team the responsibility of integrating all new developments. Refine and re-visit communications often. As you collect feedback from patients, the more informed you will become. The patient comments will guide your next step. Internally, there will be software developments, Operations may have new needs, and Communications can help distribute this information.
- Does your subject line communicate essential information? If you are emailing telehealth appointments, the email communication serves as an invitation for the patient and access to their video appointment. If you need the patients to save the email, utilize the subject line and be clear — for example, Save this email: Video Dr. Appointment.
- Will the patient understand the jargon? Within your health system, you may use the term Session Invite for a telehealth appointment. Patients may not understand that term, they do understand Video Appointment Invitation.
- Can you eliminate a click? At this time, your process may require multiple selections by the patient; however, work to eliminate additional steps. The fewer clicks, the better. Make a wish-list for future software development. The change may not be possible now, but it can be a future goal.
- Can a graphic replace a paragraph? Start by writing your instructions. Then see if the copy can be replaced or supplemented with a visual.
- Do you tell patients who to contact? Make sure patients know who to contact for what. If you look at the BEFORE example, it’s unclear who the patient should contact for help. Guide them so they know who to contact for their issue. Do they have technical issues or a medical question the doctor’s receptionist can answer? Funneling calls to the correct party reduces stress for the patient and creates an efficient workflow for your healthcare team.
Keep refining your message. Work towards ease of use, and push for clarity. When the patient experience is kept top-of-mind and IT, Operations and Communications work together, that’s a win for everyone.
Simple language and simple visuals help build an optimal patient experience.
Need a review?
If your telehealth communications need a review, we can help. Email me.