Patient Engagement Strategies for Getting Fast Insights After a Visit

Ashley Worrall
March 1st

After patients walk through the doors of your facility, they see a provider (or sometimes more than one), get the care they need, and, more often than not, they’re sent on their way. The interaction may feel complete. But sometime after leaving the four walls of a hospital or clinic, individuals receive patient experience surveys asking how they rate their interactions. And the truth is that many of these listening tools are sent too late and lack supportive elements to improve engagement.  

So how do organizations do a better job of engaging patients away from the clinical setting?  

Providers must fill in gaps that traditional post-discharge protocols miss. This includes sending a survey soon after patients leave, and asking questions relevant to your service, your initiatives, and the patient — considering demographics and personalized journeys in the process. But before diving too deep into patient engagement strategies that can help with this goal, it’s essential to understand the complexity of patients’ care journeys.

Free eBook – Engaging Your Patients: Pre, During, and Post Encounter

Understanding Experience Through a Healthcare Engagement Framework

Though care journeys aren’t always linear, there are several touchpoints patients commonly witness across interactions with providers. And within these distinct steps exist opportunities to engage individuals and better support outstanding patient experiences. Here are some common care journey encounters:

The Patient Journey

To effectively reach and support patients post-visit and beyond, Feedtrail recommends a proven rubric of patient engagement strategies, including: 

1. Incentivizing comprehensive postvisit patient experience surveys

These are the bread and butter of post-discharge patient engagement strategies. You want to ask questions that get to the heart of an encounter and glean actionable information so you can know exactly what you’re doing well and how you can improve. While short and sweet patient experience surveys generally generate better response rates, occasionally you’ll want to find out more after people leave the four walls of your hospital or clinic. That’s where incentives can play a key role. For example, one organization we work with sends a long, comprehensive survey to patients every other year. To boost participation, it decided to offer patients a chance to win a $100 gift card subsequently increasing response rates by 20%. Whether you use short, initiative-specific surveys or gather more comprehensive information after individuals exit your facility, Feedtrail’s flexible survey tools help you uncover powerful insights to inform impactful changes. 

2. Using postappointment patient engagement technology for follow-up

The patient experience doesn’t end at the exit sign. Thus, whether making sure individuals take medication as prescribed or resolving billing issues, you want to continue to support people after they leave your facility. Your patients’ outcomes could depend on it. For example, not adhering to treatment plans has been tied to worsening disease control, increased expenditures, more hospitalizations, and other negative results. Extending your patient engagement strategies beyond surveys to simplify care journeys fosters better loyalty and strengthens patient-provider connections. One Feedtrail client realized their patients often had difficulty paying their bills not because of financial issues, but because they didn’t understand their bills or how to navigate payment processes. The hospital began sending billing surveys 60 days post-visit to see if patients understood their invoices, to assess whether they thought charges were accurate, and to share how to get assistance from the billing department if needed. In the first year after implementing this survey, the organization resolved over 150 issues that would have prevented or delayed payments. 

3. Sending messages to help patients navigate next steps

Often, a single encounter doesn’t reflect the entirety of a healthcare engagement. For example, patients commonly continue treatment regimens over several days, weeks, or months or individuals must follow specific protocols when healing at home. Whatever the case, sharing next steps with your patients at the right time through accessible communication channels helps ensure successful continuation and completion of care plans. For instance, a bariatric surgery center needed a way to ensure patients followed the proper care instructions at home before and after their surgeries. The healthcare organization partnered with Feedtrail to distribute perfectly timed messages conveying next steps that helped deliver information to patients, provide them the opportunity to ask questions, and even improve outcomes. Feedtrail’s agile patient engagement solutions let you deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right patient. 

4. Post-discharge thank you messages

A simple thank you can go a long way in strengthening patient experiences, creating connections, and potentially smoothing over difficulties experienced during healthcare visits. Feedtrail sends your desired thank you messages automatically and even delivers additional useful information to the patient by directing them to your website, social media review pages, or wherever you’d like patients to go. Using our patient engagement solutions, one surgery center improved its patient retention by simply sending out a thank you message six weeks after surgery. The message checked in with each patient to make sure they felt well after their procedures and offered resources to assist them with various aspects of long-term care. Within six months, the organization saw a noticeable increase in follow-up appointments. 

5. Supporting transitions of care

Some of the trickiest aspects of patient experiences occur within gaps between care settings — such as when patients are shifted to different providers, moved between departments, or transitioned to at-home care. Feedtrail can illuminate these fragmented moments so your team can access actionable feedback during times of change. An inpatient organization’s team noticed their patient experience (PX) scores were declining among patients with longer stays. After trying several tactics to improve various aspects of care, they turned to Feedtrail. Using questions designed to collect data during transitions of care, the facility learned that communication during handoffs between care providers needed to be improved. PX scores began to rise after resolving that issue.

Free eBook – Engaging Your Patients: Pre, During, and Post Encounter

6. Collecting patientreported outcomes

One aspect that’s crucial for patient-centered care is monitoring how your patients are doing when they’re not in front of your providers. That’s where sending out quick surveys that help patients self-report blood pressure, blood sugar levels, ongoing symptoms, and more can play a key role. One organization used Feedtrail’s patient engagement solutions to boost participation with its initiative to encourage patients to self-report their blood pressure numbers using at-home cuffs. Compliance improved immediately, allowing care team members to focus on patients who needed treatment rather than resources to figure out who those patients were. 

7. Surveying for social determinants of health (SDOH)

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are non-medical factors that influence health outcomes, including income level, education level, and access to transportation. Whether you’re collecting SDOH information for government reporting purposes or just because you want to better understand and serve your patient communities, Feedtrail’s got you covered. One leading healthcare organization needed to boost its response rate of health equity and social determinant surveys to meet regulatory responsibilities. With Feedtrail, the provider’s team easily and quickly modified their listening strategy to include demographic questions. Not only did they receive far more responses than necessary to fulfill reporting, but they were also alerted to gaps in their services that were disproportionately affecting already underserved groups. Armed with this new information, they were able to improve patient experiences across the population they serve.

8. Implementing reputation management

If your patients love you (and why wouldn’t they?), then they’ll want to talk about your organization with their friends and family. So, you should give them as large a megaphone as possible. The best way to do that? Direct them to your social media review sites. Doing so can help your online ratings reflect the incredible services you provide. One large hospital system’s team knew from their patient experience scores that they were delivering excellent service, but their online reviews simply didn’t match. Only 70% of their providers had Google reviews, and their average score was stuck at 3.3/5. After using Feedtrail’s Reputation Management tool, they witnessed incredible results. Within one month, 91% of providers had feedback on the board and the organization’s new average rating surged to a 4.78/5.

Narrow Down Your Patient Engagement Solutions With Feedtrail 

No experience management process is complete without a post-visit component. But it’s not as simple as sending out some standard questions and waiting to get responses. Smart organizations know that asking the right questions at the right time to the right patients can surface valuable information. They also understand that questions are just one way to engage with patients. Following up after an appointment, helping facilitate at-home care, sending journey-specific reminders, and even shooting off simple thank you messages can all help strengthen the bond between patients and your care teams. With the Feedtrail Experience Management (XM) platform, you can do all of this and then some with the flexibility to foster loyalty, decrease churn, and impact your bottom line with personalized patient engagement strategies and actionable insights. Learn more:

Feedtrail - Healthcare Experience Management