Want to improve patient relationships? Let them express their preferences

Want to improve patient relationships? Let them express their preferences

April 03, 2020
Jeff Jarvis
By Jeff Jarvis

Selecting preferences is commonplace in our digital world. Users subscribe or unsubscribe from email lists, request notifications from their favorite brands, and update their privacy settings on social media networks. It’s a win-win for both parties; consumers receive relevant communications when they are given a voice regarding their areas of interest, preferred frequency, and preferred communication channel. Likewise, businesses get better ROI on their campaigns and build trust and loyalty with their customer base. These principles apply to healthcare organizations and their patients as well.

Healthcare marketing teams are granted first-hand insight to unique customer characteristics and interests- the ultimate opportunity to give patients exactly what they want and to enhance relationships. And patients now expect it; especially in view of strict regulations including TCPA and CCPA. However, while preference collection is important, how a business manages that information is critical to maintaining compliance. Unfortunately, many organizations still miss the mark.

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The first step is for healthcare marketing executives to understand their needs. Not all preference management platforms are created equally; yet many companies try to take the easy way out, choosing to leverage an existing system that is not designed to meet the needs of complex organizations. For example, the majority of SMS and email service providers have built-in preference collection interfaces, where data is stored within the system and provides access to administrators. While this approach provides basic functionality and may meet the needs of healthcare facility offices with a sole communication channel, larger healthcare organizations or providers face complex challenges, requiring more robust and integrated technology. All too often, large healthcare companies with multiple departments and communication touchpoints require a more sophisticated solution to better service their patients and avoid compliance risk. They are simply unaware of the risks they assume, and opportunities forgone by relying on a simple preference collection webpage.

Surprising to many organizations, preference and consent collection is not a simple issue to tackle. DIY solutions lack proper governance that drives preference management capabilities and fail to distribute information across the entire enterprise, leaving each business unit with varied perspectives of a patient and their preferred communications. Without a unified view of the patient, each department risks sending impersonal communications to those who have made the effort to share their preferences. Further, compliance is jeopardized by the systems’ inability to record consent history and track changes to preferences. In the wake of a violation accusation, patient consent and preference history is essential to defend your company. As the amount of data escalates and regulations continue to evolve, employing an oversimplified preference collection webpage heightens the potential for legal battles and presents more alarming issues than it attempts to solve.

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