Webinar Recap: 5 Things We Can Learn From U.S. Dermatology Partners’ Patient Engagement Story
Last week, we hosted a webinar featuring U.S. Dermatology Partners’ patient engagement story. Sarah Nguyen, their VP of Applications & Integrations, joined us to talk about keeping up with the changes in healthcare and overcoming the challenges associated with achieving patient engagement across a large, multi-location network.
Michele Perry, Relatient’s CEO, also joined us for the discussion. She shared some insights into technology, adoption, security, and strong customer partnerships. Both Sarah and Michele took questions from webinar attendees at the end who wanted more information about integrations, implementing new patient engagement technology, and advice for those who are just getting started. Below is a recap of their discussion.
5 Things We Can Learn From U.S. Dermatology Partners’ Patient Engagement Story
1. Patient engagement isn’t just for large organizations—it’s pivotal for small practices as well.
You don’t have to be 90+ locations big or span several states to both need patient engagement and have successful options at your fingertips. The same robust solutions that are available to large practices, hospitals, and health systems can also offer the same value to single-provider or small practices. While large organizations with complicated structures may require significant set-up help, customization, and project management—patient engagement solutions can be simplified, integrated to the EHR or patient scheduling system, and implemented in a shorter time frame for smaller organizations, too.
In other words, a patient engagement solution that has features “duck taped on top” of a weak platform will crumble when put to the test, but a robust solution can work effectively for organizations big and small because scalability, security, and integration are strategic components of the foundation.
Sarah adds that the intuitive nature of a solution, both for staff and for patients, as well as the support from your vendor are really important components of success. According to her, Relatient’s platform works effectively “right out of the box” because it’s easy to use and because Relatient is committed to “taking care of you”.
2. For large healthcare organizations, scalability and support are pivotal.
Sarah shared a bit of U.S. Dermatology Partners’ “before” story with us to help us understand what set the stage for change and how they came to prioritize the areas of patient engagement that would be a focus for them.
As Sarah puts it, “we were growing really fast”. The organization started out small—with just one location—but quickly grew as more providers joined forces. The vendor they were using at the time simply couldn’t scale with them and they realized they needed to change their strategies.
Now, at 90+ locations across 8 states, Sarah adds that changes are frequent and they require the kind of support team that can act quickly and stays committed to resolutions as the organization evolves—adding and changing providers, locations, etc.
3. Understanding your workflows is the most important step in getting started.
It isn’t enough to purchase a great solution—it has to fit into your organization’s daily processes in order to drive the desired results. This is what Sarah had to say about their experience:
“Flexibility can be a good and bad thing. (…) It means we can customize but customization requires you to understand where it fits into your process. [It’s important to] have your process mapped and understand each point. We had an entire team that worked with the Relatient team to build out the workflow and that’s what made it really successful.”
Not only is it important to have a solid understanding of your own workflows, but it’s also important to choose a patient engagement partner that will work to understand them as well so they can effectively guide you through implementation and setup. Look for someone who specializes in healthcare and really listens to you and your team.
4. Keeping the pressure on patient no-shows is key to ongoing success.
U.S. Dermatology Partners had already reduced their patient no-show rate, so it would have been easy to make this a “back burner” initiative. But they knew better. “No-shows are one of the most important data points for any office to keep an eye on or it will creep back up”, Sarah said.
They made no-shows a key objective in their patient engagement initiative and knew that their ideal partner had to be able to help them meet both their patient intake and no-show goals together. Sarah added, “I didn’t want to introduce multiple new systems to our already complex infrastructure that our staff and patients would have to learn so it was important to us that we had one patient engagement platform that could be used by many and in many ways”.
5. Patient-centered outreach is mobile-first and multi-modal
U.S. Dermatology Partners knew portals, apps, and kiosks wouldn’t cut it when it came to patient adoption and without patient adoption, their investment would fall flat. They also knew that their patients spanned a variety of demographics, meaning a “one size fits all” strategy wouldn’t work. While the majority of their patients would be most responsive to text communication, their older patients were most comfortable communicating over voice calls. They applied the same mentality to their intake strategy, incorporating the use of text and email to distribute pre-registration links and providing options for patients to register in-office if needed.
If you’re interested in hearing more about how U.S. Dermatology Partners improved patient communication, solved the patient intake bottleneck, and continues to keep their no-shows minimal, you can watch or listen to the webinar replay here.