The way we communicate is changing, but the way that we communicate with our patients is not. A recent Becker study concluded that ninety-three percent of adult patients are more likely to select a physician practice that offers email communication. Interestingly enough, in that same study, twenty-five percent of the participants said that they were willing to pay an additional twenty-five dollars per episode for the convenience of email communication. If your practice is looking for a competitive differentiation in the market, mobile patient engagement is it.

At Care Experience, we recently rolled out a pilot program at an imaging center to learn patient preferences on mobile engagement versus traditional point of care feedback systems. We were trying to understand whether a patient preferred to provide feedback at the point of care via a tablet or if we would get greater response by engaging the patient via mobile text and email strategies. Our client was looking to implement a mobile platform to decrease time spent for staff and patients completing surveys during their visit, to decrease risk of staff gaming system at the point of care, and tie specific patient to responses to allow for real-time close-the-loop opportunities.

In order to compare, we isolated a test area within the organization and removed the in-clinic kiosk from their ultrasound department. Using interfaced appointment completion data, Care Experience surveys are automatically triggered to the patient via email and SMS. Patients then have the option to complete the survey via either mode and submit at their own convenience. Once the patient completes the survey they do not have access to complete it again. Real-time actionable data is then sent to the client to allow for close-the-loop opportunities.

This pilot was implemented on October 1st, 2016 and will run through December 31st, 2016. Some of the things we are looking to assess are: utilization rates, percent of responses for email versus SMS, and whether or not responses vary between in-clinic kiosk vs mobile, including percentage of comments left. So far, we have seen minimal varying differences in responses for kiosk vs mobile, however, we have seen a much higher rate of comments left through use of mobile, which will provide us additional data through sentiment analysis.

At this time, we have seen an overall survey completion rate of seventeen percent, which has been steadily increasing over the last six weeks of the pilot. We hope to move this number up to a minimum of thirty percent by the end of the pilot, which would be in line with the national average for HCAHPS response rate.  We have learned from our study that two out of three patients prefer email to SMS texting. This correlation is in line with the Becker study.

Mobile patient feedback can be a game changer for your organization. However, it is a double edged sword. If your organization decides to engage in a mobile patient engagement strategy, it is imperative that you assign a point person in the organization to ensure that patients who participate in mobile engagement are heard. At Care Experience, we are providing solutions that listen to the voice of the patient, analyze the sentiment of the interaction and drive actionable insights to ensure that your organization is on the cutting edge of mobile patient engagement.