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Patient Engagement Strategies

What is PE?  Benefits  Strategies  Software & Tech

The average visit volume in urgent care has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. This is a blessing and a curse — more patients equal more revenue, but it also creates a strain on your resources. And if that negatively impacts the patient experience, you’re losing the opportunity to get those patients to come back.

This is where patent engagement comes in. If used correctly, patient engagement strategies and solutions help not only patients, but your staff and business. Here we will lay out the most important elements of patient engagement. Read through the page or skip to the sections that you need to understand better.

What is Patient Engagement in Urgent Care?

Patient engagement is a broad term used to describe how urgent care staff and providers help patients participate in their healthcare — including choosing a clinic, making an appointment, understanding their condition/treatment, and billing.

While methods employed help patients feel more in control of their own healthcare, they also foster a meaningful relationship between the urgent care brand and the patient. This builds trust and helps patients feel cared about. Patient engagement technology also benefits the clinic, especially when it integrates with the EMR/PM or operating system.

Because PE helps patients make informed decisions about their wellbeing, the end goal of these strategies impact long-term health. In this way, PE also lends to

  • Improving patient outcomes
  • Increasing patient satisfaction/retention
  • Reduce costs for patients’ health, providers, and the healthcare system as a whole
Urgent Care Patient Engagement - Mobile Phone

How Does Patient Engagement Benefit the Clinic?

In a convenience-focused society, it’s easy to see why patient engagement tools make life easier for patients themselves. In fact, these rewards are the ones they will notice most – over their future health.

But modern patient engagement technology does a lot to help the clinics, too. And these benefits all impact the bottom line. Here are some PE solutions features that can make a difference for the clinic itself.

Optimize throughput

With a modern solution that integrates with your EMR/PM, you gain capabilities in online scheduling, online registration, smart queues, text reminders, and more. This reduces a lot of time your staff spends on the front end, especially with registration. Plus, staff can see the queue in real time so they can plan better, like knowing how to stagger their breaks. The faster and more efficiently you can get people through the door, the more patients you can see.

Retain patients

COVID-19 brought a record number of new patients to urgent cares, and patient volumes remain high. But COVID testing and vaccination won’t keep you afloat forever. Some patients were introduced to your clinic for the first time — strong patient engagement can be the key to becoming their go-to clinic for their other episodic needs. Learn more about retaining patients here.

Refine processes

The data you receive from most PE technology will help you set meaningful KPIs, analyze trends, and measure performance. These things will help you make informed decisions to cut time and costs — like with staffing.

Protect your reputation

Setting and tracking the right KPIs with a patient engagement tool will help you monitor patient satisfaction, mitigate negative experiences, and share good reviews. Some examples of KPIs you can use to protect your clinic’s reputation include:

  • Average wait
  • Percentage of patients seen within 30 minutes of arrival
  • Satisfaction with today’s visit
  • Likelihood to return and to recommend
  • Number and quantity of online compliments and complaints
Urgent Care Patient Engagement on Mobile Phone

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Strategies to Increase Patient Engagement

Tracking data shows you how you’re performing, but you need to take action if you want to make an impact on those numbers. Here are some strategies that will help you increase patient engagement.

Offer convenience. Patients have come to expect a certain level of accessibility with their chosen services. And healthcare is no different to them than shopping online or making a restaurant reservation. Make it easy for them to find you with a great online presence, and then let them reserve a place in line and register from their computer or mobile device. Some patients will still call or walk in, but you should give them choices.

Ensure providers can properly engage during the visit. This seems like a no-brainer, but think about how overworked your teams are, especially if you’re understaffed. Making their jobs easier will give them more time to create a meaningful experience for patients. Do this by using EMR/PM tools and other technology that eliminates gaps in efficiency.

Learn more about how to compensate for an understaffed urgent care

Stay connected after the visit. Post-visit digital communication can help you maintain a relationship with your patients. This can include follow-up information about the reason for their visit, like resources about staying healthy. It can also be email campaigns about services you offer or news in healthcare. Most importantly, send them a survey to get their feedback about how the visit went for them. And while it’s common to email these surveys, note that one-question text surveys have a 15-40 percent better response rate than emails.

Encourage online reviews. When you send follow-up communication, provide a link to your Google listing and ask patients to give you a review. Know that it’s okay (and even expected) to get some bad reviews. Not only is that more authentic in Google’s eyes, but it gives you a chance to correct things you may have missed. That said, if you want to be really smart about it, use technology that automatically asks for a review when survey responses are positive. When a patient responds negatively in a survey, this same patient engagement platform can direct them somewhere else, like an inbox, so they can still share their experience in a not-so-public way.

Use reviews and responses to improve.  As you give patients voices through surveys and reviews, don’t forget to actually listen to what they have to say. Additionally, reply to negative reviews and report any improvements you make based on what they said.

Learn more about what staff and providers can do to improve patient engagement

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Patient Engagement Software Solutions and Technology

Patient engagement technology and software refers to patient-facing tools that make scheduling, communication, and healthcare management remotely accessible. It provides convenience for patients as well as a platform to provide feedback and feel heard.

These solutions offer features that are mutually beneficial for patients and clinics. Typically, they automate all the online conveniences mentioned above, like online registration, reserving a place in line, and more. This technology will also help patient engagement make a greater impact on your bottom line.

How to Improve the Patient Experience with Technology

These are some of the more advanced features that technology has to offer on-demand healthcare.

Online scheduling

Patient engagement (PE) technology has come a long way, providing measurable benefits for patients and staff alike. Allowing patients to reserve and view their spot in line does several things:

  • Manages expectations for patients — the wait is more tolerable when they know how long it will be
  • Gives patients a sense of control over their care
  • Allows patients to choose a clinic with a shorter wait, getting them seen earlier and helping to load-balance your facilities
  • Gives staff an accurate sense of volume so they can optimally schedule breaks and know when to ask someone to come in early or stay home

Online registration

You can also let patients fill out their registration information and upload necessary documents like ID and insurance cards. This will drastically reduce check-in time at the clinic, and improve accuracy.

Smart queuing

Similar to making a reservation, getting in a virtual line tremendously helps with wait psychology and wait time. Patients can see the wait in real time and decide whether to choose another clinic, wait at home, or wait in their car. They can even join a line the night before to secure a spot that works well for them the next day. Knowing exactly how long the wait is — and planning when to show up based on that — can give patients a perception of zero wait. This technology gives patients a better experience and gives your staff better visibility into patient volume.

Integrated EMR made for urgent care

While the above comes from PE technology, your EMR should also be saving you steps. But it is most efficient when it is built specifically for urgent care and integrates with your PE and other technology. An EMR that supports the nuances of urgent care will truly help you save time charting, speed up your workflow, improve accuracy, and ultimately — drive revenue.

Get more tips like these for your entire clinic.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Modernizing Your Urgent Care for the New Era

Get the Technology, Integrate with Your EMR

There’s really only one integrable PE tool that is built specifically for urgent care. Experity’s patient engagement solution helps you reduce wait times and front desk effort while boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our automated functionality can help you:

  • See 2.5x more patients with online reservation scheduling and registration
  • Reduce wait times by 80% with smart queuing
  • Earn 2-3x more reviews online with surveys

Experity also delivers insights to measure engagement so you can truly achieve continuous improvement. And in a world that keeps changing, our solutions change right along with it — so you can always keep up with new demand.

See for yourself how easy it is to boost patient satisfaction and clinic efficiency with Experity.

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Patient Engagement - Nurse caring for young patient

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