Healthcare communication has changed immensely. What used to refer to doctor-patient communication now includes much more. The new ways of communication in our daily lives are also changing the way patients communicate with their healthcare and insurance providers.
In 2022, we expect the existing healthcare communication trends to intensify. One of the major healthcare trends is live and in-app chat messaging: download our eBook to find out how it supports achieving an excellent patient experience.
Here are the healthcare communication trends for 2022
1. The need for secure healthcare communication is on the rise
Statistics show that data security breaches in healthcare are getting worse. More precisely, there is a 25% year-over-year increase in healthcare data breaches according to HIPAA Journal. Moreover, the total cost of data breaches in the healthcare industry in 2020 was a staggering $13.2 Billion.
Even though healthcare-related businesses must comply with HIPAA regulations, data breaches still happen. This leads to a lack of trust between patients and healthcare providers.
When patients’ PHI (Protected Health Information) is compromised, they are less likely to stay with their current healthcare provider. Research shows that people are more privacy-conscious than ever before: 32% of people are willing to or have already switched companies or providers over their data privacy policies.
Due to the risk of losing their patients, Health Tech, insurance companies, and healthcare providers must ensure secure healthcare communication. That’s why they opt for HIPAA-compliant chat: that way they can rest assured knowing that they took maximum precautions to protect their chat communications.
➡️ Find out what are the 10 best HIPAA-compliant messaging tools.
HIPAA compliance includes several technologies to protect patients’ PHI. Encryption, self-deployment, access controls, and other techniques are used to minimize the possibility of data breaches. For healthcare-related businesses, adjusting the software to make its use HIPAA compliant is a must.
In healthcare, we see a lot of on-premise deployment compared to other industries. In 2019, on-premise deployment captured around 54% of all solutions implemented in healthcare.
For healthcare communication tools, on-premise deployment ensures that all communication never goes out: you are in full control of your data.
2. Digital communication is the new norm
20% of patients feel they cannot easily reach their doctor’s office. This is no wonder since patients spend on average 8 minutes on the phone when scheduling medical appointments, and their calls get transferred 63% of the time.
Moreover, the way we communicate altogether is changing. Younger generations are especially prone to using instant messaging and chat solutions in their daily lives - and this goes both for private conversations and talking to businesses.
In healthcare, the digital communication trend is evident in the following numbers:
- 57% of patients expect doctors to send automated text, voice, or email reminders.
- 68% of consumers choose healthcare providers that offer to book, change, and cancel appointments online.
Digital capabilities are what sets healthcare providers apart. Patients want to schedule doctor appointments online easily; they want reminders for follow-up care; they want lab test results delivered digitally.
Why live-chat support? Live chat solutions on websites and in-app chats have become a staple in customer support. 41% of consumers prefer live chat as a customer support channel.
In healthcare communication, chat solutions have undeniable advantages for patients and businesses alike. By integrating with other solutions, automation possibilities (and therefore increased operational efficiency) are better than ever.
However, there is still the danger of data security breaches, and as we learned, those risks are high for healthcare-related businesses.
3. Need for patient-centric healthcare communication
Patients are consumers. Healthcare-related businesses should look into customer service best practices in order to optimize their patient experience.
One of the main pillars of customer support calls for a customer-centric approach. Following this logic, healthcare communication should be patient-centric.
In the age of digital healthcare communication, this calls for systems inoperability. In order to give full attention to patients and have their issues resolved in timely manner, chat solutions need to be integrated with self-scheduling software, Electronic Medical Records (EMR), and other systems needed to resolve patient issues faster.
Interoperability and automation increase healthcare chat’s operational efficiency. Chatbots are another way to focus on patients. Research shows that 52% of patients acquire their health data through the use of healthcare chatbots.
Chatbots can serve to answer FAQs like insurance claims, documents, symptoms, and more.
4. It’s time to get over language barriers
Language barriers in healthcare lead to poor patient experience and more importantly, miscommunication. Poor understanding between patients and healthcare providers can lead to unsatisfactory medical treatment and decreased patient safety.
Medical providers have long been aware that language barriers are one of the biggest problems in healthcare communication. However, solutions such as hiring interpreters lead to increased costs and longer treatment visits.
On the other hand, digital healthcare communication is one of the easiest ways to get over language barriers. A study found that implementation of online translation tools such as Google Translate and MediBabble increase the satisfaction of patients to 92%.
Moreover, live chat and chatbot solutions in healthcare can be multilingual. This would enable customer support in multiple languages. It would make it easier for patients to navigate your website, get lab results, schedule medical appointments, and more - all in their native language.
5. Improving communication skills
New technologies in healthcare communication have enabled research centers, labs, doctors, nurses, patients, and others to collaborate more than ever before.
However, we still need more effective communication and collaboration in healthcare.
Why? Because miscommunication cost $1.7 Billion and nearly 2000 lives between 2009 and 2013. CRICO’s research found that communication issues were a contributing factor in 30% of malpractice claims filed in that period.
Healthcare communication has been improved with digital technologies. The use of smart devices and other communication solutions has made healthcare communication more streamlined and efficient. But, there’s still room for improvement - and healthcare providers should always look for ways to decrease costs and deliver better service to patients.
6. Healthcare communication needs to get invisible
Many healthcare-related businesses are already using digital healthcare communication tools. If they didn’t use to, the pandemic has propelled them to do so.
Still, we see many communication technologies in healthcare fractured. In a lot of cases, patients still need to navigate multiple platforms for different tasks.
That’s why in 2022, healthcare providers, Health Tech, and insurance companies should aim to make their communication systems invisible. This means that the patients’ user experience in booking medical appointments, receiving lab results, and others should be seamless.
In other words, healthcare-related businesses should aim to realize the full potential of virtual care beyond one-time transactions.
7. Smart healthcare communication investments ensure long-term cost savings
Investing in healthcare communication is costly, and the implementation of different systems can be complex. Still, smart investments in healthcare communication ensure long-term cost efficiency.
Deloitte-Scottsdale Institute Survey found that 92% of healthcare-related businesses invest in technological advancements to increase consumer satisfaction and engagement.
Such investments also reduce the pressure on healthcare professionals by eliminating repetitive work.
Another example of cost savings is implementing chatbots in healthcare communication - they have already saved around $3.6 Billion for health systems so far.
Rocket.Chat supports healthcare communication with a flexible, self-hosted solution
Rocket.Chat is a versatile, yet robust communication platform that healthcare providers, Health Tech, and insurance companies use to connect with their patients.
Our HIPAA-ready chat helps to automate key touchpoints, improve provider collaboration, reduce phone calls, and more. This patient-centric healthcare communication tool enables healthcare-related businesses in providing patient-centric support on their website and as an in-app chat.