Driving Patient Loyalty by Connecting Outside the Hospital Early On

Posted by Allie Gouveia and Jenny Johnson on Mar 13, 2018 8:20:00 AM
Allie Gouveia and Jenny Johnson

satisfaction-scale-edited.jpgAs the marketing team responsible for UNC REX Healthcare’s maternity service line, we’re constantly looking for better ways to improve women’s birth experiences at our hospital.

For most patients, their first time at our hospital is when they come to take a birth class in their third trimester, or when they are in labor and arrive to deliver. That means we have to earn their trust months before they actually use our services. Part of our strategy for improving patient experience includes reaching out to future patients to provide education and answer their care questions as early in their pregnancy journey as we can.

In the past year, we’ve made some improvements that have allowed us to connect with a larger percentage of these women, and sooner—as early as their first OB visit to community practices who deliver at the REX Women’s Center.

To Really Impact Patient Behavior, We Need to Engage Patients Earlier

Digitally connecting our hospital pre-registration form to our patient engagement solution has enabled us to reach 65% of women who deliver their babies at REX before they even set foot in our hospital. Practices encourage patients to pre-register for delivery via our website starting at 20 weeks.

This early patient connection gives patients a reliable resource for prenatal information so they can avoid searching Google in the middle of the night with a pregnancy concern! We’re also establishing trust in the care our hospital provides. None of that would be possible without access to patients outside the hospital walls.

One year after we made the change, we’re now making about 15,000 automated patient connections each month.

Our Patient Feedback Shows It’s Working

Our patient engagement email tool also sends surveys asking patients who have delivered at REX and received our care to rate their experience. These surveys are automated based on due dates. Just as it is with enrollment, it’s a hands-off process for us.

Based on answers to these patient satisfaction surveys, we know that:

  • 80% of patients feel the solution makes them more confident to manage their healthcare.
  • 85% take better care of themselves.
  • 90% feel a stronger connection to the hospital.
  • 95% feel they can take batter care of their child

As hospital marketers, it’s helpful to have these patient-reported outcomes to gauge patient satisfaction and to share with our colleagues. With the digital connection and the ability to access a larger percentage of our patients, our data has become even more reliable.

Engaging Physician Practices Can Be a Win-Win

Connecting patients to this care earlier on also helps to strengthen our relationships with the community practices whose physicians deliver at REX. UNC REX Healthcare does not own any OB practices, so all of the patients who deliver at our Women’s Center come from community practices.

For the most part, the hospital and the practices have a symbiotic relationship, but it is a relationship that takes work.

In our case, the community physicians see the early education we provide as a huge win for them and their patients. Their patients say they enjoy getting our care guidance, and the practice physicians appreciate that their patients’ more typical questions are getting answered (which likely means less calls and emails with those same questions to the practice).

The prenatal education we provide contributes to a most positive experience for the patient with their practice. We’ve enjoyed a stronger partnership with physician practices. It has been a win for everyone involved. And, by reaching our patients sooner, we’ve been able to provide better transitions of care to our expectant moms and help them feel better connected to their care and, to us.



Topics: Guest Blog, Patient Engagement, Patient Experience, healthcare marketing