The Digital Front Door: The Healthcare Strategy You’re Missing for Improved Patient Engagement

Author: Ravi Kalidindi
A nurse works on transferring data to a digital patient platform in anticipation of her practice adopting a digital front door in healthcare.

In today’s modern and digitized world, we need to meet patients where they are more than ever. The fact is, healthcare has already been consumerized, and to keep up, we have to embrace it.

Across all industries, businesses now provide customers with a digital front door experience. Consequently, patients expect this kind of experience at your healthcare facility as well.

What Is a Digital Front Door in Healthcare?

At its core, the digital front door in healthcare is any means of offering convenient electronic access to patients anywhere along the patient journey. This access often includes the ability to complete administrative tasks remotely, such as scheduling, patient intake, or billing.

These are some hallmark features of digital front doors in healthcare:

  • Virtual access. Patients can access information and complete items on their healthcare to-do list wherever they are and on devices they’re already comfortable with, such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops.
  • Flexibility. Patients are allowed to handle a lot of activities at their own convenience without waiting for office hours. If they need to request an appointment, they can do so whether it’s right after waking up or just before bed.
  • Self-service capabilities. Patients can request information and education, complete forms and screenings, schedule appointments, and access their own charts and records without the help of office staff.

What Is Included in a Healthcare Organization’s Digital Front Door?

Some of the most important features of a digital front door strategy may consist of:

  • An informative website that lists conditions the practice treats and treatments they offer to help patients educate themselves.
  • A reservation system that allows patients to schedule or request appointments.
  • Patient access to telehealth services.
  • A digital forms solution that allows patients to complete patient intake, check-in, and consent forms prior to visit.
  • Patient engagement tools such as personalized reminders, health outreach campaigns, and broadcast messages.
  • Two-way texting capability to allow patients to contact the office without making a phone call (and vice versa).
  • A request submission and queuing mechanism to allow patients to submit requests during non-office hours.
  • Patient experience tooling to closely monitor and improve patient satisfaction and your online presence.

Essentially, a digital front door strategy makes anything a patient would talk to their practice’s staff about (scheduling, front desk, billing, medical) accessible digitally.

Infographic: The Digital Front Door: The Healthcare Strategy You’re Missing for Improved Patient Engagement

How Does a Digital Front Door in Healthcare Differ From a Patient Portal?

If you’re wondering about the difference between a digital front door and a patient portal, you’re not the only one. Many healthcare organizations think of the patient portal as the digital front door, but it’s really just one small part of the overall strategy.

While portals offer patients the convenience of digital access to their medical information, charts, and records, they aren’t a comprehensive solution. Beyond their core purpose, patient portals are typically cumbersome and difficult to use, leaving patients frustrated and unmotivated to use them. Trying to force-fit a patient portal as a complete digital front door solution often results in a fallback to paper-based and manual processes.

Since the digital front door in healthcare is all about patient convenience, patient portals should make up only a small element of your strategy.

How Does a Digital Front Door Benefit Patients?

The digital front door benefits patients by making the completion of tasks for your organization more streamlined, convenient, and accessible. It also increases the likelihood that patients will actually complete them, improving overall health outcomes.

Quote: The Digital Front Door: The Healthcare Strategy You’re Missing for Improved Patient Engagement

How Does a Digital Front Door Benefit Healthcare Providers and Practices?

By making the healthcare process easier for patients, the digital front door facilitates the following benefits for providers and practices:

  • Higher patient retention by having highly aware and engaged patients
  • Higher staff retention by lowering the burden on front-office staff by eliminating manual tasks related to patient intake, scheduling, and check-in.
  • Increased revenue while lowering costs by leveraging a more efficient patient workflow to increase provider utilization while reducing material and staffing costs.
  • Excellent online reputation from satisfied patients, leading to new patient acquisition.
  • Better reimbursements from plans and programs that track quality measures and patient satisfaction data.

Create a Digital Front Door for Your Patients With Simple Interact

A digital front door isn’t difficult to create. You only need to start with a full-service front office automation platform that can help you digitize processes related to patient engagement, scheduling, patient forms, digital check-in, and more.

Contact Simple Interact to request a demo of our front-office automation platform so you can begin improving the healthcare experience with your own digital front door!

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