When COVID-19 first hit we witnessed a swift and immediate change in clinic messaging priorities. Clinics focused their attention and resources on patient communication, primarily via broadcast messaging, to keep large numbers of patients updated on the evolving pandemic and maintain care pathways. In exchange, we saw that clinics deprioritized acquisition and retention initiatives, including referral managementment, and temporarily reduced dependency on smart waitlists. In-person office visits and ambulatory care became increasingly limited and appointment reminders — which previously accounted for 50% of all messages sent to patients — were less needed.
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Nonetheless, as the distribution of message content shifted during the pandemic, patient engagement remained consistent or, in some instances, even increased. As a case study, the graph below shows consistent patient engagement rates with regard to appointment reminders, even as appointment reminder message volumes significantly decreased throughout the months of March and April.
At its lowest, patient engagement for appointment reminders dipped only 2 percentage points as compared to pre-COVID engagement rates. We see similar trends across other components of Luma Health’s Total Patient Engagement Platform: patient scheduling, including smart waitlist, maintained consistent engagement; patients were just as likely to engage with feedback and reputation management messaging; acquisition retention, specifically inbound referrals, saw a slight increase in engagement.
The initial disruption in messaging priorities has, in recent weeks, begun to normalize. Most notably, appointment reminder message volumes during the months of May and June steadily climbed back pre-COVID volumes. We anticipate that the distribution of messaging content will continue to evolve as clinics progress through the five-stage framework for managing COVID-19. In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, Luma Health’s total patient engagement platform allows clinics to be nimble in restructuring patient communication while maintaining patient engagement.