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Apr 14, 2023

The Power of Email in Patient Engagement: 5 Key Benefits

Even with the transition from multichannel to omnichannel communication, email still remains at the heart of patient engagement. Email addresses are individual identifiers and are crucial data points in the single patient view. Let’s explore how the email channel can deliver key benefits to your patient engagement strategy.

1. Patients Prefer Email Communication

Despite its popularity among patients, the email channel is often overlooked. However, it plays a critical role in an omnichannel patient engagement strategy. Not every patient will be on every channel, but most do have an email address. In 2022, 92% of Americans reported using email, and 49% checked it every few hours. As such, email is an appropriate communication channel for important patient communications.

Not only is email popular, but patients also prefer asynchronous communication that doesn’t interrupt their lives. Patients are more likely to engage with your messaging when you are communicating according to their preferences. When patients’ preferences are met, they have a better experience and will be more likely to return for follow-up appointments and care.

Best of all, email can be secured to meet HIPAA requirements and protect patient privacy, all while providing a patient-first experience.

2. Dynamic Personalization

Today’s patients are seeking out healthcare organizations that can provide a digital experience that fits into their lives. Many people have become accustomed to the personalized digital experiences they receive from other sectors, like retail and personal care. A Redpoint Global survey conducted by Dynata Research found that 45% of patients surveyed expected healthcare brands and providers to proactively contact them at the right time and in the proper context with relevant information about their healthcare journey.

Healthcare providers are at an advantage regarding how much first-party data they can access. However, security and privacy are paramount when using protected health information (PHI) to personalize email content. Securing data to comply with HIPAA regulations and obtaining patient consent for marketing communications is essential to engaging patients with personalized emails. Email communications are easy to opt-in and out of- giving patients full control of how their healthcare data is used.

Once secured, marketers can use PHI to create customized patient journeys that build trust with their healthcare providers. With the single patient view, creating scalable, unique messages is possible. Email is an extremely versatile channel that allows for a high level of personalization. By using dynamic content, it is possible to create messages that address social determinants of health (SDoH). For example, messages can be delivered in the recipient’s primary language, use imagery that is culturally appropriate, and be personalized further to support their preferences.

3. The Power of Automation

For email to be an effective channel in your patient engagement efforts, it can’t rely on one person typing one message to a single patient. The power of omnichannel marketing platforms is that they enable the automatic sending of personalized messages at the right time based on information in patient records.

Setting up trigger-based campaigns makes it easy to pivot based on new patient information. Once the Golden Record is updated with new information about the patient, their healthcare journey can be automatically re-directed according to the new data.

Of course, you may be familiar with workflows triggered by email behavior, such as when a patient opens one email and is sent a different type of email five days later. However, when using an omnichannel platform, actions performed on another channel can also trigger email messages to provide a seamless and unified patient experience across different channels. For example, when a patient reschedules an appointment in the patient portal, the email workflows automatically adjust to send the appointment reminder at the correct time with updated information. Email is a multidirectional channel. It can also be used to encourage patients to visit other channels like social media, patient portals, and websites to further their journey and nudge them into taking specific actions.

4. Alleviate Staffing Stress

The healthcare industry is not immune to recent staffing challenges. Staffing shortages have left fewer employees available to do more tasks, including patient care. Introducing programmatic email into your patient communication strategy can help automate and streamline common workflows. By using dynamic personalization and automation, your staff can spend less time with their fingers on keyboards and more time assisting patients. Trigger-based email flows can remind patients of appointments, collect insurance information, ensure proper medication adherence, and send other relevant healthcare communications. This frees up time for staff to focus on other tasks and relieves some administrative overhead.

5. Real-Time Analytics and Reporting

Email can also provide near-instant performance analytics, so it’s possible to tell what messages are resonating and which are not. In addition, A/B testing makes it simple to test components of your message on a small scale and then send out the winning formats. It’s easy to test email subject lines, calls to action, imagery, and other messaging without a massive investment. Because of these features, personalized email messaging can provide better conversion rates and return on investment than other digital channels. For every $1 spent on email marketing, it delivers a $36 return on investment according to the Litmus State of Email Survey. Since email addresses are tied to a single patient profile, it’s possible to determine what works at an individual level and adjust workflows to meet their preferences based on data.

Secure and Personalized Email Improves Patient Engagement

Email is essential to an omnichannel strategy because of its popularity among patients and its technological advantages. It provides a frictionless digital experience that patients want and improves IT and administrative staff efficiency. Making email a central pillar of your omnichannel patient engagement strategy improves satisfaction, leading to better engagement and retention.

About LuxSci

LuxSci is a security-focused communications company that provides secure email solutions to help healthcare organizations meet compliance requirements and protect patient data at scale. LuxSci’s SecureLine encryption technology enables patient engagement without sacrificing patient privacy. We have protected personal health data since 1999 and are HITRUST certified for HIPAA and GDPR compliance. Visit our website today to learn more.

Steve Zisk 2022 Scaled

Erik Kangas

Founder & CEO at Lux Scientiae, Inc. (“LuxSci”)

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