New trends in patient satisfaction emerge during COVID-19
Much like the 9/11 tragedy in 2001 permanently changed life as we knew it, so too does early data suggest that the COVID-19 crisis will result in lasting changes to our way of life, especially for patients and healthcare providers.
Here at RepuGen, we have been watching outcomes over the last few months from our own proprietary database of over 1,200 healthcare providers to see what kinds of trends in patient satisfaction and reputation management are emerging. We are primarily looking at patient satisfaction indicators, and for clues as to how these indicators would in turn uncover themes for improving reputation management.
Our most recent study – the second set of data we have analyzed since the pandemic started -- looked at data from the following practice groups over the last few months: Cardiology, Family Practice, Gynecology, OBGYN, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Primary Care, Sports Medicine and Urgent Care Center.
Patient satisfaction with telehealth visits was higher than compared to office visits for Family Practice, Gynecology and Urgent Care. In the Pediatrics and Podiatry practices, the telehealth visits and office visits scored the same. This may suggest broad patient acceptance of telemedicine and perhaps a continued adoption of it long after the pandemic has subsided.
While we are cautious about this preliminary trend, we do think it indicates some permanent and widespread changes in patient satisfaction and online reputation management, which go hand-in-hand. For instance, many low patient satisfaction scores are due to long wait times or other operational issues, which could be somewhat eliminated if telemedicine continues to be a significant portion of healthcare delivery well beyond COVID-19. And since there is a strong correlation between patient satisfaction and the sentiment of online reviews, this trend could have a lasting impact on a practice’s online reputation.
Further data also suggests utilizing the following strategies for managing an online reputation during and post-pandemic:
- Continue Normal Review Generation Process – there may continue to be a lag in reviews being posted during the pandemic, but patients can still write them, so this unprecedented time still counts.
- Take Advantage of Broadcast Messaging -- send customized emails/texts to your patients to keep them updated of COVID-19 announcements, including telemedicine announcements, office closure announcements, office sanitization measures, etc.
- Utilize E-Cards -- send customized e-cards to your patients with default designs to easily update them on COVID-19 via email.
- Utilize Surveys -- send surveys to your patients who were seen virtually or in-office. It is very important to continue receiving feedback from patients about their experience, especially when a new service like telemedicine has been introduced.
The study discussed here is part of a series of snapshots RepuGen will be sharing throughout the second half of 2020 with the broader healthcare community to help us understand the immediate - and possibly long-term - impact of COVID-19 on patient satisfaction and in turn, online reputation.
Zoom enters the healthcare market - a timeline
Since the pandemic began Zoom has become an integral part of daily life for people working from home, as well as a vital tool for families and friends to communicate. However it's also been eyeing up the healthcare space since 2017, and following the boom in telehealth the company has been rolling out additional services. Here we chart Zoom's move into healthcare.
2011 - 2013
Zoom is founded in San Jose, California, by Eric Yuan, formerly of Cisco. He got the idea to create a video calling platform from his visits to his girlfriend while he was a student, which would take 10 hours by train.
A beta version is released in 2012, which can host up to 15 participants. In 2013 this rises to 25. By mid-2013, Zoom has 1 million users.
2014 - 2017
Zoom attracts investors, including Sequoia Capital, Emergence and Horizon Ventures. By January 2017, Zoom has a series D funding worth $100 million.
2017 - 2019
Zoom for Telehealth launches, including an integration with EHR system Epic. It has cloud-based video, audio, and content sharing features, a "waiting room" for patients, and can easily be integrated into healthcare provider's workflows.
In 2019 Zoom goes public, with its IPO rising 72% in one day.
As a result of the pandemic, Zoom gains 2.2 million new users, more than in the whole of 2019. On the 23rd of March alone - the day the UK lockdown was announced - the platform was downloaded 2.13 million times around the world.
Share prices rise to around $150, and founder and chief executive Eric Yuan becomes one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of $7.9 billion.
Early security issues are addressed by encrypting data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). By now the the platform allows 99 people to be on a call simultaneously
New features launch, including Zoom Home and Zoom for Chats. Throughout the year the platform is used to replace most kinds of real life events: work meetings, online classrooms, church services and social events.
Renamed Zoom for Healthcare, users can share secured video, audio, and content through desktops, mobile phones, and conference devices. As well as Epic, it can be integrated with Strmr, IntakeQ, and Practice Better.
It can also be used with diagnostic cameras and other point-of-care devices, including digital stethoscopes.
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review, Zoom Global Healthcare Lead Ron Emerson said: "Our service is not simply a virtual care and telemedicine platform but a multi-purpose platform that can satisfy the needs of healthcare institutions."
"It can be used for administrative tasks, including telemedicine, medical team meetings, recruitment, medical education, employee training, and disease prevention. Analysing electronic records managed by Zoom could provide meaningful insights into patient care."
Phoenix Children's Hospital, Belfast's Hospital Services Limited, Butler Health Services and the global Project ECHO are among Zoom for Healthcare's current customers.