16 March 2022
How live chat can help health providers
Live chat has become increasingly important for healthcare providers. In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of the best live chat provider for healthcare organisations and practices.
Most people automatically conjure up images of treatment rooms and doctors sitting at desks when they think about medical appointments. In recent years, healthcare has evolved dramatically. Although many patients still need to see a healthcare professional face-to-face or access inpatient services, virtual consultations, telemedicine and live chat are increasingly influential. During the pandemic, virtual appointments, phone calls and live chat have provided healthcare practices and businesses with opportunities to engage with patients safely and conveniently. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the benefits of live chat for health providers.
The benefits of live chat for health providers
Healthcare providers have faced unprecedented challenges in the last two years. Innovative online services, such as web chat, have helped practices to overcome obstacles and keep channels of communication open. Statistics show that the proportion of GP appointments delivered online or by phone rose from 15% in February 2020 to 48% in October 2020 (source). Here are some of the key benefits of live chat:
- Seamless, swift appointment booking
In years gone by, to make an appointment, patients called a clinic or surgery, spoke to a receptionist and arranged a consultation. This process could take several minutes, especially during busy times when phone lines were engaged. One of the primary benefits of live chat is the opportunity to simplify and speed up the process of making appointments. This is beneficial for employees and customers.
- Freeing up valuable time for staff
Healthcare practices are under growing pressure. Live chat software enables patients to access information, seek advice and ask questions without speaking to employees or making calls or sending emails. In many cases, live chat provides solutions for customers at the same time as freeing up valuable hours for practice teams.
- Catering to patient preferences
Offering live chat enables healthcare providers to cater to patient preferences. Some people prefer in-person appointments, some would rather make a telephone call and some like to chat online. Statistics show that 41% of people prefer live chat to any other support channel.
- Providing effective solutions for different scenarios
There are myriad reasons why a patient may need to contact their doctor or a medical or dental clinic. By providing a diverse range of contact options, practices can offer solutions for different scenarios. Live chat is ideally suited to patients who have questions or general queries, such as how to make an appointment or when clinics are open, for example. By providing a quick, convenient platform, healthcare providers can ensure that customers get the help they need while also freeing up time for patients who need to see or speak to a doctor or nurse urgently.
- Real-time engagement
Engagement is key in a sector where trust and confidence in healthcare professionals are essential. During the pandemic, patients have missed out on opportunities to visit practices and health centres, which could have impacted on engagement and left patients feeling helpless or isolated. Live chat is a means of encouraging engagement, building strong ties, communicating in real-time and establishing trust. Patients can raise concerns, speak to people they trust and get the information and reassurance they need, even when they can’t attend appointments in person.
- Creating a safe, secure space
One of the main reasons people respond positively to telemedicine and live chat is a feeling of safety and security. Studies suggest that up to two-thirds of people avoid going to the doctor, even if they don’t feel well or they notice new or unusual symptoms. It is common for people to feel anxious or nervous about attending an appointment. Live chat and virtual consultations enable providers to create a safe, secure space and they can be less daunting than going to a surgery. Patients can stay in the comfort of their own home, they don’t have to worry about seeing people face-to-face, and they may also feel less embarrassed or ashamed when talking about issues that would ordinarily be awkward.
- Enhancing customer experience
Most of us will have contacted our local GP or hospital and been put on hold or transferred to a different department. It can be frustrating to wait for ages to speak to somebody or be passed from pillar to post. Using live chat is an effective means of enhancing customer experience and boosting satisfaction rates. Providers can offer instant access to advice and support and reduce waiting times.
- Security and compliance
With the best live chat provider, healthcare organisations can prioritise data security and ensure they are fully compliant with industry-specific data regulations and GDPR. Click4Assistance is fully certified with the NHS Data Security Toolkit to protect patient data and ensure compliance.
Finding the best live chat provider
Click4Assistance has many years of experience in working with NHS and private healthcare organisations. Registered with the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit, healthcare providers can access a raft of benefits while enjoying peace of mind. With Click4Assistance, health organisations can take advantage of high-security protocols, offer live chat and video calls, add short-term licences during busy periods and utilise chatbots to deal with general queries rapidly.
As a provider with access to web chat and multichannel conversations, your customers can access a wide range of services, including appointment booking, virtual consultations, chatbot triage, test results and advice about medication and prescriptions. Businesses and organisations can also take advantage of seamless integration between apps and different communication channels.
Live chat has come to the fore during the pandemic. As patient preferences change and providers adapt to online consultations and video calls, live chat provides a host of benefits for patients and health organisations. Live chat provides instant access to advice and support, it reduces waiting times and it creates a safe space for patients who may be nervous about attending an appointment. Healthcare providers can enhance security, customer experience and engagement as well as freeing up valuable time and saving money by taking advantage of Click4Assistance’s live chat software.